To Hire US Graduates, Indian IT Firms Go Straight To Source
PUNE: With Indian IT firms doubling down on hiring fresh graduates in the US, the location of engineering colleges they want to hire from has become an important factor in determining where they set up their facilities.
For instance, Persistent Systems NSE 1.26 % chief executive Anand Deshpande said: "Access to universities like NC State, Duke and UNC was important when setting up our centres in Morrisville, North Carolina and Columbus, Ohio."
As Indian tech firms see a resurgence in US business, driven largely by digital deals, they have started increasing their local headcount. Alongside, H-1B visa restrictions are also compelling many firms to increase their local hiring.
With unemployment rates in the US at an all-time low, finding local talent has become a challenge for most Indian IT firms.
As a result, many of them are now resorting to hiring and training fresh grads and deploying them on projects locally.
An industry watcher said hiring fresh graduates was a more cost-effective solution than hiring laterally, especially for entry-level jobs.
Earlier this year, Infosys NSE 2.14 % CEO Salil Parekh told investors that the company had made 800 college hires out of 4,000 local recruitments in the US in fiscal 2018, and that the company was on track to get that to 1,000 this year.
Another important factor, of course, is the incentives provided by various state bodies to attract investors. Infosys, which is investing over $12 million in a new centre in Texas, would be receiving a more than $3 million grant from the Texas Enterprise Fund as part of the company's expansion in the state.
The move would create 500 jobs there, including recent graduates from the state's network of universities and community colleges, said the company.
Given these kind of numbers, the colleges companies want to hire from have become an important deciding factor in finalising where the centres should come up.
Keshab Panda, chief executive of L&T Technology Services, told ET that most people were not open to moving across states for a job. The company has currently hired a batch of 30 grad students at its Peoria facility in Illinois and will now be replicating this at other centres, such as Plano, Texas; San Jose, California; and Edison in New Jersey.
Another factor that companies are looking at is where the clients are situated.
Most digital deals need a lot more direct contact with the customer than other contracts, and it makes sense for companies to be located closer to the client.
Sandeep Kishore, CEO of Zensar, which has been focusing on its US digital business, said the company was ramping up its US operations, and that hiring and training local college graduates was an important part of it.
"Our recruitment focus is on local hiring. The location determination of the development centres is important to hire from client centricity perspective as well," he said.
Given that this is a relatively new strategy that these firms are adopting, it's still early days as far as academic relationships go.
Ken Tate, director of engagement & external relations at the Department of Computer Science at NC State University, said while they had been in talks with various Indian IT firms in recent years, they currently only had a relationship with KPIT.