21 March 2017 06:47:43 IST

IT firms turn to local talent in US

Cognizant Technology Solutions led the pack by hiring over 4,000 US citizens and residents in 2016

Top Indian IT companies are hiring more US nationals in response to increasing anti-outsourcing sentiments there and proposed regulations to reduce H-1B visas.

Cognizant Technology Solutions led the pack by hiring over 4,000 US citizens and residents in 2016. For this, it has built a network of over 20 US-based delivery centres and plans to add more capacity in 2017, said Rajeev Mehta, President, Cognizant.

Training programmes

The company continues to make investments in training and retraining programmes that help US workers obtain in-demand technology and business skills, he told analysts while discussing the December quarter results.

Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro are also increasing their hiring in the US — though the numbers are unavailable.

Traditionally, IT companies do projects for American clients using skilled and low-cost professionals in India. But this affects employment of US nationals leading to anti-outsourcing sentiments there.

Boz Hristov, Professional Services Senior Analyst, Technology Business Research, a US-based research firm, said that building a US-based workforce has been an ‘aspirational’ idea for many years for most India-centric vendors.

Focus on emerging tech

In the struggle to find qualified IT staff, US companies will find new ways to recruit and retain talent and accelerate adoption of emerging technologies such as cloud and automation. Large American companies using India-centric offshore services vendors will skip over details around their vendors’ country of establishment, he said over email.

A larger question for India-centric IT services vendors is not how they will deal with fewer or no H-1B visas but how they will deal with changing landscape in delivering outsourced IT services, he said.

S Ravi Kumar, President & Chief Delivery Officer; Deputy COO, Infosys, said the company started hiring freshers from US campuses in the past couple of years. “Our focus is to hire local and supplement skills, which are not available with visa programme,” he told analysts.

TCS too is stepping up its hiring in the US in the context of visa issues, said Rajesh Gopinathan, CEO, TCS, recently.

He had said, TCS has been steadily ramping its local recruitment efforts cultivating relationships with local universities and running STEM programmes for high schools students.

Wipro continues to hire locally and invest in the delivery and innovation centres across Indianapolis, Dallas, Mountain View, Atlanta, Tampa and a few other cities within the US, said CEO Abidali Z Neemuchwala.