HCL Sets up Shop Near Microsoft, Boeing

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In another move that indicates it's tackling anti-outsourcing sentiment head-on, HCL Technologies is opening a "global delivery center" in Redmond, Wash., where it will develop and test software for clients including Microsoft and Boeing. The Seattle Times' Brier Dudley reports the company is investing $4 million in the center and has pledged to hire 400 people, mostly engineers, in the next two years. The state of Washington also is pitching in $200,000 to train people to work there.


At Microsoft, HCL is expected to be working on new technologies in large-scale data management, cloud computing and mobility.


It's part of HCL Technologies' larger plan to hiring 1,000 in the United States over the next 18 months. Though the Indian company expressed concern about the U.S. business climate after the credit downgrade last month, The Wall Street Journal quotes Shami Khorana, president of HCL Americas, saying:

In the context of the current economy, we believe that for the U.S., significant opportunities are present in the areas of ... aerospace and defense - and this is where we will also be heavily focused.

The Journal article says the company also expects strong growth in retail, manufacturing and high-tech industries. GeekWire notes that the aerospace industry showed the strongest job growth in Washington during August, with 3,500 positions added.


Dudley notes that HCL has opened similar centers in various locations around the world. He quotes Sandeep Kishore, executive vice president at HCL's U.S. headquarters, near San Francisco, saying:

The prime reason is we want to be operating closer to customers so our ability to offer value on complex programs is high.

Kishore told Dudley that 80 percent of the hiring would be done locally, with 20 percent of the workers coming from HCL's other centers. The Journal story, however, says that 40 percent of the company's 6,400 employees in the United States are Americans.


In Redmond, HCL will be looking for specialists in computer science, electrical engineering, communications and software engineering. Kishore said salaries at its U.S. centers are "market competitive." As my colleague Ann All has pointed out, hiring workers at U.S. wages dilutes the savings the company can offer clients. Khorana told me last month, however, during an interview about HCL taking on rebadged workers, that HCL works hard to reduce risk and improve processes so it's still a win-win situation for the client.


Though Washington's overall unemployment rate seems stuck at 9.3 percent, the Seattle-area tech job market is very tight. HCL plans to work closely with local universities to hire many of the workers it needs. All I can say is, "Good luck with that." Those students already are highly recruited. In a post at Xconomy, University of Washington computer science professor Ed Lazowska reports that his seniors are being offered salaries straight out of college as high as $105,000.