Amid the ongoing debate over possible clampdown on bringing skilled manpower into the US, IT firm Cognizant said it is planning to “significantly increase” the size of its US workforce in the coming years.
Cognizant, which has about 70-75 per cent of its over 2 lakh workforce based out of India, said it hired over 4,000 US citizens and residents in 2016. “As you know, there has been considerable discussion recently on the topic of skilled immigration in the US. This has been an ongoing discussion for many years,” Cognizant President Rajeev Mehta said on a con-call.
He added that Cognizant’s business growth requires it to attract and retain the best and brightest talent to meet clients’ needs for technology, business process and consulting solutions and services. During the December 2016 quarter, Cognizant added about 4,400 (net) people to take its global headcount to 2,60,200 employees.
“The plan we have announced today (for ramping up digital services offering) will require us to continue to build our team in the US and in other geographies around the world where we operate. Consistent with this need, we continue to focus on taking steps to ensure that we have access to a robust supply of talent in the US,” he said. The company has built a network of over 20 US-based delivery centers and plans to add additional capacity in 2017.
“Over the next several years, we plan to significantly increase the size of our US workforce,” Mehta said. He added that for over five years, Cognizant has been running an active programme to recruit students from undergraduate and MBA schools across the US and it continues to scale up that programme.
“As we scale up our M&A program, we expect this to contribute to our local workforce around the world. To address the longer term talent needs, we continue to make investments in training and retraining programs that help US workers obtain in-demand technology and business skills,” Mehta said.
The proposed overhaul of work visa regime under US President Donald Trump has raised concerns among IT firms that are dependent on skilled workforce available across the globe. Any changes in the visa regime may not only result in higher operational costs but also roadblocks in movement of skilled workers. The US accounts for a significant chunk of the global IT spending. For Cognizant, North America contributed over 78 per cent of its December quarter revenues.