Infosys Technologies is undertaking a global hiring spree for IT professionals as part of a drive by Indian outsourcing companies to make their workforces more international.

Mohandas Pai, a director of India’s second largest computer services company, said Infosys wanted to increase the number of non-Indian staff on its payroll by about 30 per cent a year from about 3,000 now with plans to recruit hundreds of western and Japanese IT professionals.

“As we grow further, we have to make sure our workforce reflects the regions from where we derive revenue to whatever extent possible,” Mr Pai said in an interview.

India’s big IT outsourcing companies are increasingly hiring more domestic talent in developed countries as one way of improving customer relations.

Companies such as Infosys are trying to evolve from the old outsourcing model in which they do basic technical work for their overseas clients, such as writing new software for them or overhauling their IT systems.

Indian companies want to begin providing the sort of strategic consultancy services supplied by western competitors, such as advising clients on trends and how to deal with them.

So far, Tata Consultancy Services, the country’s biggest computer services company, has been the leader in building a multinational workforce.

More than 8 per cent of its 78,000 staff are non-Indians compared with 3 per cent of Infosys’s 66,000 employees – a percentage TCS plans to double in the next three years.

However, Infosys said it was increasing its non-Indian workforce mostly organically by hiring directly within western markets rather than through acquisitions in foreign markets, as many of its competitors including TCS have done.

Mr Pai said in the year ending June the company planned to increase its 1,000-strong workforce in the US by 50-60 per cent, its 350-strong workforce in Australia by 10-15 per cent and in Japan its 150 staff by up to 33 per cent.

As part of this, Infosys was hiring 300 graduates directly from US universities through its “Global Talent Programme” and was planning to hire 25 from the UK as part of the pilot phase for a similar scheme. These programmes would be expanded eventually to Europe.

He rejected suggestions that overseas hiring was aimed at supplementing talent shortages in India or that an increase in foreign staff would damage margins.

He said software engineers remained far more plentiful in India than overseas – the bottleneck was in providing company training for them, which was why Infosys was expanding its Mysore training centre in southern India.

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