Thursday, February 28, 2008

India Beckons Returnees

India is at it again.

With employment generation and technology advancements in India reaching it's highest ebb, new trend has caught up. It's the trend of reverse brain drain i.e. the "Brain Gain". More than a bagful of overseas Indian's are returning to India to acquire jobs in various technology sectors. Impressive economic growth and over all CAGR of 46% in IT industry over the years has created huge employment opportunities. Many Indians, who earlier headed westwards in search of challenging and rewarding careers, are packing their bags to return to their homeland.

Mr. Anil Kumar E T, Centre Head in Delhi of Mafoi, India's leading recruitment and staffing agency, says that, more than 35, 000 Indian returnees have found attractive employment opportunities over the last three years.

And the trend all set to continue in future years also.

What is making India tick with the already well settled techies at the global level?. Indian IT industry is growing at almost 40% a year and the revenues from software exports and ITES and BPO sectors are expected to touch USD 13 and 5.7 billion respectively in 2005. The industry has undergone a complete overhaul over the years. India today is home to the latest global technologies and Research and Development centres of leading global players like IBM, Microsoft, a far cry from the days of just an outsourcing destination. Off shoring is "in" propelling India up the IT value chain. There is mushrooming of KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing) and ITES sectors. Mr. Shekar Nair, President India Technology Operations NetworkAppliance, says that the exciting entrepreneurial opportunities in the "most happening place" drove his decision to return to India. He feels that at present Bangalore offers more creative challenges for the young than the Bay area (read USA).

Adding fun to the feast, the salaries and facilities for the senior management and senior engineer areas like product engineering, Semiconductor and chip design areas are almost on par with those offered in USA. At junior levels i.e. the 0-5+ experience group the pay scales are less compared to USA. But to counter that India offers a better savings opportunity says a NASSCOM spokes person. There are also common but equally important reasons like cultural ties, familial priorities and security of job which have given a fillip to the whole trend.

Globally more nations are increasingly zeroing on India as a long term partner in their Information Technology plans. African countries are looking at India as a "Big Brother" while developed nations like USA, Germany, Japan, China are looking at India to provide stable, high quality and cost effective IT solutions in various fields like Telecom, defence, product development and application development sectors. This scenario has spurred Indian companies to attain world accredited standards in technology, quality and customer relations management. This quest has naturally increased the demand for returnees, who possess such traits and can contribute in realising the goals of the industry as a whole.

The returnees possess specialised skills in applications, data communication, storage technology and domain specific skills which are in huge demand. Mr. Nair feels that product marketing, customer technical support are the areas where returnees can be hugely productive. Documentation, technical writing and training are some other areas where returnees are in great demand. Ms. Nirupama of TeamLease Services, which has 11 offices across Indian cities, predicts a more wider opportunity areas for the returnees. According to her jobs are available in the following areas:

1. Top management: Functional expert, Client coordination
2. Support services: Documentation, Transcription, Web Designing, Content Management.
3. KPO and BPO environment
4. Data warehousing
5. Networking
6. Trainers

Many returnees are absorbed by the Venture Capital companies as they can easily blend in to the company because inherent experience of working in US companies. They can also make an easy transition in to subsidiary companies which have their parent company in US. Returnees are accommodated at various levels in an organisation like group Leaders, General Manager Levels, client coordinators technical testing, documentation, product development, IT sales, web design, knowledge management, data warehousing and IT infrastructure services.

Mr Jiju George HR manager of Subex Systems feels that companies generally look at returnees for Tech Lead, Project managers, Product Managers, Technical Architect, CEO, COO, Technology Head etc. It is in such crucial positions from where returnees can make real impact to the company with their motivation, vision, goal setting and commitment and inspire other employees of their respective companies to achieve better productivity and quality.

Though overall scene is buoyant for returnees at senior management levels, lower level returnees may not find much favour with the employers. Abundant and highly versatile local talent is still the preferred lot. Even if the returnee is hired the salary may be 30-40% lower than that offered in USA. They have to make do with the lesser quality infrastructure and facilities in India. With all this returnees are "coming". They have realised that, country's tech revolution offers the dual advantage of working in a sophisticated tech environment in a land that's their own.

There is also the softer issue of mother land. As Mr. Nair puts it, "A little goes a long way here.

