Back in June, we blogged about the plans of a couple of Indian outsourcing firms, including Wipro, to step up their hiring of American workers in the U.S. Mentioned in that blog was Wipro's intent to open two software development centers in the States.
Now Wipro is making good on at least part of those plans, with its announcement that it will employ up to 1,000 U.S. workers at a development center in metro Atlanta over the next three years. About 6,000 of Wipro's 80,000 employees currently work in the U.S.
An executive with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Wipro is "the right kind of global company we have been trying to recruit"and adds, "This could open the door to other companies from India."
Indeed, Georgia is so committed to going after Indian firms that the state's Department of Economic Development is interested in opening a trade office in India by 2009, according to the Journal-Constitution story.
There is an element of irony, of course, since many U.S. IT workers say the industry has been losing jobs to Indian firms like Wipro for years.
Several factors are behind Wipro's decision: a weak dollar/strong rupee combination that makes it more cost-effective to hire folks in the U.S.; wage inflation and high attrition rates among workers in India; and a desire for more U.S.-specific business expertise.
Wipro already has some big-time clients based in or near Atlanta, including Delta Air Lines, BellSouth (recently acquired by AT&T) and the Coca-Cola Co. Wipro is reportedly considering opening two other development centers in the U.S., with Texas and Virginia among the leading candidates.
While the Journal-Constitution story is largely positive, it wraps with a quote from an Economic Policy Institute expert: "There's no doubt some jobs will be created, but who are they putting out of business with the products they're selling to the U.S. business community? For the first time we're seeing the process of in-sourcing eliminating domestic jobs."