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Here are deeper details of Vishal Sikka's US hiring blueprint for Infosys

Less than 24 hours after the global media spray of Infosys’ decision to hire 10,000 US workers starting with 2,000 in the state of Indiana, the White House called  the sudden move a "political victory” while Infosys is pitching this potentially outsize investment in America’s midwest as part of its “zero distance” client servicing model. Either way, by the time Infosys is half way into the 10,000 jobs for locals mission, America will be readying for a new President ( US primaries begin Feb 2020) and the next Vice President may not be from Indiana. "It's all politics, all politics...look at the location of the first hub - Indiana", is how Bloomberg assesses the Infy move.

Infosys explained to Firstpost, in a written response, how the 10,000 number will be divvied up. News reports after Vishal Sikka spoke in Indiana have said two things in parallel - that Infosys plans to hire 10,000 Americans in the next two years and that the first location is expected to create 2,000 jobs by 2021. Infosys confirmed these numbers which means at least 8000 other jobs will sprout in locations other than Indiana in the US but two years from now is not 2021, it is 2019 at best or 2020 at a stretch.

Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka/ Reuters

Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka/ Reuters

Although Infosys is not revealing details of the sunk cost, the chatter among local real estate community is that the company will likely lease a 60,000 - 80,000 square feet headquarters in either Carmel or Indianapolis at a shade short of $9 million.

In mid-April, the White House called out India’s top tech companies, including Infosys, in an exhaustive briefing by Administation officials on how outsourcing giants corner the lion’s share of H1B visas. This was the evening before Donald Trump signed the Buy American Hire American executive order.

Links:
Buy American Hire American executive order
Background briefing by The White House on H1B visas

Soon after the Vishal Sikka set piece in Indiana early Tuesday, Infosys responded in detail to specific questions from Firstpost on the 10,000 US hires decision. The Q and A and how it fits into the recent debate on high skilled visas and immigration is below.

Firstpost: 10000 hires over how many years? Is it correct that 500 of those people will be hired "by 2018”?

Infosys: Over the next two years, we are committed to hiring 10,000 American workers in the U.S. The first technology and innovation hub will be at Indiana and we plan to add 2,000 employees there by 2021.

FP: What is the minimum salary for the least experienced person in Indiana in the specific job profile/s that you are looking for?
Compensation for Infosys employees in the United States is competitive and aligned with industry standards. Compensation is based on competence, skill set, role and geographic location.

FP backgrounder: If dining with Ivanka and Jared Kushner is not on the horizon, Indiana is at least politically relevant - VP Mike Pence grew up there and has deep roots to the state, he was Governor there before his White House assignment. Second and equally important is that Indiana is in the US midwest, where cost of living, land, rents, salaries are all lower than either the east or west coast of America or even Chicago for that matter.

Try this CNN cost of living calculator to see how far your money goes in Indiana.

Link: What's keeping H1B workers up at night?

FP: Is Infosys planning to lease from existing office space real estate supply in Indiana? How many square feet? What location?

Infosys: We are finalizing these details and will provide you an update when confirmed.

FP backgrounder: What the real estate market is talking about - It’s a toss up between Carmel or Indianapolis for a 60,000 to 80,000 sq ft HQ where annual salaries will average around $ 80,000. Infosys plans to spend $8.7 million to lease and equip the space, which could be in an existing office park or a new building. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has offered the company a  $31 million incentive package.

FP: Will this be active recruitment of US workers prior to filing for H1B workers?

Infosys: Our staffing mix depends on our project needs. We offer a wide range of service capabilities from business consulting, core technology expertise to business process outsourcing and our engagement model varies keeping in mind the nature of the client project.  Our staffing mix is suited to meet those project requirements.  As part of our continued focus to driving innovation for our clients we are committed to leveraging the best U.S. talent together with the best global talent. We will be investing in training the people that we hire in the U.S. to ensure that they have the requisite skills that we need to meet our clients’ needs. Our H-1B visa applications are directly related to our business requirements, which are impacted both by new technologies such as automation, as well as changing engagement models with clients.

FP backgrounder: What does White House go-to man for H1B issues Ron Hira say?
H1B whistleblower Théo Negri on the lottery

FP: How did Infosys arrive at the 10,000 number?

Infosys: Our recruiting strategy is in line with our business requirements, which are impacted both by new technologies such as automation, as well as changing engagement models with clients. It is our endeavor to help clients leverage the best U.S. talent together with the best global talent, to drive economic growth and ensure that the U.S. continues to be at the forefront of innovation.

FP: What kind of designations will be on offer? What is the business case for 10,000 people?

Infosys: These will evolve over a period of time. We will open up four new technology and innovation hubs across the country focused on cutting edge digital technologies, including Cloud, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. We will institute training programs in the country, across key competencies such as user experience, cloud, big data and digital offerings, as well as core technology and computer science skills. Our hiring includes hiring fresh graduates from America’s colleges and universities as well as experienced professionals.

Wonk speak: "Consider this thought - 10000 hires is like an indirect tax to the American economy,"says Arun Mohan Sukumar, head of cybersecurity and internet governance at Observer Research Foundation, a think tank.
"Announcing 10,000 hires to get around the H1b visa problem is not going to create new technologies. What is the current role of an Infosys or a TCS in the IT ecosystem? You can have companies that do cutting edge AI work like Google or even Uber or be a company that does AI-plus as in AI driven research but a company like Infosys or a TCS is not going to tranform its ethos or vision by hiring 10,000 locals in America. The 10,000 will add to your workforce but Infosys or TCS will remain the same. I don't see how companies that have traditionally provided back-end enterprise driven solutions to America can turn their game around by hiring American. They are not going to come out with IOT driven applications because thats not bread and butter for them," says Sukumar.


Updated Date: May 04, 2017 00:29 AM

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