With companies seeking to boost profit by cutting costs as sales in the US and Europe slow, thousands of jobs are being created for India's low-cost engineers.

Headhunters are scrambling to fill the new jobs.

“The shelf life of a job hunter has come down to two weeks from about two months,” Gautam Sinha, chief executive at TVA Infotech, told CNN.

TVA is placing about 90 software workers a month, double the number at the start of the year.

Home-grown

Top local software exporters such as Wipro Ltd and Infosys Technologies Ltd are also on a hiring spree but the bulk of their staff additions are entry-level positions.

“Clearly, the romance of jobs overseas is no longer there for most Indian techies”

Pandia Rajan,
managing director,
Ma Foi Management Consultants

India's software sector, including the back-office services industry, added 130,000 - nearly 25% - to its workforce in the year to March, taking the total number of people employed in the sector to 650,000.

Though wage costs are rising, they do not yet threaten a nation that produces about 200,000 engineers each year, analysts say.

Software workers with two years of experience are paid about 25,000 rupees ($545) a month, about 15% of what their US counterparts earn, but a fortune in a country with an average per capita income of $480 a year.

“Multinational company salaries are 50 to 60% higher at the entry-level and 30 percent higher at the middle management level when compared with Indian IT services companies,” Bombay-based Kotak Securities Ltd said in a recent report.

Visa cuts

A reduction in US employment visas for foreign workers is helping drive expansion at high-tech firms such as IBM, Accenture Ltd and Oracle Corp. in India.

“Clearly, the romance of jobs overseas is no longer there for most Indian techies,” said Pandia Rajan, the managing director at Ma Foi Management Consultants, a leading headhunter.

Walk-in interviews are common in the shining offices of companies in the technology hubs of Bangalore, Madras and Hyderabad in the south and Delhi and Bombay in the west.

India's call centres have also been magnets for job-hunting youth in the past few years. The boom in software jobs has only really happened in the past six months.

“Many Indians overseas are uncertain about their tech jobs and are coming back”

Smita Goswamy,
HR Solutions

Export growth

India's software services exports rose to $9.5 billion in the past year to March and are forecast to grow 26% this year.

“Many Indians overseas are uncertain about their tech jobs and are coming back,” said Smita Goswamy, who runs HR Solutions, a small consultancy in the western city of Baroda.

Internet media giant Yahoo Inc and Fidelity Investments, the number one mutual fund firm, are among other large companies moving technical support work to India.

Accenture and Oracle are expanding rapidly, but their staff in India is still less than a quarter of Infosys and Wipro, which employ about 17,000 and 21,000 people respectively.