Thursday, June 09, 2005

Indian outsourcing: skills shortage looms

India's rapidly growing software and offshore outsourcing industry says the nation's university graduates lack the skills needed for an estimated one million jobs in the next four years.
The issue is so crucial that the industry will develop its own system to test the skills of the country's three million university graduates each year, Kiran Karnik, president of the National Association of Software and Service Companies, said on Wednesday at a two-day summit in Bangalore on outsourcing trends.
"The test is designed for entry-level candidates. It will gauge the skills necessary for call center and transaction processing jobs," Karnik said. "Most of the graduates ... currently are not employable."
India's software and services industry earned $US22 billion ($A28.73 billion) in the fiscal year ended March and is expected to grow 32 per cent this year, the software association said earlier this month.
The industry, which covers offshore outsourcing services such as software programs, billing, customer management and accounting for companies abroad and in India, crossed one million employees last fiscal year, which is set to double by 2009.
The association represents 900 members including India's largest software and service companies.
Executives from Infosys and Wipro have complained that the government is not providing the tools needed for the industry to grow such as electricity and an updated education system.
"This will enable the industry to come out with a certain amount of standards. The pilot project is expected to begin in a couple of weeks," Mr Karnik said.
Even with skills testing and classes, the industry may not be able to fill 262,000 jobs of the one million estimate because of a lack of qualified people, particularly middle-level management, he said.
"The whole purpose is to create an employable talent pool and to enhance the size and quality of the" workforce," Mr Karnik said.