Brain Drain: Exporting Indian IT Talents and its Challenges

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Microsoft, Sun Microsystems – these are probably two of the most reputed IT firms in the global market. What is fascinating about these two companies is that the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, is an Indian, and the founder of Sun Microsystems is Vinod Khosla, also an Indian. The Silicon Valley in California, USA, is considered the hub of IT giants. In India, it has always been an aspiration to settle abroad. No matter how patriotic they are, there is always a yearning to bag the title of NRI (Non-resident Indian). In most modern Indian families, there always is one uncle or cousin who has made it big overseas and is considered as the pride of the entire family. The reasons for this affinity of earning foreign currency are ample.

Indian students face a tough time getting enrolled in decent government colleges offering technical courses due to a grossly limited number of seats. They find it more beneficial to study in a reputed college outside of India, and sidewise gain on global exposure. Also jobs in Europe and North America are quite lucrative offering handsome salaries and plenty of opportunities. As the IT sector in India is getting saturated day-by-day and some companies even sacking a sizeable portion of their HR, Indians find it a safe bet to try their luck abroad. So is the grass actually greener on the other side?

From India to the World: the Perks of Human Capital Migration
  • Indians fare well outside

It has been seen time and again that Indians are a talented bunch of people. They are a dynamic set of personalities who possess the acumen to dominate in any field. Foreign IT giants have noticed the talents of Indian IT professionals and are keen on recruiting more Indians. Yes, they do have the skill set to stand out of the crowd through their sincerity and hard working nature. Seeing Indians excel in a global platform only puts another feather in the Indian cap of awesomeness.   

  • Brain Drain or Brain Gain?

The initial burst of Indians in Silicon Valley made the tech giants crave more of their advanced tech skills. As a result they set up centres in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune, forming tech hubs which have since also become centres of innovation. These firms have generated abundant job opportunities for the Indian masses.  Many of the NRIs (labelled for a long time as symbols of Brain Drain) have returned to their roots with refined skill-sets and are powering home-grown, widely acclaimed start-ups such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Zomato, thereby facilitating the Indian economy. It is worth noting that remittances to India (money transfer from NRIs) have generated about 70 billion dollars in 2015, making India world’s leading receiver of remittances (Source: “India Wins the Remittance Race Again”- The Wall Street Journal, 2015-04-15.)

  • Better Education

India on realising the scope of IT talent overseas, is giving an added focus on improving the education and infrastructural standards. It has helped to spur the growth of software education. Many colleges are offering technical courses attuned to the international criteria. Therefore, Indian students are receiving advanced job skills to meet the standards of international tech firms.

No Place like Home: the Disadvantages of Exporting Indian Talent
  • A one way ticket

Most of the talented individuals who get the opportunity to work abroad have qualified from government institutes such as IITs and NITs. These colleges provide quality education at affordable expenditure. This means that Indian citizens have invested their tax money on prospective students who will ultimately fly to foreign territories and earn their living there. This leads to losing out on human capital and exploiting the return on investment.

  • Compromised Talent Pool

Eyeing on bagging a job abroad, the cream of highly skilled individuals gets side-lined from the Indian job market, creating a dearth of talented people in the Indian IT sector. India has a booming IT industry consisting of Indian IT Service Providers such as TCS, Wipro, Infosys, Cognizant and HCL Technologies. These companies are getting a segregated portion of the talent pool due to the elevated preference for foreign jobs.    

  • Changes in visa admissions

One of the most popular destinations for working beyond the borders is United States. Most immigrant professionals work under US companies with the sanction of H1B Visa. One of the recent moves by US President Donald Trump was to discontinue the granting of H1B Visas, preventing foreign nationals to work in the US. This makes things difficult for Indian IT enthusiasts to live the American Dream.

In spite of all the drawbacks, the exporting of Indian IT talent could help flourish globalisation and bring India closer to the world. These individuals are not just part of a global talent pool but also a financial resource that can be tapped for the overall betterment of India.

Why does Indian talent bring added value to the global workforce?

Being brought up in a country with a population of 1.2 billion and counting, struggling has been the way of life for every Indian. The competitive spirit is embedded into the Indian temperament right from an early age. This approach has honed into an asset in the competitive global market. In every job, Indian employees thrive with their go-getter attitude and thirst to excel. They consider it a challenge to work in high pressure environments and deadlines because that brings out their A-game. India being the hub of various cultures and religions, Indian employees find it comfortable to gel with other colleagues and build up a rapport with their superiors. To top it off, the Indian mind is like a sponge, ready to absorb every bit of knowledge and information that comes its way.

Indians are persistent people. They never settle and constantly keep pushing the limits. But their dedication and keenness to perfection is not something they like to boast about. They choose to work hard in silence, and let success make the noise instead. Indian brains make the best concoction of book smart and street smart, ready to deliver.

“A person who is happy is not because everything is right in his life, he is happy because his attitude towards everything in his life is right.” – Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google


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