Vol. 5 Num 1022 Tue. April 17, 2007  

India needs 2m IT, services sector professionals by 2010

A conclave of global executive search firms Monday said India's booming services and software industries need more than two million professionals by 2010 and many could come from overseas.

Tom Fuller, managing director of the US-based Espen Fuller consultancy firm, said India's outsourcing industry needed 1.4 million professionals alone, while its burgeoning information technology sector would need an additional 800,000 skilled workers in the next three years.

"A growing number of global managers are attracted by exciting professional opportunities being presented by India," Fuller told heads of international consultancy firms attending an annual convention in this Arabian Sea resort.

India's outsourcing industry could process 30 percent of US bank transactions by 2010, more than triple the current figure, says the industry's main lobby group National Association of Software and Services Companies.

Foreign financial institutions and firms have been moving back office, call centre and other software-related work to India to take advantage of its English-speaking, lower-paid employees and cut costs.

India's business process outsourcing sector, which includes customer call centres and services such as accounting and payroll management, has created about 100,000 jobs in the past two years alone, more than doubling the industry's total workforce to over 170,000.

The meeting, which ended Monday in the Goa capital of Panaji, also said India had become a paradise for professional head-hunters.

"India is becoming the most attractive destination to scout for young talent," said Sherlin Shakel, managing partner of Britain's Highfield consultancy firm.

"And Indian business schools are meeting the global requirements by producing managers who are most sought after worldwide," Shakel told reporters.

Economists also say India will soon represent two-thirds of the international "offshore market" -- jobs done outside a client's region.

Peter Mukherjea, head of the India-based INX Global Executive search firm, said India would also need more top executives than it currently had to spur economic growth beyond the current nine percent.

"India would need over 1,000 chief executive officers across industries, many of them in new sectors such as special economic zones, aviation, airport management and retail," he said on the sidelines of the conclave.

The convention included representatives from companies from 27 countries including Australia, Britain, France, Germany, India, Italy, Singapore, Spain and the United States, organisers said.