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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

January 1, 2006

Written by C.N.

India’s Outsourcing Strength in Decline

ABC News has an article that many may find a little surprising — in the midst of India’s rise in recent years as the international capital of outsourced labor, there are increasing signs that this powerhouse is starting to sputter due to a lack of educated and English-proficient workers qualified to fill the jobs that have been outsourced into India:

Call centers and outsourcing firms are growing fast, but their human resources employees despair because most of the young Indians they interview are, they say, “unemployable.” Some people in the IT industry have said that only one in 10 graduates is worth taking on. . . . India employs about 350,000 people in the outsourcing industry and adds 150,000 new jobs each year. But filling those vacancies is proving to be a nightmare. At this moment, the industry needs to hire around 9,000 people but can’t find them.

The crisis is set to worsen. The industry faces a shortfall of half a million workers in a few years’ time. . . . With half of its 1.2 billion people under age 25, how can India possibly be short of workers? The problem is not quantity but quality. Many of the 3.6 million graduates churned out every year by Indian universities are considered mediocre.

The Nasscom-McKinsey report confirmed the experiences of HR executives. It said that only about 10 percent to 15 percent of eligible workers are fit for employment in the offshoring industry. Fluency in English apart, employers complained that graduates lacked computer skills, the ability to reason clearly, solve problems, think critically, analyze, work in teams and think creatively.

The labor shortage, however, is good news for foreigners. Disgruntled British and American workers who have seen their jobs outsourced to India could get them back — with one catch. They need to move to India where their English and their accents will be an asset.

That last paragraph is certainly quite interesting — India’s troubles can be a benefit to native English-speaking workers, if they are willing to move to India to work. I suppose you can call that “imported English outsourcing” or something.

Whatever the case, this is another example of capitalism’s relentless pursuit of profit. Capitalism first came to India for the cheap labor but is increasingly finding that Indian workers aren’t qualified enough. So what’s the answer? Find qualified workers but bring them into India where the costs of doing business are lower and where maximum profit can still be achieved. As I’ve said before, soon another country will eclipse India to become the new outsourcing center of the world, and then another country will surpass that one, and so on. It’s inevitable.


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Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "India’s Outsourcing Strength in Decline" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2006/01/indias-outsourcing-strength-in-decline/> ().

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