For Indian outsourcing industry, 2009 was not a great year and it is perhaps understandable. The global economy suffered from severe recession. The
US and European companies themselves suffered and it is natural that the impact was felt in the outsourcing industry in . India
How was 2009?
President Obama even before 2008 election did not hide his anti-outsourcing feeling. However, his anti-outsourcing stance was more rhetorical than practical and in the last one year, he did not take any deceive action to create any major obstacle. In fact, the Satyam Computer Scandal brought more worry than Obama being elected as the
president. Another problem was BBC reporting of Credit Card Fraud that created some media storm but did down quickly. In the end, recession was the main problem that did a lot of damage to the Indian outsourcing industry. US
Economic Recession gone but where are the jobs?
Now, most experts would agree that the worst of the economic recession is gone in
. At least, the stock exchange indicates that the worst is over. Large companies are not suffering the risk of bankruptcies. Rather, some large banks are paying back the bailout money to the USA government. However, there is one big problem. Unemployment rate is still very high and there is no sign of job creation in the US economy at this moment. Thousands of people lost jobs in the 12 months of 2009 and there is hardly any indication that even half of the jobs will come back in 2010. Thus, at this moment, the economic recovery is perhaps more limited to the big companies than individuals. US
High Unemployment Means Low Consumption
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that high unemployment figures in
means that consumption will not increase significantly. USA economy is based on consumerism. As long as the jobs are not coming back, people will be afraid to buy things like past. Now, there is some kind of grievance among US workers about outsourcing to US . It is nothing new but in a time of high unemployment, it is natural that more people think that outsourcing is the main villain. Such an attitude is surely a bad thing for the outsourcing industry of India . India
It is not god even for US politicians either. They are under pressure to create jobs. Some politicians have found a new way to show that they are doing something. Ohio Governor Ted Strickland is one of them. He is trying to convince Tata Consultancy Services to create jobs in his state. The idea is that Tata needs to have some offices in the US and Ted Strickland is trying to act TCS to recruit more American workers instead of either sending the jobs to India or bringing workers from India under temporary Visa. Some other
politicians are trying the same formula. The catch word is ‘creating jobs’ for American people. If Ted Strickland becomes successful, then 1,000 jobs can be created by TCS in US . I mean these 1,000 workers will be US citizens. Ohio
Indian companies recruiting in
: Just eyewash? USA
Critics would say that it is nothing but eyewash. Creating several thousand jobs in a country like
is literally a drop of water in a sandy desert. Perhaps they are right. However, you have to understand one thing. Companies like TCS or Wipro are much smaller compared to IBM and Accenture when you think of revenue and asset. IBM and Accenture are US companies that are rivals of Indian outsourcing companies. USA
Should Temporary Visas be reduced?
A very serious bone of contention in
these days is temporary visas (like H-1B) granted to foreign skilled workers. The recession has made many skilled workers in USA unemployed. So, naturally, there is a growing call for reduction of temporary visas. Large companies like Microsoft are in favor of increasing visa caps but at a time of high unemployment, US politicians are coming under a lot of pressure to decrease H1-B visa cap. Now, perhaps the question is not whether temporary visas to skilled foreign workers be reduced or not. Instead, most people are perhaps thinking how and when to reduce it. USA
What about Globalization?
It is the Americans who for decades advocated for globalization, free market economy and capitalism. Now, they have to face the bad side of globalization.
US politicians have to do a balancing act because US companies are getting big contracts in . India is also a very attractive flourishing market for American companies. For example, right now, India is the largest market for small cars. India
Indian companies unfairly criticized?
Cheap Products vs US jobs
This is the dilemma that US consumers don’t want to realize. They want very cheap products and services and then they complain about ‘lousy customer services’. One of the common complains against Indian workers is they don’t understand American accent that well. You cannot get cheap products and US jobs at the same time- this is the thing that US consumers have to realize.
In the end, I think that there would be some kind of backlash against Indian outsourcing sector. However, any action will become useless because in the end, it is the
consumers who are the root problem not cheap Indian workers. US