Monday, April 27, 2009

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IT companies to hire more foreigners abroad

India’s top technology firms, including TCS, Infosys and Wipro, are preparing to increase the proportion of foreign employees in their workforce as they seek to address protectionist lobbies and position themselves as ‘job creators’ in the markets they serve.

The move comes in the wake of growing anti-offshoring sentiments in the US, the world’s biggest market for software services. While TCS aims to double its foreign workforce from the current 10,000 over the next five years, Infosys and Wipro could see non-Indians account for 10-15% of their total employee base in three to five years’ time, from around 5% now.

"It’s a strategy to reverse the trend, as we realise that it’s necessary to shed the old way of getting only Indians to do the jobs," said Pratik Kumar, corporate vice-president and HR head of Wipro. "How can you justify the fact that despite significant overseas revenues, we still have over 95% Indians on the payroll?" he added.

Wipro aims to establish another centre in a tier-two US town after its Atlanta development centre becomes fully operational in a few months from now. Over the next two years, Wipro will have around 750 US citizens working at its Atlanta centre. "We aim to undertake significant local hiring, starting this year itself," he said.

Among the top Indian technology firms, TCS employs the most number of non-Indians, accounting for almost 9% of TCS’ total workforce. Non-Indians account for around 5% of total workforce at Wipro and Infosys.

However, Mohandas Pai, HR head of India’s second biggest software firm Infosys says, despite all the hype around hiring more local workers, finding skilled professionals with adequate programming skills remains a challenge in the US and UK. "We want to double our foreign workforce, but don’t find people with adequate skills in those markets," he said.


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