When the Indian SMS-based social network GupShup polled Indian workers in that nation's technology hubs, it got quite a surprise. Tech workers in Bangalore, the biggest technology outsourcing hub in India said they felt that they understood the anger of American workers at losing their jobs to outsourcing. According to the company's Senior Director and Head of Marketing Vishal Nongbet, 45 percent of Indian workers polled understand the American sentiments, but nevertheless are proud of the jobs they do for American companies.
SMS GupShup is India's largest social network, and unlike social networks in the United States, is SMS-based because a large percentage of Indians have cell phones, but relatively few have access to the Internet through a computer or smartphone.
To many Indians, and to many American workers, the issue of outsourcing and the issue of foreign workers coming to the United States on temporary work visas are closely tied. Many people see both issues as vehicles for giving jobs formerly done by U.S. workers to workers from other nations. In fact, Nongbet said most Indians expected the current attempt to pass an immigration bill that, among other things, would raise the cost of H-1B visas to $2000.00 will proceed.
'If it was the other way around, people would feel the same way here,' Nongbet said. However Nongbet doesn't think such efforts will ultimately have much of an effect on outsourcing in India. 'Outsourcing work is coming in from all over the world,' he explained.
In fact, Nongbet said that as salaries in India are going up, India is no longer the low-cost labor center it once was. That means the tables are already turning. Nongbet said his brother-in-law runs a company that's helping to set up a call center in Ireland, to be staffed by Irish employees, that will provide services to a U.S. company. He said that Indian expertise in running outsourced call centers is actually creating an industry in India to set up call centers elsewhere.
Meanwhile, SMS GupShop does its own outsourcing. Nongbet pointed out that his company outsources its data center operations and its servers to San Jose, Calif., effectively running its Indian social network from the United States.
But just because the respondents to the Indian poll understand the feelings of American workers, that doesn't mean they're willing to give up their outsourced jobs. He said that the Indian IT workers he interviewed as a part of the study felt that they were able to do their jobs better, faster and more efficiently than U.S. workers, and that they were very confident of their ability to compete in a global marketplace.
The survey also revealed an attitude by Indians that the United States is bringing the problem on itself through unworkable policies and through a lack of adequate skills in the technical marketplace. Nongbet said that there are two reasons for outsourcing, one is for lower costs, but he noted that the other is for better quality. He said that now, India is able to compete on the basis of quality.
'U.S. companies don't want to hire the lowest common denominators; they want quality,' he said. He also noted that the higher visa fees won't really stand in the way of the people U.S. companies really want to hire. 'When you're looking at a high-cost employee, it really shouldn't matter,' he said.