Amid criticism of outsourcing firms, at least one large Indian outsourcing company is planning to hire 10,000 U.S. workers over the next two years. Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka announced the company will open four technology and innovation hubs in the U.S. “focusing on cutting-edge technology areas, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, user experience, emerging digital technologies, cloud, and big data.”
The first will be in Vice President Mike Pence’s home state of Indiana. The Indiana campus also will have a training facility and a “skilling and re-skilling” facility. Scheduled to open in August, the Indiana campus alone is expected to employ at least 2,000 U.S. workers by 2021. Indiana reportedly offered Infosys incentives that include $500,000 in training funds and $15,250 in conditional tax credits per job.
Sikka has stated that there is “a strong desire by [President Donald Trump] and [the] administration to hire more locally and make things locally, and that’s something we deeply support.” The restrictions on H-1B and L-1 visas, along with the strict scrutiny of outsourcing companies by the Trump Administration and Congress, are also factors. On the other hand, the company also reportedly said that “more and more of the work that we do going forward . . . need[s] a great amount of presence locally.” Wages are increasing in India and it may be becoming more difficult to find Indian engineering graduates who can code software well enough to meet companies’ and clients’ needs. Automation and cloud computing also have led to a drop in outsourcing firms’ gross hiring numbers worldwide. The demand for H-1B visas from outsourcing companies, such as Infosys, decreased this year, but it also 37 percent lower than before the November presidential election. Market factors, as much if not more than the political environment and restrictions on H-1B and L-1 visas, may be the driving influence.
Infosys has not yet selected the locations of the three other promised hubs, but the company is looking for locations where there are economic incentives offered near their major clients and near universities. Infosys already has offices in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Washington, each with 100-200 employees. WIPRO and TATA also are moving toward more local hiring. The CEO of WIPRO told reporters, “In Q1, we expect to have more than 50 per cent of employees to be locals in our biggest market which is the United States.”