Information technology giant Cognizant has decided to increase local hiring in the United States, PTI reported on Friday. It is expected to “significantly” ramp up headcount in the US in a bid to appease the Donald Trump administration that has been critical of outsourcing firms for unfairly taking jobs away from Americans. While the company is hiring more locals, it is also consciously reducing its dependence on H-1B visas, Chief Executive Office Francisco D’Souza said.
The Nasdaq-listed tech services major said it would look at talent across local community colleges to big management universities to man different projects in the US, reported Business Standard. Last month, when the US Citizenship and Immigration Services opened the window for applications, the company applied for “less than half” the number of H-1B visas it had sought last year.
Cognizant President Rajeev Mehta said the company will hire experienced professionals in the open market as well as make more use of university, veteran, and related programmes. He attributed the shift to be “largely in response to clients’ increasing need for co-innovation and co-location”.
“We are evolving our workforce and delivery in the United States. Cognizant hired 4,000 US citizens in 2016, and in 2017 and beyond, we expect to significantly ramp up our US-based workforce by hiring experienced professionals...But we still seek visas for highly-specialised and skilled talent,” Mehta added.
North America accounts for about 78% of Cognizant’s revenues, followed by Europe at about 16%.
Indian software major Infosys had earlier announced its plans to expand local hiring in the US, saying the company will employ 10,000 American workers over the next two years. “In the fast-changing world of today, we need the ability to be local. We need to be trusted by our customers as being local,” Chief Executive Officer Vishal Sikka had said.
Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services and Cognizant have been accused by US President Trump’s government of taking away jobs from American professionals. Trump had signed an executive order – dubbed the “Buy American, Hire American” order – in April to introduce changes to the H-1B visa policy used by companies to hire foreigners for high-skilled jobs.