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Home / News / India /  SMEs in western countries turn to India for virtual staffing; no H1-B required

New Delhi: Small and medium sized enterprises from the West are taking advantage of remote working solutions to ramp up offshore hiring from India. The trend is sort of a new take on the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry that had boomed in India a couple of decades ago.

According to industry experts and stakeholders, companies are approaching staffing firms here to hire individuals who can work from anywhere in India but on western timings. “WFH (Work from home) has opened up the broader thinking around work from anywhere," said Viral Thakker, Partner at Deloitte.

“Ideally they would outsource these to call centers or proper BPOs in India. But now they’re saying why go to those firms if there are credible players whom they can rely upon to staff them," said Kamal Karanth, co-founder of staffing firm Xpheno. Karanth said many US companies have been calling him to ask for staffing solutions. “It is not just India, but companies are also looking for employees from the Philippines, Pakistan etc," he said.

Services like digital marketing, content creation, social media management, and remote sales and pre-sales staff are in demand. “Reaching out to digital has become important. The highest need has come from the digital marketing side," said Karanth. He estimated that virtual staffing could become a half a billion dollar industry in the next two to three years. Technology companies also remain one of the big employers, who want coders and engineers to work remotely. But Karanth explained that the profile of most of these firms remains in the small and medium sized industry sectors.

Ashish Singh, founder of digital marketing agency Bzird Inc, said virtual staffing as a business has grown by approximately 300% for him over 2020. Companies running small e-commerce businesses are hiring employees for website management, to run their blogs and more. Singh said salaries for such employees can range from 20,000 to 60,000 per month, but highly skilled engineers and coders can earn even more. Karanth said salaries can range between 50,000 and 1.75 lakh per month, which can change in the future.

While the employees are hired by firms in India, they are accountable directly to the foreign companies who they’re actually working for. “We always had access to this talent pool," said Karanth who has been in the staffing industry for the last 20 years. The firm has collected a talent pool of over 25,000 over the past few years and offers them to global firms. He recently offered a pool of 20 full stack engineers to a firm in California.

Companies like Xpheno map individuals who are already working on a project basis. Karanth said India already has a pool of about 5 lakh individuals who work on a project basis. Additionally, millennial employees differ in their mindsets and do not particularly care about having fixed jobs, which helps find more talent for such jobs.

Deloitte’s Thakker said the pandemic forced companies to do “high end" and “judgement driven" work remotely. This led to a mindset change, which has led even roles like chief marketing officer, chief financial officer and more have been happening remotely.

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