Sunday, September 16, 2007


George P. Alexander, Diversity and India

George left several comments in my blog that I thought were worthy of further exploration...

I originally asked: Where can I find EEOC numbers indicating the number of Hispanic employees in the United States employed by Wipro, Cognizant, Infosys and TCS? and he responded with Where do you usually find EEOC numbers indicating the number of Hispanic employees in the United States employed by Oracle, IBM, Yahoo, Microsoft and Google? . I guess one could always respond with another question pointing out inequality in making certain numbers public but I think at some level this misses the point. If you were to walk the corridors of the firms you mentioned, it wouldn't take that long to bump into a truly diverse culture. I can also say that in my travels along with personal networks that I know these firms employ hundreds of folks of Hispanic origin. I have yet to meet face-to-face or virtually any hispanic employees of Wipro, TCS or Cognizant that work in India. If you know of a dozen or two, please do not hesitate to introduce them to me.

I also asked: Do any of the Indian outsourcing firms have any Dalits in the senior management ranks? where he responded: Frankly, Indian IT outsourcing companies do no care whether you are a dalit, a brahmin or a millionaire as long as you do the job expected. At a senior level, if you are capable of doing the job and they're happy with you, they take you in. One could interpret from a numbers perspective that zero point zero Dalits exist in senior management ranks. The folks who stand up and say that they aren't biased tend to be the places where diversity is lacking the most.

Another question was: Do any of the Indian outsourcing firms have any women in the senior management ranks? and he responded with Offcourse, consider Kiran Mazumdar Shaw: CEO of biocon. There are a few of ladies in my company too who are on top. If you've got what it takes, no one is going to stop you. If you don't have what it takes... you know the rest of the story. I have to admit, I never heard of BioCon but I suspect that they are no where near the size of Wipro, TCS, Infosys, Cognizant and so on. If I were to read into your response, it feels as if your employer is diverse in that you have a few ladies on top but this is by no means representative of Indian outsourcing firms at large.

The most avoid question was: Do Indian outsourcing firms restrict their employees from contributing to open source on their free time? where George responded with Do they provide resources to participate? No they don't restrict. Sheash, off course not. Infact, they encourage in many ways. Our CIO had once asked our entire group to do something productive as a showcase project. The funny thing is that a showcase project doesn't feel like at any level open source? After all, open is exactly that. You didn't mention the project name nor did you mention if folks outside your firm even participated. Can we acknowledge at some level that open source requires a community and not just one company?

I wonder if George has any thoughts on which will be the first Indian outsourcing firm to establish a blogging platform that is publicly exposed for all of its employees. Kinda like Sun?

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