Sep 16, 2006

ERA convention - some reflections

Yesterday I attended the ERA convention on the Emerging Economies and implications for recruiters and employers. The countries covered were Brazil, Russia, China and Eastern Europe.

The keynote speaker was Prashant Srivastava of Gallup India who gave a macro perspective on how the major economic movements have been happening over the last three decades and what are the opportunities and actions for India. One interesting area that stuck in my head is the scope for temping firms to enter into the housekeeping and related areas. The only question was is there scope for large players to consolidate a fragmented area of work which is now only the unorganized sector. He also dwelled on the needs to improve infrastructure and education and the opportunities for NIIT and APTECH like institutions to fill the gap between universities and academia in other industries too.

An interesting related presentation was by the Institute of e-Governance, government of AP where the IT secretary of the Andhra Pradesh , Dr. Subba Rao recounted what they have done to take the lesser universities from the rural areas and train girl students from the rural areas. The focus is on hands-on IT projects, metoring by industry people and the results are that this year they have made around 3000 people employed by IT services giants. With the focus of lots of numbers looks like the 22,000 remaining students would also get lapped up !

TCS's exec-VP, global HR Mr. Padmanabhan spoke of the struggles and changes they have gone through to be able to have 8% non-Indian workforce. The biggest change he said was the mental one to have non-Indian peers working with Indian project leaders and managers. An interesting observation he made was that "indians can wrk with foreigners as bosses and clients, but to hav them as team members is another thing". Another challenge he spoke from the HR aspect was to customise HR policies and communications for each nation.

The sessions on Brazil focussed on the IT sector and the interesting point was that Brazil has more retained than contingency seaches so the focus for smaller organizations is to hire using free websites and industry newsletters.

Russia focussed on the pharma industry and the point that was stressed was the high difficulty in doing business there because of law and order issues, the complex accounting processes and the language issues.

China was represented by Mr. Lee Lieu , Head of Talent for Motorola Asia Pacific. Lee presented his 10 commandments to doing business in China, which began with
1. Everything is possible in China
2. Nothing is easy ...