Indian firms hire Americans to drive growth

By Arun Kumar, IANS

Washington: Call it reverse outsourcing or local talent hunting, but high-tech Indian firms say they have been hiring Americans as part of their long-term growth strategy.

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Officials at companies like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s largest outsourcing firm, and Wipro Technologies, another major Indian technology provider, say this has nothing to do with periodic outcries that Indians are taking away jobs from Americans.

“This is not something new. We have had US citizens as employees for quite a number of years,” said Michael Mccabe, TCS’ director corporate communications for North America.

“The US is by far our largest single market and therefore is integral to our long-term growth strategy,” he said.

He noted that the North American market continues to achieve and drive offshore movement with it, contributing $2 billion to the company’s $4.3 billion revenue in the fiscal ended March 2007.

“All our efforts are geared towards serving our customers in the best way possible and ensuring that they continue to experience certainty in our ability to deliver the results we promise,” he said.

“We are likely the most diverse of the Indian IT firms. At the end of this last fiscal year, we had close to 10 percent non-Indian nationals as employees,” Mccabe said, noting that their number had risen from 3.5 percent in 2005 to 6.5 percent in 2006.

“They play a variety of roles at the company from sales to consulting to IT services to marketing and communications,” Mccabe said, citing his own example.

TCS hires those who are fresh out of US universities as well as lateral hires, he said.

“In fact we have established our academic interface programme in the US, setting up relationships with more than 25 top universities for various partnership as well as recruitment opportunities.”

TCS also has R&D partnerships with several tier-one research universities, including MIT and Stanford. As with any company, when TCS brings new people on board, regardless of their citizenship, it conducts orientation and training sessions based on what their role/job responsibility is within the company.

Officials at Wipro Technologies too said they have been hiring Americans right from its inception.

“Wipro has always encouraged the hiring of local non-Indian talent in the US,” said Raja V., the company’s vice president, HR, international operations.

“We started to hire local talent from the mid-1990s. Wipro initially focused on sales talent and progressively expanded across the consulting and technology domains.”

Wipro also aggressively hires from leading colleges and business schools across the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific, Raja said.

The company had hired in excess of 1,400 non-Indian local hires across the globe either through direct hiring from the market/colleges or through acquisitions.

“Integration is a continuous process which begins at the time of hiring/acquisition and continues in various ways through the employees career,” Raja said, with a plethora of assimilation programmes tailor-made to each category of employee, pertaining to sales, consulting and technology.

Rejecting suggestions that local hiring was in response to the recent outcry against outsourcing or a senate committee inquiry about the use of H1-B visas, Raja said: “No, Wipro has always been committed towards diversity and will continue in its drive to encourage diversity in the organisation – be it ethnic or gender based diversity.”

In fact, Raja considered hiring local talent advantageous as “local talent/employees are better culturally assimilated to the local environment with a stronger market knowledge and local domain competence”.

The local hiring drive in the US “is consistent with our desire to be a global organisation for which a global workforce is key”, he added.