The electronics industry should not look at the talent pool in India as a low-cost solution, writes an Indian-born engineer.
Do not look at India as low-cost talent
I read a letter to the editor,
"Over by dead body"(written by Axel Kloth, founder and chief technology officer of Parimics Inc.). Here are the facts. You should take my word for it as I worked for about six years in Silicon valley before returning to may native land, India. Here are my few points:
First of all, I wish the industry would not look at the talent pool in India as a low-cost solution to their business needs, because it is not viable. While handling a team in India while I was in the Valley, I realized a few things:
a) The Indian team was inefficient as much as 50 percent. This is because of lack of confidence, infrastructure and lack of understanding of real problem (technical). It was difficult for them to visualize an optimal solution.
b)Whatever happens, the ARCHITECT still lives in Silicon Valley, so the mismatch proportion of the architects' intentions is very high when the design team sits in India. According to my ex-CTO, it is almost impossible for a startup to get designs implemented in India, as our specifications changes every second, and then this 12 hours of shift becomes a curse rather than a boon.
c) The feeling of insecurity you have when you are in a different land Silicon Valley does not exist, so your competitive nature relaxes.
Indian teams are still in the development phase. It will be a few years of mistakes before we can compare them to their equivalent counterparts in the Silicon Valley.
If USA does not increase the number of H-1B visas, the result will be that a lot of good engineers will be forced to remain in India and China and, as a result, in the next few years the U.S. will have strengthened its own competition.
I keep reading a lot of articles on H-1B immigrants being paid less. H-1B workers are not paid less than their U.S. counterparts, if they are employed by U.S.-managed companies. Mostly the salaries are compromised when they work for non-U.S. managed companies.
But usually Indians enter the U.S. as employees of some Indian-managed company, and so end up working for at least a few years before he/she realizes that he/she is being paid less. Once you are aware of the salary difference and if you are an above average engineer, then I do not think anybody had can afford to pay you less.
According to me, it is not always the total salary that is less, but more of working 12-16 hours of extra work that the immigrants end up doing without getting paid for it.
Name and title withheld at author's request.