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Indian IT firms ramping up their presence in US, stepping up local hiring

Companies hiring more locals to work on future technologies, offer value-added services

Samreen Ahmad & Romita Majumdar  |  Bengaluru/ Mumbai 

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At a time when the US government is leaving no stone unturned to create enough local jobs backed by President Donald Trump’s ‘buy American, hire American’ stance, Indian IT services companies are also responding positively. Large Indian players Infosys, Wipro and TCS are aggressively ramping up their presence in the country and stepping up local hiring, either setting up local innovation centres or tying up with local varsities to work in newer technology areas.

Infosys, India’s second largest IT services company, on Thursday announced that it will open its next technology and innovation hub in Hartford, Connecticut, its second of the four such hubs it wants to establish in the US, and hire 1,000 American workers in the state by 2022. Last week, the Bengaluru-headquartered company had opened its first such flagship centre at Indianapolis, to start with around 150 employees.testing.. we are here....

The Connecticut hub will have insurance and health care labs that focus on smart underwriting, claims fraud, IoT and cloud.

“This investment will further strengthen our ability to serve clients’ needs throughout the New England region and expand the local workforce to help our clients compete in the rapidly digitising insurance, healthcare and manufacturing sectors,” said Ravi Kumar, President, Infosys.

Infosys has also said that while it has added 2,500 US employees to its workforce in the past one year, it was planning to hire over 10,000 American in the next two years.

Infosys’s announcement comes at a time when there has also been a marked decrease in the number of visa applications by Indian IT firms while the rejection rates have also gone up significantly.

“In fact, the trend was set in much before the new US government took charge. The number of people hired on visas was around 50,000 for top Indian companies in 2015, which came down by 50 per cent in 2016,” said Shivendra Singh, vice-president, global trade development, Nasscom.

Nasdaq-listed IT services company Cognizant, which has a majority of its workforce located in India, has also recently announced to significantly ramp up its US-based workforce in 2018 and beyond. The company added more than 6,000 American workers in 2017 and plans to hire an additional 25,000 over the next five years.

India's third-largest software exporter, Wipro, had also said that half of its 14,000 employees in the US were locals with over 95 per cent of those in Latin America hired from the domestic market. It had added 1,600 local hires in the country in 2017 to deal with clients in emerging technology areas such as digital and cloud.

“In the US, 55 per cent of our employees are local. We have a strategy by which every market will be able to meet our requirements through local talent,” Abidali Neemuchwala, CEO, Wipro, had said during a recent interview with Business Standard. The company has over 40 facilities across 23 states in the US.

Expanding operations in North America, Tech Mahindra, India’s fifth-largest IT services company last year has hired more than 100 local, full-time employees at its Alpharetta office in Atlanta.

While Indian IT firms are more looking at the US to get access to specific skill sets in advanced technologies, they are also working with local varsities as well as an ecosystem to help in promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.

Cognizant, for example, has recently formed a $100-million non-profit foundation to support STEM, digital education and skills initiatives for US workers and students.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in December last year announced a $50 million investment in Cornell Tech for the Tata Innovation Center. It had also given a grant of $35 million to Carnegie Mellon University to fund a new facility and student scholarships.

“US is massively supply-constrained when it comes to technology, by various estimates. There is a gap of more than a million (people) between the demand and where the current supply is. Our approach to it is that it won't get fixed unless we attack at the school level,” said Rajesh Gopinathan, CEO and Managing Director of TCS.

TCS has almost 30,000 employees in the US, which makes it the largest employer of locals among Indian IT firms. Over the past five years (2012-17), it has registered a 57 per cent growth rate in its US employee base.

Pleasing Uncle Sam

Infosys

Company plans to hire 10,000 people in the US in next two years; plans to set up 4 innovation centres

Cognizant

Plans to hire 25,000 more people in US in next 5 years; forms $100-mn STEM support foundation for US workers and students

Wipro

55% of the IT company's employees in the US are already locals

TCS

Cornell Tech set up Tata Innovation Centre on its campus last year following a $50 million investment from TCS

First Published: Thu, March 15 2018. 23:27 IST
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