Strategic CIO // IT Strategy
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10/17/2006
03:46 PM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
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The Unemployable Majority: India's Talent Shortage

The New York Times has a piece on the looming tech labor shortage in India, and it includes a stunning conclusion from a report from the IT services industry trade group Nasscom: Only one in four engineering grads in India is employable, based on tech skills, English fluency, and teamwork and presentation skills.

The New York Times has a piece on the looming tech labor shortage in India, and it includes a stunning conclusion from a report from the IT services industry trade group Nasscom: Only one in four engineering grads in India is employable, based on tech skills, English fluency, and teamwork and presentation skills.Aaron Ricadela in January covered this topic in an in-depth InformationWeek article on the problems facing India's tech industry (and cited the same study). He documented the looming risks to India's boom economy, from rising salaries to creaking infrastructure. Paul McDougall followed on that coverage with an article in March documenting how IBM alone planned to hire thousands of tech pros in India within the coming year. The takeaway was clear: India will struggle mightily to meet the talent demand, and salaries are rising as a result. The Times article documents some new ways the best companies are working to overcome this, like vetting new schools from which to recruit. Ricadela in his article describes how Wipro has a 14-week crash training course to get college grads up to speed, and Infosys was considering extending its program to 16 weeks. Clearly, the labor shortage could derail the industry, and India's economy has everything at stake. The Times quotes Infosys' Nandan Nilekani describing the country at a crossroads, where it either educates its young people for the coming opportunity, or allows a pool of unskilled, unemployable, and possibly restive youth to develop. But this will also be what separates the best companies from the also-rans in India. Think of GE: One of its competitive advantages is its ability to cultivate management talent, and it's a huge consumer of management education, through universities and in its own classrooms. The same will likely be true of IT services firms. Those that can nurture their own talent, anywhere in the world, will be the survivors.

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