Tata unit set to double foreigners on staff

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Tata Consultancy Services, India’s biggest IT outsourcing company, expects to nearly double the percentage of non-Indians on its payroll over the next three years, in the strongest sign yet that the thriving Indian sector is becoming truly multinational.

TCS said foreign staff should comprise 15 per cent of its workforce within three years, compared with 8.3 per cent now, and less than half a percentage point four years ago.

“As the company becomes bigger and very diversified in terms of location, it is very important to have a workforce that is not just of one nationality,” S Padmanabhan, TCS’s head of global human resources, said in an interview.

India’s outsourcing companies have traditionally relied on the country’s huge supply of low-cost skilled labour.

Now, however, the leading outsourcing companies are augmenting this model by hiring staff in developed countries and low-cost regions bordering their main markets, such as eastern Europe, Latin America and China. They are also adding foreign staff through acquisitions.

Mr Padmanabhan said TCS faces increasing demand from clients to provide staff with local language skills.

TCS has 500 people working in IT development centres in China, 350 in Hungary, 1,100 in Brazil and 250 in Uruguay. In the US, the company employs 800 IT-related professionals and there are 250 in the UK and the rest of western Europe.

Infosys Technologies, India’s second-largest computer services company, has begun recruiting graduates of foreign universities, training them in India and then using them in their home countries. It aims to have recruited and trained 300 US graduates as computer engineers by the end of this year.

Wipro, the third-largest computer outsourcing company, is opening a business process outsourcing centre in Romania and expects staffing to reach 1,000 over the next year.

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