With India’s $150 billion IT services sector under pressure over jobs in the US, leading firms such as Infosys are adapting their talent strategy.
India’s leading IT outsourcing companies, including Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro, have come under fire in the US, accused of taking jobs from American workers. These firms rely on the country’s H1-B temporary visa, of which they are among the largest recipients. Now the H1-B is up for review, and it is becoming apparent that they will need to take measures to secure their place in the US, which is the largest market for Indian IT service companies.
In the estimate of Harit Shah, a research analyst at Reliance Securities, bringing Indian workers to the US on temporary visas is “not sustainable” as a model. Infosys has been working on lowering its dependence on visas for the past two years. The company is applying for fewer than 1,000 H-1B visas this year, down from about 6,500 in 2016 and some 9,000 in 2015, Reuters reports.
And, according to a recent announcement, Infosys plans to hire 10,000 American workers over the next two years, and open four technology centres in the US. The first, expected to open in August 2017, will be in the state of Indiana. These jobs will focus mainly on technology, and also serve US clients in financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, retail and energy. Infosys did not say where the remaining three centres will be located.
Infosys says the decision to expand its American workforce is unrelated to the H1-B visa review. “We polled our customers and a lot of our newest locations require a lot of presence”, said Deputy Chief Operating Officer Ravi Kumar. “This year, we are taking it to scale.” The majority of the firm’s business is in the United States.
In 2014, Infosys planned to hire 2,000 people in the US. Chief Executive Vishal Sikka said the company has achieved that goal, and now wants to hire American workers, specifically in fields such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and big data. “The reality is bringing in local talent and mixing that with the best of global talent in the times we are living in and the times we're entering is the right thing to do”, said Sikka.