Infosys Technologies Optimas Award Winner for Global Outlook

To better serve its increasingly international roster of clients, the Bangalore-based IT company scours the globe to find the best talent.

September 7, 2011
India churns out about 300,000 engineering graduates each year, offering a fresh pool of candidates eager to work—often at a fraction of the cost of their global counterparts. Yet, Bangalore-based Infosys Technologies spends millions of dollars to scour the globe for qualified talent, says Karthik Sarma, associate vice president of HR. The company’s Global Talent Program, which recruits job candidates from all over the world, temporarily brings those individuals to India for a six-month training and orientation program, then deploys them to their home countries, where they can begin working for the company.

The program kicked off in fall 2003 with the recruitment of 96 people from China and 78 from Mauritius, an island nation off the coast of Madagascar. The government there has made a big push to generate an IT industry, offering incentives to attract employers. Although the workforce is small, employers are drawn there because of high literacy rates and English- and French-language skills. Infosys is in the process of enlisting 300 college graduates from the United States.

Making the experience of these candidates go smoothly requires substantial resources and coordination. Infosys began laying the groundwork for its batch of U.S. candidates several years ago, Sarma says. A team of 20 individuals was assembled. Based in India, the team is responsible for facilitating everything for the incoming group—from making compensation arrangements to hiring cooks for special culinary preferences of the international candidates.

Once in India, the candidates are housed at the Infosys Global Education Center in Mysore. The $140 million campus has such amenities as a bank, a bowling alley and a movie theater that holds 1,200.

Most important, the campus has state-of-the-art computer science training facilities where candidates attend classes from 150 instructors, whom Infosys calls "technical evangelists." The center can accommodate as many as 5,000 candidates for training. The company views the Global Education Center as a critical training safety net, ensuring that all employees have the same level of technical skill, Sarma says.

Even though Infosys has a pool of viable candidates in India, it devotes resources to recruiting employees from overseas in part for an economic reason: Hiring Indian employees to work outside India is not the bargain it once was, Sarma says. The costs have increased because of rising salaries, airfares and visa costs.

Perhaps the most important incentive for recruiting outside of India comes down to a company priority: delivering a high level of customer service. Infosys believes in hiring individuals who understand the cultural nuances and languages of its vast client base, which spans 18 countries.

"A Japanese worker will tend to do better in Japan," Sarma says. "It is a matter of being able to connect with clients on more than just the technical level."

Having a workforce with a deep level of understanding is particularly critical as Infosys evolves from being a basic provider of application development into a sophisticated consulting and engineering firm.

Infosys’ non-Indian population is growing at a rate of almost 3 percent annually. The company has 69,432 employees of 57 nationalities who speak 40 languages. Today, 98 percent of Infosys’ revenue is derived from outside India, according to Sarma. "The need for qualified talent will become more pressing as we continue to mature."

For reaching beyond its home country’s borders for the talent needed for continued success, Infosys Technologies wins the 2007 Optimas Award for Global Outlook.

Bangalore-based Infosys Technologies employs 69,432 people in 18 countries and generated $2.1 billion in revenue in 2006. The company has networks of development centers throughout Asia and North America, enabling Infosys to offer clients a global delivery model. This means that projects are expedited since work can be conducted 24 hours a day

The information technology company offers a wide spectrum of services including consulting, application development and product engineering. Established in 1981, Infosys was recognized by Wired magazine for its unique outsourcing strategies that bring jobs back to the United States.

Workforce Management, March 26, 2007, p. 27 -- Subscribe Now!