Indians Say U.S. Workers Are Right to Be Angry

Wayne Rash

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.


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Aug 27, 2010 9:08 AM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
Furthermore, Indians have a lot of weird ideas about Americans. Over the last decade I have constantly run into the stereotype of the 6 figure American tech. That is, they imagine that Americans don't go to college and are doing low-level work and expecting executive level salaries, and that they are saving America from that. They constantly imagine that they are more educated and more technically astute than the American they replace, when that is almost never the case. Many imagine that America owes its state of technical advancement to H-1Bs and Indian companies, not realizing that we were roaringly successful before they ever thought of coming here. Many Americans who work with Indians grow exasperated at - let's call it what it is - ugly prejudice directed at them. It may grow out of Indian culture. The Hindu religion teaches them that they are cleaner, better, more intelligent, and more spiritually advanced than people like us who were born in 'mayadesh' and are meat-eaters. This annoys Americans who have been to India due to the public health and sanitation conditions that are widespread there. Reply
Aug 27, 2010 3:08 PM dk dk  says:
The study didn't correlate whether the people who feel they are faster and better fall in the 55% of those that don't understand American anger or into the understanding 45% bucket. Personally, I've worked alongside of many Indians and the ones here don't seem any different from anyone else. However, the impression I've formed of outsourcing based on anecdotal evidence suggests that outsourcing projects are typically colossal failures. I think companies like to save money on non-essential projects where the results can be mediocre. That's where outsourcing fits perfectly and achieves its goals. However, I wouldn't go assuming (as an outsourced to Indian) that I get the elite projects to work on. You get what you pay for and American companies know this well. The really bright Indians end up in the US anyway with six figure salaries. ;) Reply
Aug 27, 2010 4:08 PM Average Consumer Average Consumer  says:
Quaility is dependent on how you measure, yet should be more important on who you measure. A key difference in outsourced work, the "statement of work" (i.e. contract) tends to be very specific when work is sent overseas. Typically, work is not that rigid, and internal employees are expected to have some flexibility, go "above and beyond", and it makes a difference. I've had Indian call centers deal with some technical issues adequately - but when I've had non-typical questions, they could not understand the context and therefore could not answer a question. Their employer was happy - the call got answered and "closed" within the service level agreement, but the customer was not serviced. Do you count call turnaround, or customer satisfaction? Reply
Aug 27, 2010 4:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says: in response to Average Consumer
Outsourcing today has gone through constant evolution process to reach the level of maturity we see today. Every work that is outsourced comes with world-class performance benchmarks and business benefits are constantly measured which is not cost anymore. Outsourcing has gone beyond back office and generic skills to most advance technical, biological, business consulting and as we all of know, manufacturing space. Outsourcing having survived through the ups and downs and still growing is a fact and the reason is business is constantly seeing the benefits. Businesses and individuals are competing in a global market place today leveraging their strengths. Personally I think we all need to be more introspective and build differentiators to be successful. Outsourcing is a many to many relationship it can happen from anywhere to anywhere if we build the right skills and environment and ability to deliver value to business. Culture of innovation makes a difference but no longer restricted in this Internet world. Outsourcing is a non-issue. There are emerging giants popping up from BRIC countries and we all need to compete and retain technical superiority to survive. Reply
Aug 27, 2010 6:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
I think Indians are pretty smart and they never consider themselves to be more intelligent or astute than Americans or Europeans. If they had been more smarter wouldn't have been still a developing country where half of the country is still deprived of basic amenities and sanitation. As the technology grew and they started connecting to the outside world more frequently via Internet, news et al the desire to excel and lead a more better life grew particularly among the new generation. If figures are to be talked about there are more than 10 Lakh (consrvative estimate) Core IT professionals working in India and about 70-80% among them work for the projects related to American/European MNC. This number keeps on growing every year. So its the matter of demand as well. I am not referring IT related services like BPO, KPO or call centre. Do you think America or entire europe can churn out 5 Lakh IT professionals? Doesn't looks like. So quality and money is one aspect, demand and supply another which needs to be taken into consideration as well. Its just that large population which used to be a bane has become a boon. Same is the story with China. Go to a mall and you will know everything right from cloth to electronic goods is made in China. Why doesn't American Govt stops trading on certain segments with China and create domestic industries and job which are more sustainble? Coming back to India why do we just talk about IT? What about other sectors? I am sure if you call up a doctor for appointment in US its not routed to a INDIAN bpo :) As Thomas Friedman says " The World is Flat" ! Cheers Reply
Aug 28, 2010 12:08 AM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
