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Infosys scouting the world for talent

AFP , MYSORE, INDIA

Founder and mentor of Infosys Technologies, India's second largest software exporter, N. R. Narayana Murthy, second right, meets with US employees on the campus of Infosys in Mysore, around 150km southwest of Bangalore. Facing a shortage of skilled workers for India's booming software and outsourcing services industry, Infosys recruiters have been scouting the world for high-quality talent to help serve the company's more than 500 clients.

PHOTO: AFP

Far away from home, university graduates are being trained by one of India's biggest software companies to become top-notch software programmers within just 16 weeks.

The graduates are being put through their paces at a center in Mysore, 140km southwest of Bangalore, by Indian software giant Infosys Technologies.

Facing a shortage of skilled workers for India's booming software and outsourcing services industry, Infosys recruiters have been scouting the world for high-quality talent to help serve the company's more than 500 clients.

Alexis Heintz, who holds a BA from North Carolina University, is among 126 graduates recruited from 82 US universities who have chosen to work for Infosys.

She said it was tough shifting from arts to computer coding but did it because she liked Infosys.

"Software engineering is basically problem-solving," she said. "At the end of the course I'll be a software engineer and going back to the US to work as an Infosys software engineer."

Set in a 134-hectare campus, the Infosys Mysore Development Center houses the firm's Global Education Center and the Infosys Leadership Institute.

"In 16 weeks they will teach you a skill that is equal to the skill of any young man or woman anywhere in the world," Indian Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidamabram said on a visit to the campus earlier this month.

The center can train 4,500 people in one go. It has 58 training rooms, 183 faculty rooms, a cyber cafe, a library and 2,350 bedrooms.

A 10-bed hospital, a basketball court, 22 table tennis courts, a swimming pool, laundromat, gymnasium, jacuzzi, six-lane bowling alley, four-screen 1,500-seater digital auditorium and a meditation hall complete the facilities.

The National Association of Software and Service Companies, India's leading IT body, forecasts the nation's outsourcing industry will face a shortage of 262,000 professionals by 2012.

Infosys, launched in 1981 with seven employees and now boasting a workforce of 58,000, does not believe hiring foreigners alone is going to solve the talent crunch and will be putting its main energies into training Indians.

When fully operational next year, the center will be able to train 35,000 to 40,000 Indian and foreign graduates each year and 13,500 in a single 16-week session.

Infosys believes that by having a staff with a more international face it will be able to serve its customers better.

The company has been on the crest of the outsourcing wave in the past decade, during which many Western firms have moved software development and back-office work to India.

Ninety-eight percent of the firm's US$2.15 billion in revenues come from outside India, a majority of the earnings from the US.

"Even though we have a great majority of Indian talent we wanted always to expand our exposure to people from local areas where we do business," Infosys Human Resources chief Mohandas Pai said.

"Today we have 1,800 people from various nationalities who work with us all over the world. We want this percentage to grow at a faster rate," he said.

"We want to go to 300 people [from the US] from 126 by next year. We are also extending this to the UK where about 35 people will join us later this year," Pai said.

The company has eight centers in India and another 30 worldwide.

"Infosys is looking at universities in Europe too and also Australia. Last year 100 young Chinese from the best universities came here to undergo training," Pai said.

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