Wed, May 03, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Infosys plans to hire 10,000 US workers at four centers

Reuters, SAN FRANCISCO and MUMBAI, India

India-based information technology (IT) services firm Infosys Ltd said it plans to hire 10,000 US workers in the next two years and open four technology centers in the US, starting with a center this August in Indiana, the home state of US Vice President Mike Pence.

The move comes at a time when Infosys and some of its Indian peers such as Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro Ltd have become political targets in the US for allegedly displacing US workers’ jobs by flying in foreigners on temporary visas to service their clients in the nation.

The IT service firms rely heavily on the H1-B visa program, which US President Donald Trump has ordered federal agencies to review.

In a telephone interview with Reuters from Indiana, Infosys chief executive Vishal Sikka said his company plans to hire US workers in fields such as artificial intelligence.

“When you think about it from a US point of view, obviously creating more American jobs and opportunities is a good thing,” Sikka said.

While Indian outsourcing companies have recruited in the US, Infosys is the first to come out with concrete hiring numbers and provide a time line in the wake of Trump’s visa review.

Indian IT service firms, which typically flood the lottery system each year with thousands of applications, have been among the largest H1-B recipients annually.

Indian politicians and IT industry heads have been lobbying US lawmakers and officials from the Trump administration to not make drastic changes to visa rules, as this could hurt India’s US$150 billion IT service sector.

The 10,000 new US jobs would be a small part of Infosys’ overall workforce of more than 200,000.

“We started small at first and have been growing since then,” Sikka said. “The reality is, bringing in local talent and mixing that with the best of global talent in the times we are living in and the times we’re entering is the right thing to do. It is independent of the regulations and the visas.”

The four hubs being set up are not only to have technology and innovation focus areas, but also closely serve clients in sectors such as financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, retail and energy, Infosys said.

The first hub, which is to open in Indiana in August, is expected to create 2,000 jobs by 2021, the company said.

Infosys did not disclose the financial impact of its plans. It declined to comment on whether the planned US jobs would account for a large percentage of overall hiring in the coming two years.

However, based on Infosys’ hiring trends, the planned hirings in the US could account for a substantial portion of the company’s net workforce additions over the period.

Infosys, which added nearly 18,000 jobs in 2015, slowed its hiring pace considerably, creating just 6,000 jobs last year amid market uncertainty caused by Brexit and heightened clamor for tougher US immigration laws that led some US clients to postpone new projects.

“Hiring locally is a compulsion and it’s not just because of what’s happening in the US,” Reliance Securities research analyst Harit Shah said. “The model itself is not sustainable.”

The company cautioned last month that it would struggle to reach its ambitious US$20 billion revenue target by 2020, as the Indian software service sector has been hit by cautious client spending due to a rising protectionist wave globally.

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