I believe that the two prominent factors for companies outsourcing to India are 1) Cost effectiveness 2) Large Population with the appropiate skillset .We are doing business here and I believe that it really doesn't make sense to bring in all the emotions.If Americans are being sidelined its because of the above to reasons.If the US is able to generate a supply of Cost effective IT Professionals that can meet the demand , outsourcing will take a beating . But the big question is will the US be able to do so ? I agree that some of the projects outsourced to Indian Companies do fail.The main reason for this is that a decent number of Indian IT companies are yet to transform from mere Software Services firms to Cosulting Companies that can provide customers expert advice/approach on how to use IT to meet their business objectives.You provide them with exact specifications and you will get the exact product you have in mind . But if you provide a high level spec making the "Any fool knows" assumption you may end up with a product that doesnot meet the requirements. Its all about choosing the right vendors and setting the right expectations. Reply
Aug 28, 2010 12:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
Don't look now, but the times and seasons are changing. Too bad for the India boosters. You've been busted. Reply
Aug 28, 2010 12:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
This blog truncated the url. Go to and look for: Traditional Offshore Outsourcing on the Skids August 27, 2010 By Pam Baker Reply
Sep 16, 2010 4:09 PM Mary Mary  says:
Sorry folks - but I work for one of the largest offshorers - and can tell you from personal experience that the US workers being laid off in IT generally have DECADES of experience compared to months if not mere weeks on the India side. I'm not saying that with experience these people can't be trained, but when - to support the cheaper labor - the customer must accept problem resolution time jumping from 4 hours to 24 hours for the most critical problems (neither number reflects getting and installing replacement hardware modules if a module is broken), there is an issue. The intriguing fact is that when offshoring started, the US folks with most expertise were supposed to mentor the offshore communities to help them get up to speed faster - instead, some "bean counters" decided that hiring 4-10x as many workers for less was cost effective - even though 10x no experience still equals no experience - and the US workers remaining are constantly covering offshore shortcomings! Reply
Oct 18, 2010 3:27 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says: in response to Mary
Its funny how u think in this way... A 10 yrs experienced US worker would not even match a 2-3 yrs experienced Indian or few Asian country workers. If jobs were left to US workers the software would hardly work. Even Bill gates admitted that work would be halted if Indians walk out from his company. So buddy who are ? Kindly have knowledge about the world. And i agree we work for less money but we work better than high paid US workers who do nothing but hand project to US. Reply
Oct 24, 2010 12:10 PM RK - France RK - France  says:
Americans were not even born when old civilisations like that of the Indians and Chinese together held more than 50% of the global wealth! I know human minds may not grasp and remember history well but come on! India has more than 5000 years of history behind them! Just 60 years of economic supremacy seems to have made Americans rather snobbish! Go back to your history rooms, learn the worlds and human history and then come and talk!! If Americans think that they will be able to dominate the world as they have in the past then it's at best a misconception, at worse, very foolish ! If Chinese were to sell their dollar stakes in America, America would be at its knees! The world has changed! The simple fact that the G7 has been replaced by the G20 is a testimony to that fact. Please don�t confuse your �ego� with the dynamics of natural human economic and social evolution!! And the evolution is .. The vast majority of the human population needs to grow so that America can also grow and prosper!! My hope and wish for Americans and the world at large is: Stay humble, stay dynamic and stay open! Reply
Dec 15, 2010 8:03 AM Anonymous Anonymous  says: in response to RK - France
just because curry eating people and chink, been around for a long ass time doesn't mean they are any better.Corruption and division in poor and rich, is way off. Sure they been around for a long time, but they got any better ? yes and no....they been around for a long time, did they solved all the problem and become a utopia countries? f*ck noooooo!!! EU same shits, sure the US owe the chink 3 the EU(euro) your a** belong to chink too(china buying your bonds)....EU over spending too.Safe you comments... on the history lesson, and you think Euro is letting all immigrants in? ...US take in more refuge then any EU countries put together.Dollar and Euro currency value is sinking...looks like the chink....own the us and eu ass, hahaha.......anyway the european thrash and ulgly americans is the same boat....i beg you peace.... Reply
Mar 24, 2011 2:03 AM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
the dude who wrote into the "not at all" thread is full of sh*t. dude you are too funny saying that an Indian with 2-3 yrs experience is way more qualified than someone with 10 yrs... hahaha... sooo not true.. idk about the software programming space, but I can tell you for certain in the Network Security space that is total BS. On several occasions I have had to teach "Master" and "PHD" level security engineers the fukn basics of doing good security analysis and/or engineering. for one, most of them are not even linux savvy, so having to explain it was a nightmare bcuz they were so used to the simple GUI method. another thing they do is they try to steal ur method or work i.e. designs or implementation docs u created, then create their own... Indians are not so creative, they just learn and steal then alter what someone else created into what they call their own.. another thing Indians do is they love to stab talk nice in front of u, but stab u in the back in front of higher ups to get ahead, 2-faced! The main reason big companies outsource or bring in Indians is really simple... it is to save a quick buck $$$, but definitely at the expense of quality, at least for the short term so they can ramp up and learn the job their supposed to do. i have nothing against Indians coming here, but let's get are fact straight here. it is not bcuz Indians r better technically, its that they r willing to work longer hrs at reallllly low rates basically undercutting the US worker's job. and that is fukn fact. anyone that is saying otherwise is probably Indian, and defending their existance in the marketplace. Oh and also what I also find funny is the huge language barrier Indian's have doing troubleshooting and support end. how is that really quality u are getting if u can barely understand the tech u r speaking to. jus my 2 cents.... Reply

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