US and UK look for employment in India

Subj: [WWW.AWCORG.US] US and UK look for employment in India

Date: 1/23/2004 9:41:37 AM Eastern Standard Time
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If you can't beat them join them. Faced with the prospect of job cuts in due to work being outsourced to low-cost economies, skilled foreign workers from USA & UK are looking to do the next best thing --- try and look for employment in prime destinations such as India.>
Prominent headhunters here have corroborated that over the past six months several inquiries have been received from top and middle level executives from the US and UK, exploring job opportunities in top technology firms such as Wipro, Infosys, Satyam, TCS, to name a few. This is apart from regular middle and top-level management positions in multinational companies such as IBM, GE that have set up huge operations here.
``Lot of foreign nationals are looking at mid-level and senior level positions in India. Every week, we get at least one well qualified foreigner looking for a job here,'' Kris Lakshmikanth, founder CEO and managing director of executive recruiting firm Head Hunters (India), told reporters on Monday. ``As several IT product firms are setting up shop in India, experienced professionals from the US are also on the lookout for jobs here and the trend is being witnessed by the top tier recruitment firms,'' he said.
The movement of skilled manpower from India to western countries has been happening for decades. Doctors, engineers, software professionals, nurses, teachers have always been in demand given the international shortage of such personnel. The last couple of years have witnessed several Indians in technology firms specially in the Silicon Valley headed back home, consequent to job losses and recession in the US market. Indian firms with foreign arms have hired foreign workers in their location of operation. The Aditya Vikram Birla Group, for instance, has recruited over 72,000 employees in 20 different countries. This is the first time, however, that reports have emanated of foreign personnel willing to physically trans-locate to India in search of work.
``Last year, it was Indians abroad who were shifting to places like Bangalore. Since the last six months, it is the foreigners and all the top recruitment firms are getting inquiries,'' said Lakshmikanth The macro picture speaks for itself --- that outsourcing is a phenomenon likely to stay, despite temporary voices of protest, linked more to an election year in the US than anything else. According to a study by management consulting firm A T Kearney, financial services companies are planning to move more than 500,000 jobs overseas in order to reduce operating costs by $30 billion annually.
Global technology giant IBM expects to save $168 million annually starting in 2006 by moving several thousand high-paying programming jobs abroad, according to internal company documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal. IBM has said it plans to move up to 3,000 jobs from the US to developing countries this year.
Estimates suggest that 200,000 to 400,000 jobs have moved from the US since the outsourcing trend began in the 1990s, which is still a fraction of 138 million jobs in the US. The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) says only around 2 per cent of the 10 million computer-related jobs have been sent abroad; 12 per cent of IT companies have ``outsourced'' work, compared to 3 per cent of non-IT firms. The most high-end projection is by Forrester Research --- a loss of 3.3 million jobs by 2015, including 1.7 million back-office jobs and 473,000 IT jobs --- which will create a dent in the US job market and not the wreck everyone fears.
But, the story goes beyond just a replication of hands at work. Experts say that foreign manpower, apart from pressure of job-losses, are seeking out India for the opportunities on offer and as an attractive destination.
This is because many leading global technology firms have started to move high profile and highly skilled jobs to India, apart from the many low-end call centers jobs that have already shifted base to this country.
``Earlier only call-center jobs were being outsourced to India,'' Anil Mahajan, executive director of Talent Hunt Private Ltd has been quoted by a news agency, ``but now as companies start to ship high-end research and senior managerial jobs too to India, foreign workers see a huge opportunity for themselves here.'' ``Till a few months back, we were getting regular job queries from expatriate Indians who wanted to move back to India. But we were also taken by surprise when overseas professionals from countries as far as the US, Britain and South Africa also started to call us up to inquire about job opportunities here. This has now become a trend,'' said Mahajan.
In the last few years, most of jobs outsourced sought to tap vast pool of English-speaking manpower in call-centers as well as back-end work for multinational companies.
The rapidly growing Business & Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry has virtually turned India into an electronic housekeeper to the world, taking care of a host of routine activities for multinational giants. In order to cater to customers, a call center in New Delhi has employed Finnish people to answer queries for a leading travel portal in Europe, but such instances of foreign employees have been few. However, in recent months, India has also seen the inflow of research and development and high-end technology jobs that has changed the picture. The inquiries are now coming in from overseas professionals looking for these openings at middle and senior level positions.
The inquiries have also been for Indian IT companies that are operating on a truly global scale. Three of Indian IT-TCS, Wipro and Infosys --- are already racing to become billion dollar entities. With operations in dozens (if not more) of countries and offices in scores of other locales, even the next 20 or 30 largest Indian software and services companies are not too far behind.
Overseas professionals feel comfortable in working in these firms, as over the years they have imbibed global practices that are inherent in their operations now. As Indian companies continue to expand operations worldwide, they have adapted their management practices and strategies to compete in the global marketplace. Until recently (even as recent as a couple of years ago), most Indian software companies employed Indians in key positions in global positions around the world. An onsite posting or assignment was a plum perk that the companies offered budding MBAs and other consultants wishing to move towards marketing or sales.
During the recent past, Indian companies have begun to realize the significance of having "local hands in local markets" and have started recruiting sales and marketing people in local markets to represent them. This has not only created a familiarity among foreign workers about Indians and India, but also acted as a push to look for placements when the going is tough.

Siddharth Srivastava is a New Delhi-based journalist

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