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Foreigners find Gold in India
si Team
Tuesday, May 2, 2006
Of course, foreigners have always been part of the Indian outsourcing scene. But until recently, they were mostly highly paid executives from companies that were sending their work to India, helping the new Indian team learn the processes. Those folks are still coming to India, but they’re being joined by less-experienced people who make little more than the rock-bottom wages paid to locals that are a key draw for multinationals.

They typically earn about $350 a month and work on the phones for six months to a year before chilling on the beaches of Goa, trekking in the Himalayas, or visiting the palaces of Rajasthan.

Although no one knows for sure how many young foreigners are answering phones in India, some 30,000 expats today work for Indian tech and outsourcing companies, about triple the number two years ago, says the National Association of Software & Services Companies (Nasscom), the industry trade association. Currently, executive search firms are getting at least 2-3 mails every week from foreign nationals who are looking for work in India.

And that’s just the start. The country’s outsourcers will need some 160,000 workers with top-notch foreign-language skills by 2010, estimates Evalueserve, a Delhi-based company that provides research services to corporate clients worldwide. But in the next five years, Indian schools will only produce 40,000 or so grads with the proficiency needed for those jobs. Evalueserve expects foreigners to make up the difference.

The changing customer base of India’s outsourcing shops is also fueling the trend. Traditionally, they focused on serving companies with customers in the U.S. and Britain. But now they’re looking to boost their business from Europe.

In 2004, 64 percent of all outsourcing contracts came from the U.S. and Britain. Just 29 percent came from the rest of Europe, but that number could jump to 40 percent within five years, Nasscom says.
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