Infosys, Wipro, And Tata All Seek To Hire More Non-Indians - InformationWeek
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4/26/2009
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Bob Evans
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Infosys, Wipro, And Tata All Seek To Hire More Non-Indians

Infosys, Wipro, and Tata are all looking to hire more non-Indian workers to allay protectionist concerns and to recast their image as creators of jobs rather than relocators of jobs, and Wipro's plans include a second U.S.-based development center. But an ill-advised comment from the head of HR at Infosys could make this effort much more contentious than it needed to be.

Infosys, Wipro, and Tata are all looking to hire more non-Indian workers to allay protectionist concerns and to recast their image as creators of jobs rather than relocators of jobs, and Wipro's plans include a second U.S.-based development center. But an ill-advised comment from the head of HR at Infosys could make this effort much more contentious than it needed to be.Within the next five years, Tata Consultancy Services expects to double its total number of non-Indian workers from 10,000 now to 20,000. In that same time, Wipro and Infosys say they expect to increase the percentage of non-Indians in their workforces from the current 5% to at least 10% and possibly 15%, according to the Economic Times of India.

Wipro's head of HR made a strikingly blunt assessment of the situation in the Economic Times:

"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.

The article noted that these moves by India's three largest IT firms comes amid growing concerns that the Obama administration will launch protectionist measures that penalize U.S.-based companies for signing offshoring deals. Wipro, which is close to opening a development center in Atlanta that will employ 750 U.S. citizens, is looking at "second-tier" U.S. cities for a second such center.

But in a comment sure to spike the temperature on certain discussion boards, Infosys HR head Mohandas Pai said that in spite of his company's ongoing efforts to hire programmers in the U.S. and U.K., the requisite talent is hard to find. "We want to double our foreign workforce, but don't find people with adequate skills in those markets," he told the Economic Times, in what is sure to be a leading contender for the Tone-Deaf Comment of the Year.

As head of HR for a global firm looking to lower the heat on the protectionist debate, Pai should enroll himself in a "How To Discuss Sensitive Issues" training program - because that comment, in spite of the larger effort by Infosys and Wipro and TCS, will surely be used by many to prove that Infosys has no real intention of adding more U.S. citizens to its workforce.

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