The Financial Times reports that the French services company Cap Gemini now has 21,000 employees in India compared to 20,000 in its home country of France. Hiring in India is not new to multinationals. Siemens, General Electric, Hyundai, Samsung, Haier, Unilever, Citi group, Hewlett Packard, and many more companies have been hiring thousands of employees in major cities across the Indian subcontnent for several years.
But one company is ahead of all of them. IBM Corporation has close to 100,000 employees in Bangalore, Gurgaon, Kolkata and locations across the country. A senior VP at EDS (now part of HP), told me that they used to lose employees to IBM, with whom they shared a building at one time, over smoking or snack breaks. In 2001 IBM employed under 3,000 staffers in India. In fact my first employer in India built a factory on land that IBM had bought then discarded when they quit the country back in 1978. What a change! IBM is already India’s largest multinational by headcount and India is already the second largest IBM country by headcount.
The day is not far when the Armonk giant will have more employ more in South Asia than in North America. We could see similar stories with General Electric, if you count their now minority holding of the call center/BPO business. Accenture’s hiring in India continues to increase. And there are more companies that will follow, giving a new meaning to a mutlinational corporation. But companies like Phillips, Danfoss, Shell and others have employed more outside their home country for decades. What is new is that the large employment is now in an emerging country.