India’s Professional Workforce and Outsourcing Success

India has a Pool of Talented and Low-Cost Indian Outsourcing Professional

When asked why IBM, one of the largest outsourcing spenders in India, did not lay off a single employee during recession in any of its Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) businesses in the country, IBM's senior advisory consultant Selby Mascarenhas's answer was simple and forthright.

He said, "There was no need to lay off Indian workers since Indian workers are cost effective compared to their counterparts abroad." In fact, IBM, far from laying off people, is going the opposite way. In 2010, it will be hiring at least 5,000 people in its outsourcing operations in India. It will employ this staff to man several BPO centers it plans to open in India.

Mascarenhas' comment about the "Indian worker" is a reflection about the latter’s professionalism, and the fact that he charges a fraction of what a Western outsourcing professional would charge - especially in high-value outsourcing activities such as engineering and medical outsourcing.

If we were to put together the sum of all parts that make the average Indian outsourcing professional, there are several attributes that stand out in making him one of the most sought after outsourcing professionals in the world.

He can not only read, write, and speak English, but also adapt to any accent in the English-speaking world. The Indian outsourcing professional is available in every possible sphere of business and commerce. From graphic design, medical research, to doing homework for American children, the Indian outsourcing professional, and thus, the outsourcing company, can take up any outsourcing project.

So much so that in each of the 28 states of India pockets of outsourcing excellence, in terms of skills, have developed, to cater to global outsourcing. For instance, the southern states in India are known for their IT outsourcing professionals, and outsourcing professionals in western India are known for their financial acumen. India's capital, New Delhi, attracts the most legal outsourcing out of all the states in the country.

Indian outsourcing professionals have other abilities as well. They can break down complex tasks into manageable yet interconnected projects-a major reason behind India's success in IT outsourcing. Indian outsourcing professionals are also very customer-oriented, and are good listeners in interactions with clients.

All these reasons have enabled India's outsourcing companies to increase the efficiency of many Fortune 500 companies by as much as 50 per cent. Some of these companies, including McDonald's, Dell, Pepsi, and Citibank, outsource projects to Indian outsourcing companies, and are able to offer their products and services at 10-35 per cent less cost to their domestic consumers.

It's to the credit of the Indian outsourcing professional that Citibank is able to offer personal and corporate banking at 20 per cent less cost in global markets.

Furthermore, the Indian outsourcing professional is bound to be in demand as India marches forward to develop outsourcing hubs in its Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities such as Jaipur, Mysore, Ahmedabad, and Chandigarh. These cities have begun to have similar advantages in outsourcing as those enjoyed by India's well-known outsourcing destinations such as New Delhi, Gurgaon, and Bangalore.

The talented and low-cost Indian outsourcing professional is, for now, keeping at bay fierce competition from China, the Philippines, Brazil, and Mexico, etc., and will enable India to sustain its first mover advantage in the outsourcing industry.