November 05, 2007

Human Capital & Talent Pool - A Glimpse into the future

Some key happenings in the recent past -

  • US H1-B visa restrictions
  • Growth of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries
  • Kingfisher on the F1 track
  • Fall of the US Dollar [1 USD = 38 INR (previously 48+ INR)]
  • India's SENSEX crosses the 20,000 mark
  • Mukesh Ambani becomes the world's richest man

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot more under each of the above happenings - reasons and results.

We saw brain drain happening in the past many years (from the 1980's till date - except for the period when the dot com bubble burst). The primary reason we saw this happening was because of the US Dollar's high value and the resulting economy in the United States.

The big companies attracted talent from countries like India and Brazil into the United States to compensate for the shortage of talent. This later got diluted to a time when body shopping became a common scenario in the IT industry with smaller companies (or consultancies) hiring human capital from the developing countries and deploying them in the United States. This resulted in the movement of lower skilled staff into the US, and hence making it tougher for the citizens of the United States to compete.

Today, with the scenario totally changed, we see a different trend - People have now started to think of getting back to their home countries (esp. Indians). The reason is very obvious. With the H1B visa restrictions now, the United States is all set to witness a big time reverse brain drain - First time in the history of USA.

As we see in many walks of life, history repeats! India was once called as The Land of Milk and Honey. It was only after the series of conquests made by the British, Afghans, Dutch, Portuguese, and French, that India saw the state of poverty.

Today, India is rich in talented human capital and the economy is doing well. Its like a sinusoidal waveform - positives and negatives come in alternate cycles.

From a economy standpoint, my personal feeling is that we will witness the BRIC nations growing in the days to come and the United States will not be looked upon as THE place to do business. Its going to be a Global Market where the customers and the suppliers will be competing in a global space, and will not be demarcated by national boundaries.

Some key challenges that I foresee in this kind of a market are -
  • Companies revamping their business model(s) to address the global market space
    • Bigger companies have realized this long back, but smaller companies need to consciously plan
  • Visa regulations of countries need to be given a serious look
    • Need to be able to issue business visas at a short notice - Waiting period needs to be reduced a lot
  • Product and Service Management needs a global perspective
    • International market exposure will help leaders and managers manage their products and service offerings better - making them more relevant to the global marketplace
  • United States H1B visa restrictions need to be made more meaningful - something in the lines of a point system will make more sense (like how Canada follows)
Some countries that I think are going to be the czars of this century -
  • Canada - Will replace the Middle East with its huge oil resources
  • China + India - Pivotal countries in the IT space - Deal Hub that will be equivalent to how USA is today
  • Countries like Philippines, etc will be the next destinations for outsourcing from countries like India and China
  • Singapore - continue to grow as the hub of business in Asia Pacific
  • Japan - Will be the Automotive leader with companies like Toyota and Honda leading the space with highly efficient vehicles
Tips for the younger generation of aspiring professionals -
  • Keep your eyes and ears open to technology and business advancements across the world (not just your country)
  • Ride on the social networking boom by utilizing its services to get networked with people globally - for the right purpose and a good cause
  • Specialization is a key space. However, being knowledgeable/adept in more than three different areas is good to compete in a global marketplace
  • Force your brains to think 360 degrees and bring in different perspectives to every walk of life
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