Wipro tries but struggles to fill IT roles in Europe with Europeans

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I was with Wipro's recently appointed head of Europe, Jeffrey Heenan Jalil, yesterday.

Jeffery Heenan Jalil.JPG

I will blog about his strategy going forward but I was interested in hearing about his recruitment struggles.

He says Wipro is finding it difficult to find staff to fill European based roles.

He said there are hundreds of vacancies in at Wipro in Europe for staff to work on customer sites.

"We have hundreds of on site jobs not filled because I am finding it difficult to get the staff."

He says he could fill the roles from India but wants to fill these roles with locals as part of its plan to increase the proportion of staff in Europe that is local. By the end of this year it wants to have 50% of European staff local to the region.

He says this is because the company needs to ensure that workers touching customer have no problems understanding or being understood.

He is not sure whether this is a result of a skills shortage or if Wipro is looking in the wrong places.

He also says that contrary to popular belief, bringing staff over from India is more expensive that recruiting locals in Europe.

He said the combination of the salary they must be paid as well as flights and family support makes it much more expensive to bring staff from, India.

Heenan Jalil replaced Ayan Mukerji, who is moving to a global role to head up Wipro's manufacturing business.

Jeffrey is a Kiwi and not surprisingly is a Rugby man. He claims to be a handy flanker, but having met him I would say he is too small.

15 Comments

hi Karl - I hope you mentioned cwjobs.

This could be an interesting challenge. E-skills say there are over 40,000 unemployed IT workers in the UK and Wipro have 107 UK jobs advertised on their website. Let's see if we can help Jeffrey out and track the progress of some applicants.

These are media gimmicks, to boost brand. I think the problem might be getting permanent employees who are willing to travel on short term assignments across Europe.

I checked the Wipro website and there are 111 UK jobs. Most seem to be management with 10 or more years experience. Most of the Wipro staff I have seen were lower experienced developers, testers and DBAs.

I can't see them reaching 50% unless they start employing UK graduates and technical staff, or buy a UK company.

I applied for one of Wipro's advertised jobs a week ago and still no response other than an automated reply when I submitted my application.

Anyone else apply? Anyone had a response yet?

I guess they are either overloaded or there is something wrong with their recruitment process. Maybe Karl could raise it with Mr Jalil.

I don't believe the claim that it is more expensive to bring in workers from India to the UK than recruiting locally. If that is the case then Jeffrey Jalil has been failing his shareholders badly over the past few years.

I think the government should help him and his shareholders by restricting IT staff from outside of Europe from working here. That way they will have to recruit locally and as he said it will be cheaper. A win win situation all round.

Maybe he can tell us about Wipro's European graduate recruitment programme, when it started and how that has been working since the company setup in the UK. How many EU graduates do they take on each year?

The term 'Europe' can be so very misleading, I suspect the majority of non EU staff are working in the UK. In percentage terms what is the split of non EU workers Wipro has between projects in the UK and the rest of europe?

Karl I think you gave WIPRO a very easy ride on this important issue.

I find it difficult to believe that it is more expensive to bring in workers from India to the UK than recruiting locally. If that is the case then Jeffrey Jalil has been failing his shareholders badly over the past few years.

I think the government should help him and his shareholders by restricting IT staff from outside of Europe from working here. That way they will have to recruit locally and as he said it will be cheaper. A win win situation all round.

Maybe he can tell us about Wipro's European graduate recruitment programme, when it started and how that has been working since the company setup in the UK. How many EU graduates do they take on each year?

The term 'Europe' can be so very misleading, I suspect the majority of non EU staff are working in the UK. In percentage terms what is the split of non EU workers Wipro has between projects in the UK and the rest of europe?

Karl I think you gave WIPRO a very easy ride on this important issue.

Thanks for the prompt reply, and it is a controversial subject.

With so much unemployment there must be scope to use that pool of talent first. I believe there are many graduates who would jump at being trained for these sorts of roles and with cuts in government IT another pool of people will be looking for work.

Let’s keep it local, we are after all in a recession.

Pete

It is clearly cheaper to pay someone from India a £6k-£15k salary plus expenses/allowances than employ a similar UK worker at £30k-£50k plus expenses to go to a client site. Certain companies like to repeat that it is more expensive to bring people in, hoping that if they say it enough then people will believe it.

Recently in the US, some academics produced a study showing that IT workers on visas are paid more than Americans. How did they show this when on the studies based on real data gathered by the US department of labor and Citizen and Immigration service showed the opposite?

They had used an online salary survey carried out several years ago by a magazine mainly read by IT managers. Just to show how untypical their information was, other academics pointed out that the average experience of the H-1B visa workers who answered the survey was over 11 years while the actual government data for H-1B IT workers in 2003 showed 94% had 5 or less years experience.

Co-author of this statistically unsound work , Dr Mithas, previously worked for Tata for 10 years. TCS have been the single biggest user of H-1B visas over the last several years.


Karl,

If Wipro did not made most of the staff redundant as soon as they took over an account, they would not have found themselves short of UK staff.

When Logica lost their application management contract to Wipro at a major UK travel company, Wipro made all but four people redundant. When they took over what was looked after by IBM, I understand they made all the IBM-ers redundant.

I was one of the Logica four and was pushed out 6 months after reaching retirement age. Another left, the third joined the travel company. The only one remaining happened to be a UK citizen of Indian origin.

No sympathy - they bring it on themselves!

I've just been rejected by Wipro with the excuse that although my skills are a perfect match I am too senior for the role. That's a first for me.

I think the problem might be getting permanent employees who are willing to travel on short term assignments across Europe. Maybe Karl could raise it with Mr Jalil. If that is the case then Jeffrey Jalil has been failing his shareholders badly over the past few years. That way they will have to recruit locally and as he said it will be cheaper. The blog was written in the way it was because I knew what he was saying is controversial. I believe there are many graduates who would jump at being trained for these sorts of roles and with cuts in government IT another pool of people will be looking for work. The only one remaining happened to be a UK citizen of Indian origin.

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This page contains a single entry by Karl Flinders published on May 25, 2010 11:56 AM.

MillenniunIT will have to hold back its sales instincts for now was the previous entry in this blog.

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