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Indian companies look at crisis-hit Sri Lanka, Ukraine to hire tech talent at massive discount

The price they are coming for is at a 50-65 percent discount when compared with the flared up current market price. Companies have started experimenting with the talent from these locations to deal with the tech talent war in India.

June 24, 2022 / 03:18 PM IST

A segment of India Inc is looking at crisis-hit Sri Lanka and Ukraine to hire tech talent at a massive discount.

Economic crisis in the neighbouring Sri Lanka and war-torn Ukraine are offering value for money tech talents, argue some companies and HR firms.  Some of them are available at upto one-third price of the market rate in India and its a win-win for both sides, they add.

The price these talent are coming for is at a 40 percent to 65 percent discount when compared with the flared-up current market price. Companies have started experimenting with the talent from these locations to deal with the tech talent war in India.

“Another solution for the tech talent war we have started exploring is – we have started going beyond the homogenous hiring networks. We experimented with few UI developers from Nigeria…and Sri Lanka. We also have looked at some of these developers from Ukraine also,” said Amrit Jaidka Arora, chief human resource officer at Digit Insurance, an Indian unicorn backed by Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Group.

“Because people are losing jobs. We have hired them on contract, and they are working with us at a lower cost than the same resource in India. They are operating from where they are. We have already six to seven people working for us right now, and we will continue to explore the avenues,” she told Moneycontrol.

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Indian Inc is facing a tech talent war, leading to cost escalation of talent acquisition in last one year. This segment of workforce onboarding has turned a constant worry for human resource managers and companies are exploring new avenues, including the buy or build models to deal with the situation at hand. Buy or build model largely refers to lateral vs freshers’ mode of talent acquisition.

While availability of talent, and less expensive talent from these locations is a net positive, Arora of Digit said its hiring pace will depends on how effective the delivery is. “We have initiated it in last couple of months, and if it works, why not,” she added.

RP Yadav, chairman of staffing and human resource company Genius Consultants, said the trend has started but it is largely confined to tech roles. Remote work experience and type of roles including deep tech ones are deciding companies' choice for Sri Lankan and Ukrainian talent, he added.

Sri Lanka is facing one of the worst economic crises right now, with diminishing forex reserves, huge pile of debt, inability to service debt, devaluation of currency, high inflation and a food crisis to name a few. Ukraine, on the other hand, is in the middle of a war with Russia that started four months back.

“What has happened in last one year or so is, the cost of tech talent acquisition in India has gone up by upto 300 percent. It’s because of several factors including growth of start-up ecosystem, and increasing role of technology in product and service deliveries, and its importance in the overall bottom line,” Yadav said.

“Here some companies have started and some are willing to experiment by hiring from the neighbouring Sri Lanka and Ukraine because it offers them that choice and that too at a time, when we have a shortage of key tech talents,” Yadav added.

A HR manager at an ITes firm said they are evaluating to onboard a “first tranche” of such candidates to tide over talent shortage and source talent at a normal price. And candidates are being evaluated from these crisis-ridden countries for “key tech roles including data scientists, developers, information security analysts, and cloud architect roles,” he said requesting anonymity.

"The price they are coming for is at a 50 to 65 percent discount when compared to the flared up current market price. This is not bad but almost at par with pre-pandemic 2019 kind of packages," he said.
Prashant K Nanda is an Associate Editor at Moneycontrol .
first published: Jun 24, 2022 03:18 pm
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