New Delhi: With the baby-boomer population in the US reaching retirement and the average age increasing in most of the western countries, global corporates are looking at India to get the right talent, experts say.
Companies based in nations like the US, France and Germany believe that the south Asian country has a talent pool matching the global standards, they said.
“India is topmost on the list of preferred destinations for countries facing an internal talent crunch situation,” global management consultancy firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) partner and director James V Abraham said.
Chinese workforce which comes next in the list is mostly preferred for China-specific operations of the western companies as opposed to people in India, who are being tapped for functioning in any country, he added.
“The Indian workforce is witnessing a 100 year peak, the talent pool is vast, skilled up to international standards and the most sought after by the Western Countries,” international accounting and consultancy major KPMG’s Melbourne-based partner Bernard Salt said. He was in the city to attend a conference.
Although regions like South East Asia and Middle East have a workforce to offer in terms of numbers, rigid social setups and lack of international quality in terms of technology brings in the ‘India advantage´, he added.
The US-based magazine BusinessWeek recently came out with a list of best American companies to launch a career and nine out of the top ten firms on the list have a major India exposure in terms of employee strength.
Nearly half of the 95 firms in the BusinessWeek list have significant part of their workforce in India, while a number of others are working to expand their presence to the country.
“India is being viewed as an economic powerhouse by the West, seen as a country which is fast, massive and responsive to changes,” according to UK-based Birmingham Business School’s Senior Lecturer Kevin Morell.
In the process of donning a new attire of an unregulated economy and changing rapidly from an agrarian country to the industrial one, India has managed to catch the fancies of westerners, Morell said. “To them the country is fascinating, alive and throbbing,” he added.
“The reasons for India’s rising popularity amongst global employers are language efficiency, a service-oriented culture and an intellectually bright workforce,” KPMG International Director for Corporate Citizenship Michael Hastings said.
“Job offers from the West for an Indian candidate has tripled in the past few years,” Abraham said.
However, managing this image would be a tough challenge, most experts believe.
“Sustaining and stabilising this image would be needed to carry on the ‘advantage India´ scenario,” Morell said.
“Indian economy is growing at 9-10 per cent in comparison the saturated Western economy witnessing a very slow growth of a mere 1-2 per cent,” Dale Carnegie Training India chief executive officer Raj Bowen said.
Among the global companies present here, IBM has its largest non-US workforce in India, while Indian strength is expected to soon surpass the home country for US-based IT services firm Accenture.
Accenture earlier this year announced plans to increase its India headcount by 8,000, bringing the total to 35,000, as against nearly 30,000 workers in the US.
Besides, IBM’s employee strength in India is expected to be more than 70,000 employees by year-end, compared to about 53,000 in 2006. This would be around 50% of its headcount of 1,30,000 in the US.
Internet search firm Google has more than 1,000 employees working from its Hyderabad facility and the market buzz hints towards an increase to about 4,000 at this centre.
In August, semiconductor giant Intel announced it would triple its India headcount to about 3,000, while networking solutions provider Cisco Systems also has a substantial Indian presence and plans to double its workforce by financial year 2010. At the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2007, it had about 2,800 employees in Indian operations.
While India has been known for a major employee hub for IT firms, the companies from other sectors are also expanding their presence here.
Accounting firm Deloitte plans to augment its India headcount to 12,000 by 2010 from nearly 8,000 currently, while PwC is expected to nearly double its overall India workforce from the present 4,500 in the next four years.
Ernst and Young also has more than 1,500 employees in India.