Infosys, which earned 28 per cent of its revenues from the European Union in the year ended March 31, 2008, plans to expand its sales and marketing offices and hire more people in Europe. The Bangalore-based company will also post more employees at customer sites in Europe seeking to win more orders and eventually shift a part of the work to India.
"Europe had been slow in terms of adopting offshoring, where as the US is a much advanced market. Now slowly Europe is opening up. It is a great market; especially the UK is a big market for us. But we have some additional concerns like language, and others which we have to handle. We need to have front-end there," V Balakrishnan, chief financial officer of the company told shareholders.
Infosys has a workforce of over 91,000 employees from 70 nationalities working in over 90 countries. During 2007-08, the company recruited a record 33,177 people against its projected hiring plans for 25,000. The software developer is seriously looking at the new kind of Visa which is in the process of getting approved. Under this, people from countries outside of Europe can go on a short-term work to European countries.
Unlike the US, Infosys does not have good front-end capabilities in most of the European countries except in the UK and certain parts of Eastern Europe.
European market which is dominated by diverse language speaking countries is a concern for most of the offshore IT services companies. Besides, the offshoring norms in most European nations differ from country to country due to tight regulatory norms on data security. "Markets are rapidly globalising with the reduction of barriers to trade. We are encouraged by the European Union's move to open up their market to the movement of natural persons by creating new visa types that will enable the freer flow of top talent," said N R Narayana Murthy, chairman and chief mentor of Infosys Technologies.
It is understood that the draft for the new visa types has already been proposed, and it may take one to two years till it is approved. As a part of its initiatives to create a diverse workforce of multi-cultural, multi-ethinic origin, Infosys has started hiring students from universities all across the world.
The first batch of graduates from the UK have already been trained and inducted by the company during the last fiscal year. The company is now examining the possibilities of expanding this programme to many more countries, according to Murthy.
Murthy said, "As corporations grow and globalise, I am convinced that the greatest challenge they will face will be the creation of a diverse workforce."
For fiscal 2008, Infosys has rewarded its shareholders with a special dividend of Rs 20 per share (400 per cent on Rs 5 per share) for crossing $1 billion in net income under the US accounting practice.