I am happy even if I can make little positive difference to few individuals." That's for young Indians.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Corporate Profiles In Diversity - IBM

As the Diversity Talent Strategist for IBM America, Jamila A. Petite oversees diversity recruiting efforts for the top technology corporation. She recently took time out of her busy schedule to talk with LatPro about the value of bilingual and multicultural employees, and what IBM is doing to recruit and retain a diverse workforce.

First, can you tell us a little about your own background and history with IBM?

I began my career with IBM in December of 2003 – fresh off a career in Supply Chain Management with General Mills after receiving a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesota. I joined IBM in an entry-level HR role in Rochester, MN. Several roles and opportunities later, I am the Diversity Talent Strategist for IBM America - which includes the U.S, Canada and Latin America. In this role, my team and I manage the diversity talent acquisition strategy for IBM.

How do you define and meet your diversity goals and objectives? Are minority hiring and retention metrics tied to your professional recruitment staff? How does your department measure success?

At IBM, our goal is to mirror the marketplace we operate within. To that end, our objective is to have a workforce population that is as diverse as the marketplace we serve globally. We measure success by having a workplace that embraces people and their individuality, as that is what makes us unique and stronger as a team.

What challenges have you encountered in recruiting Hispanic employees? What methods have you found to be most effective for recruiting multicultural candidates?

I’ve found it particularly difficult to recruit some candidates to opportunities that are farther away from home and their families than they would typically like. We’ve been successful in changing hearts and minds when we show how much we care about this impact. In fact, there have been instances when we’ve talked to parents about IBM and the various benefits we offer so that they could take comfort in their loved one moving far from home to join the IBM ranks.

How does your employee on boarding process help promote an inclusive atmosphere for diverse employees, right from the start?

We educate all new employees on the internal diversity programs and processes on day one. EVERYONE in IBM makes up our diversity mosaic – so everyone has a plethora of diversity inclusiveness options at their fingertips.

What do you say to those who feel that diversity programs are more about complying with EEO requirements and public image, rather than a real dedication to finding diverse candidates?

We have found that a commitment to diversity in the workplace lends itself to diversity of thought. This is the stuff that builds empires and sparks revolution in the technology and business realm. This is the bread and butter of our organization, so we encourage diversity at all levels.

What programs and initiatives exist to help your current workforce value diversity?

We believe it takes more than a simple diversity initiative to show commitment to employees that you value diversity as a company. It’s more than our rich history of diversity recruiting programs. More than our years of supporting diversity constituency network groups. This is the fabric of what IBM is – for us this is NATURAL. We operate in more than 160 countries globally. This exposes our employees to a multitude of cultures and co-workers. This is the rich diverse arena we work within.

Many companies struggle to bring diversity to all areas. Has IBM been successful in achieving diversity in upper management? How were you able to achieve this?

We certainly have. We hire the best and brightest talent into IBM and from that, we have a very rich pool of qualified candidates that can serve in leadership roles. We grow and nurture ALL of our talent in our inclusive environment. We are the architects of grooming top talent in business and technical ranks.

What is your company’s leadership commitment and involvement in diversity? How has the CEO or other top officer of the company embraced or championed diversity?

All IBMers, including our senior executives, are committed to diversity within IBM and externally, serving in leadership roles in both capacities.

What would you say to Latino candidates applying to IBM today? What can they do to use their language and cultural skills to their best advantage?

As a global enterprise, we coach all potential candidates to bring ALL of their best assets to the table. Since we operate in more than 160 countries, it’s important that we have a multitude of skills and languages in our teams to do business abroad with our clients. We tell EVERYONE to bring their best selves to the market and be prepared for an amazing career.

What do you want prospective diverse employees to know about IBM and its commitment to diversity?

To IBM, diversity is not a just a month, diversity is not just an isolated action. To IBM, diversity is a business imperative. We can move mountains with the fortitude of all of us working together. Our diversity makes us stronger as a global organization. We cherish diversity – we celebrate inclusiveness – we appreciate individuality. None of us is as strong as all of us.

About the Author: LatPro Inc

An innovator in the online employment industry, LatPro was launched in 1997 to become the very first job board connecting Hispanic bilingual candidates with employers. Our staff authors share targeted advice gained during our 10 years serving Hispanic jobseekers and diversity-conscious companies.