Cognizant says that it has 57 recruitment staff in the U.S. looking for local engineers but due to unavailability of skilled workers in U.S., the company is forced to import Indians on work visas, reports Joe Leahy from Financial Times
“If you look at the core of what we do, the technology work, the US simply doesn’t have the talent base today. Although unemployment in the US today is high, IT unemployment is still very low,” said Francisco D’Souza, President and Chief Executive, Cognizant.
The border security law was passed by U.S. last month, that will be partly funded by doubling the cost of visas for IT workers, a move that will mostly affect Indian outsourcing companies.
Indian outsourcing companies support a bulk of their staff in India and keep some of its employees in the U.S., who would work closely with the clients.
“About 70 per cent of US PhD students are foreign born and are often hired in the US, making their way into Silicon Valley or government agencies such as Nasa,” said Partha Iyengar, of Gartner, the consultancy. “The bigger challenge for the US is, if they start to lose this talent at the lower end, the innovation engine that has been driving the economy starts to dry up,” Iyengar added.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, India’s undergraduate university courses produce about 600,000 engineers a year compared with about 84,000 in the U.S. in the academic year of 2007-08.
S.Gopalakrishnan, Chief Executive of Infosys Technologies, India’s second-largest IT company, said the group had 10,000 staff in the U.S. but only 1,600 were nationals or permanent residents. The company wanted to hire 1,000 people a year in the US but faced a scarcity of talent. “It is a struggle,” he said.