Indian programmers called into service

British companies are increasingly turning to Indian software engineers in a bid to overcome severe skills shortages. India’s biggest software house, Tata Consultancy Services, with 8,000 engineers, has reported a dramatic upturn in contracts with British companies over the past 12 months – part of a global trend that has seen annual growth at TCS […]

British companies are increasingly turning to Indian software engineers in a bid to overcome severe skills shortages.

India’s biggest software house, Tata Consultancy Services, with 8,000 engineers, has reported a dramatic upturn in contracts with British companies over the past 12 months – part of a global trend that has seen annual growth at TCS reach 30% for the past three years.

The surge in demand comes as companies worldwide struggle to eradicate the millennium bug, and the financial sector in Europe gears up for the introduction of the first wave of the single European currency.

Indian software engineers are proving attractive because of their high level of skill and their comparative cost advantages, while sending software to India via satellite links is relatively simple.

‘If we do the work in India, the cost of the infrastructure and working on the project is probably 30 to 35% cheaper than it would be if we did this work here,’ said Alok Kumar, regional manager at TCS’s London office.

TCS, part of the giant Tata conglomerate which also produces cars, trucks and steel, says it has about 50 companies on the books of its London regional office alone.