India Thinking Big to Tackle Talent Shortage

Ann All

Last week I wrote about a study that indicates that U.S. job losses due to offshoring are offset by growing sales of U.S.-produced services in other countries. This doesn't mean there won't be "losers," say the researchers, economists Runjuan Liu of the University of Alberta and Daniel Trefler of the University of Toronto, who note that less-educated Americans may have more trouble finding jobs and remaining employed.

I cited an earlier post in which I commented on AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson's contention that the telecommunications giant couldn't find enough folks with the right qualifications to fill technical support positions it planned to shift from India back to the U.S.

Perhaps the U.S. should look to India's example. The country's outsourcing industry, which has long been portrayed as a poacher of U.S. jobs, is now struggling to fill job openings and cope with competition from lower-cost countries. Sounds familiar, yes? But while the U.S. responds to these issues with little more than hand-wringing and political posturing, India appears to be tackling them head-on.

Some examples:

  • Fostering Technologies in Rural Areas (Fostera), an initiative designed to create jobs for residents of India's rural districts, has found outsourcing jobs for nearly 200 young people from poor families in four villages, reports Hindu Business Line India. BPO provider Adventity just signed an agreement with Fostera to undertake a pilot employing 100 program participants. If the pilot is successful, Adventity could hire up to 1,000 more participants within two years. Frontera recently hosted representatives from companies including HP, Cognizant and Syntel. The program's creator, Santhosh Babu, tells Hindu Business Line he was "initially skeptical" the model would work. But now he believes it can be duplicated across the country. The only hitch, says Babu, is a lack of ubiquitous broadband connectivity. Frontera is addressing this with plans to introduce WiMax to participating villages.
  • India hopes to further leverage its rural areas by building 43 new information technology cities across the country to attract workers for the IT outsourcing and BPO industries, reports the Times of India. The idea is to create self-contained cities with commercial space geared toward the needs of those industries, followed by infrastructure investments in residential housing, education, health care, retail and recreational facilities. Also addressed will be access to airports and larger metropolitan areas. India's government wants to shift 40 percent of the country's outsourcing business, which is currently concentrated in seven cities including Chennai and Bangalore, to the new cities by 2018. All together, it hopes the cities will create employment for some 3.5 million people. Based on the article, it sounds as if private investors will be expected to provide much of the funding, with state governments expected to make the necessary investments in services such as sewage, drainage and utilities like water and electricity.
  • Government initiatives aren't the only way to address worker shortages and competitive pressures. NIT, a talent development and training company, is teaming with services provider Genpact to create an Institute of Process Excellence to supply employees with industry-specific skills. Vijay K. Thadani, NIT's CEO, says the institute will cover subjects not necessarily stressed in college, including such "soft" skills as business processes, voice training, language skills and business communication, as well as specialized finance, accounting, banking, insurance and supply chain training.The two companies intend to have 250 training institutes across the country by 2012, reports Hindu Business Line India. If the program is successful enough, they hope to expand it to the Philippines and China.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jun 26, 2008 5:11 AM Jay Jay  says:
FOSTERA is a great example of people empowerment. Like Hosur India has many areas with talent, waiting to be tapped. We hope the State/Central Govts will do everything to make Broadband connectivity available in a thousand rural areas, so that India's position as the outsource superpower is strengthened.. Reply
Jun 28, 2008 10:11 AM Dr.V.Thanikachalam Dr.V.Thanikachalam  says:
Sir / Madam,NIT stands for National Institute of Technology,deemed universities in engineering and technology.Previously they are known as Regional Engineering Colleges.NIIT is a private IT training Institute,a commercial organization.Your article is on NIIT.The technical teachers are trained through summer school.In addition there are four National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research.These institutes train 20000 teachers per annum to meet the challenges from the technology development and manufacturing / service industry.No other country has such a dedicated professional training Institutes.They assist in curriculum development,examination reform,instructional materials.Bye,Thanikachalam,V Reply
Jul 2, 2008 7:05 AM Dr Vikram Venkateswaran Dr Vikram Venkateswaran  says:
Hi AnnThe situation in India dictates measures like Fostera's have be taken on a larger scale. There was always a problem of non-inclusion of rural folk in the growth process here and the talent shortage is coming in as a blessing in disguise.Indian education system makes us generalists, that means in John Naisbitt's words we can learn, unlearn and relearn relatively better than most of the competetion. Recently we thought of off-shoring some work to Vietnam instead of India but to our surprise the costs were much higher considering the specialist skill sets required for the rpoject. It was much cheaper to retrain some of the folks here and deploy them in India itself.So in conclusion I feel rhetoric and jingoism is a part of business but finding the right solution is the real challenge. Reply
Jul 5, 2008 11:37 AM Dr.V.Thanikachalam Dr.V.Thanikachalam  says:
Sir/ Madam,NITTTRs are conducting the following programs to enhance the competencies of the faculty of engineering colleges and polytechnics:M.Tech (HRD):An innovative program which combines advances in instructional technology,human resources development, and computer applications in technical education and managementM.E.Ed: A professional program for the technical teachers in planning and design and implementation of technical education programs form diploma to degree.Ph.D (Engineering Education):An unique program in conducting creative research studies in various aspects of engineering education.All these programs assist the technical educators in India. Dr.V.Thanikachalam,Course Director,M.Tech (HRD) and M.E.Ed,Guide for Ph.DNational Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research,Taramani,Chennai-600113,INDIA Reply
Jul 5, 2008 11:44 AM Dr.V.Thanikachalam Dr.V.Thanikachalam  says:
Sir / Madam,NITTTRs are conducting overseas teachers programs since 1982.Advanced Certificate Course in Curriculum Design and Instructional Materials Development is being conducted for the overseas teachers and administrators .So far around 600 teachers completed this program which is sponsored by Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Finance,Government of India.This is an unique leadership development program.Thanikachalam,V Reply
Aug 30, 2008 12:38 PM Dr.V.Thanikachalam Dr.V.Thanikachalam  says:
Sir,We started conducting one day programs for the young faculty in engineering and technology on "Instructional Design for Engineering Programs" which is different from general instructional design models.We developed new taxonomy which provides the steps through which the competencies could be developed.In addition the concern for environment and ethics have been added.The psycho motor domain provides the steps through which the performance skills can be developed .The affective domain considers the total concern for the professional standards and commitment.The model focusses the global skill standards and competenciesThe model is very innovative and provides high quality instructional design in an integrated way.Bye,Thanikachalam,V Reply

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