Visiting Wipro's Bangalore campus this week, walking past the training classrooms, I felt like I was at a college campus, there were so many "students" milling about on break. Wipro has capacity on this campus to train 5,000 people at a time. Every employee is required to get at least nine days of training every year, or the supervisor's asked to explain.
Of course, this isn't a perfect comparison for U.S. companies that aren't in the IT business, ones that use IT as part of a business making loans or cars or soap or medicine. IT skills are the core business of the IT services companies. And India's IT industry is so young, there just aren't that many experienced people to choose from, so there's no choice but to grow their own talent. And there are certainly U.S. companies that take training and people development very seriously.
However, less than half -- 45% -- of U.S. IT staffers get paid training, according to our National Salary Survey of more than 7,200 tech pros last year. The majority are on their own to keep their skills up to date, and one in five paid their own way to do so last year, our survey finds. ( Click here for IW editor in chief Rob Preston's take on this topic.) Also, we often hear from IT pros who feel many U.S. employers' hiring process is designed to find reasons to X-out would-be employees: Not the right certification, not the precise X years of experience, no experience with this particular software package.
There's a legitimate debate over whether there's an IT skills shortage in the United States. But in labor-tight India, the answer at IT and end-user companies is far more often to hire and train talented people, assuming they won't find the perfect candidate. More U.S. companies would do well to borrow some of that spirit.