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As Hiring Soars In India, Good Managers Are Hard To Find

Accenture plans to increase its India staff this year by 8,000 people to 35,000, surpassing its U.S. employee base. IBM's India staff has jumped from 43,000 to 53,000 in six months, and it expects to maintain a similar growth clip. Both Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services are hiring about 2,000 people a month.

At that pace, that's more than 35,000 new hires for these four companies alone the next six months, and dozens of other tech companies are rushing to add staff in India. So where will all this talent come from?

That's a question businesses should be asking their suppliers of India-based IT and business process services. The country still offers the best talent-to-price ratio of any place in the world, but suppliers admit it's getting increasingly difficult to find and keep the right people—especially at the management level.

"We're not a body shop," says Amitabh Ray, IBM's VP of consulting and application services in its India-based Global Business Services unit. "We need the right kind of people." That means staffers skilled in a variety of enterprise applications, including SAP, PeopleSoft, and Siebel; database administrators; high-end IT architects and database administrators; and project managers and other leaders. Based on current growth rate, IBM will employ 100,000 people in India by 2010, projects AMR Research. It employs about 300,000 worldwide, with about 130,000 in the United States.

IT employers' biggest problem in India, though, is leadership. "We're not finding a lot of seasoned managers," says Mary Jo Morris, president of Global Transformation Services at Computer Sciences Corp., which employs 7,200 in India. CSC tackled that problem by bringing in expatriates or training existing employees.

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