Thursday, May 11, 2006

Go East young man

Seems that the Onion may not be so sarcastic after all. A couple of posts back I posted an article spoofing the current immigrant 'crisis', "Illegal Immigrants Returning to Mexico For American Jobs". I thought it was a funny read (judging from comments around here lately, it seems I'm the only one who thought so). Now I just came across an article on MSNBC that shows just how on the mark the Onion really is.

Americans make reverse commute — to India
Cutting-edge jobs, early-career experience draw the tech-savvy

BANGALORE, India - Nate Linkon graduated from college last year with a business degree and a lot of offers. But he made an unusual choice: to pack his bags and move 9,000 miles away from corporate America to Bangalore. In his view, there’s no better place to beef up his résumé — even though the pay is much lower.

“Yeah, I kind of look at it like a career trajectory,” said Linkon, 22, of Milwaukee. “You do this and you set yourself up for bigger things than you would making four times what I make now in Chicago or New York.”

U.S. companies have been sending jobs overseas for years — 130,000 already in 2006, according to Forrester Research, which analyzes the technology market. It projects that the number will rise to more than 3.5 million by 2015.

But now there’s a twist — U.S. workers are taking jobs in India for what they see as a long-term investment in their future. And Indian companies are recruiting them.

A mutually beneficial arrangement

“We don’t think doing things in India is a loss to the U.S.,” said N.R. Narayana Murthy, co-founder and chairman of Infosys Technologies Ltd., an industry leader in outsourced software services. Nor, he said, does he think doing things in the United States is a loss for India. Almost two-thirds of Infosys’ revenue is generated in the U.S. market.

Murthy, 59, is lobbying students at the Stanford Business School, where he is a member of the advisory council, to come east — way east — to Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley. With its Microsoft-like campus, Infosys provides support to big U.S. companies like Best Buy, Circuit City and even Microsoft. (Microsoft is a parent company of

“To add significant value to corporations from a country like India is an exciting opportunity,” Murthy said, “and to be part of that opportunity is one of a kind.”

Infosys’ profits are three times those of its U.S. competitors. One of the main reasons is salaries. The employees here — the software engineers — make about a quarter of the salary of someone doing the same job in the United States.

Still, a growing number of Americans are looking to Bangalore, where their money goes a lot further. This summer, 100 new U.S. graduates will start as full-time engineers at Infosys, with 200 more to arrive by the end of the year, part of a total staff expansion the company projects to top 50 percent this year.

Like Linkon, they are willing to take lower pay to get the hands-on experience they believe will make them more marketable when they return to a job in the United States.


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