Indian firms hiring workers in North America

Washington: India’s outsourcing giants, faced with rising wages at home, are looking for growth opportunities in the US with many of them hiring workers in North America.

With Washington crimping visas for visiting Indian workers, some companies such as Mumbai-based Aegis Communications are slowly hiring workers locally as their largest corporate customers are based in North America.
“Many of them are call centre workers. Many are African Americans without college degrees. Some lack high school diplomas,” it noted saying, “In this evolution, outsourcing has come home.”

Aegis, a subsidiary of India’s Essar Group, an energy, telecom and metals conglomerate, is quoted as saying it’s pioneering the next generation of outsourcing: putting the work close to its global customers.

Its executives call the practice “near-sourcing”, “diverse shoring” and, sometimes, “cross-shoring”.

Companies such as Tata Consultancy Services, Genpact and Infosys are the largest users of the H-1B visa programme and have collectively brought as many as 30,000 workers into the country in a year on H-1B or other visas.

But the companies that use the visa programmes have faced opposition from US labour unions as well as age-discrimination lawsuits from American tech workers alleging that they were passed over by the hiring practices..

At the same time, as high unemployment lingers and the economic recovery lags, India-based companies have seized on an opportunity to improve their image and expand their US businesses by taking over companies and hiring more US talent, it said.

Tata Consultancy Services, for example, is ramping up its North American presence in major deals with Citibank, Dow Chemical and Hilton Worldwide.

It plans to hire more than 1,000 Americans in 2011 and to base 10,000 of its 185,000 global employees in the country.

The Post cited Robert Webb, chief information officer at Hilton Worldwide, as predicting that the India-based companies “will evolve to be more like one of the traditional consulting firms in the US” by taking on higher-end capabilities such as business planning, industry knowledge and change management. By Arun Kumar