India IT firms surpass U.S. in revealing workforce makeup

It's too bad that U.S. IT tech firms aren't as open as some India IT offshore outsourcing operations in disclosing details about their workforces.

Oh, the things we could learn about globalization if U.S. firms weren't so secretive and stingy about their labor force disclosures.  

Let's take Tata Consultancy Services, for instance, India's offshoring giant.

TCS employs about 141,000 (not counting overseas branches, and subsidiaries and reports total employee strength of 160,000). TCS reported $1.7 billion in its most recent quarter.

This is the level of detail (presented by your blogger in a helpful Q&A format) that TCS shares about its workforce. 

Q. How many TCS employees are Indian? 

A. 93.3% of its workforce is Indian.  

Q. How many TCS employees are nationals of other countries?  

A: 10,700 or 6.7% of its workforce. 

Q: Of the 10,700 TCS employees that are nationals of other countries, how many are Americans?

A: Just under 12%.

Q: What percentage of TCS revenue comes from North America?

A: 54%.

Q: What is the average age of a TCS employee? 

A: 28 years old.

Q: How many women does TCS employ?  

A: 30% of its employees are women.  

Q: What's the average length of experience of a TCS worker?

A: Of the total workforce, 57% has three years or more experience.  

Q: What is TCS's attrition rate?

A: It's less than 12%.

U.S. tech companies will provide what's required by the hard working staff at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and very little else.  

This means, that at best, most U.S. companies will provide overall headcount data. There are some exceptions.

Microsoft, for instance, breaks out the number of U.S. workers versus overseas. (As of June last year it employed approximately 93,000 people -- 56,000 in the U.S. and 37,000 internationally.) But IBM this year decided to stop disclosing all together its headcount by geography.

To be sure, Indian IT firms have solid business reasons for disclosing detailed workforce data. A high percentage of Indian-based employees versus U.S.-based employees is positive sign for controlling costs.  The attrition rate indicates the state of the labor market and whether labor competition will drive up wages. 

Missing in this data from all Indian firms, and not just TCS, are the number of H-1B and L-1 workers in the U.S. at any one time. But blame for this missing information rest with the U.S. government which doesn't report the total number of H-1B workers in the U.S.

Regardless of their reasons for these workforce disclosures, the Indian firms are shedding far more light on the global workforce shift than U.S. tech companies.  


Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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