Unemployment seems to be coming down according to the latest government numbers, but for some big multinationals it's not easy to find qualified workers in the U.S. And that's keeping some companies, especially in the high tech space, from filling their rosters even sooner.
"We are hiring and we are continue to hire, but within our business of information technology it is hard to find qualified people," said Surya Kant, president of Indian multinational Tata Consultancy Services.
TCS is one of the world's leading back office and IT consulting firms. It's been in the U.S. for over 30 years, has around 20,000 employees in North America, and a roughly 80,000 located around the world that serve U.S., and Canadian companies. TCS competes directly with companies like IBM and Accenture for talent. It hasn't laid off any workers this year and plans on hiring another 1,200 employees in 2012, similar to what it is hoping to do before the end of their fiscal year in March.
The IT world is expanding and the skill set can often require niche expertise that is hard to find in the marketplace. Companies that are looking to build computer programs that differentiate themselves from competitors don't just need engineers; they need engineeers who might also understand the particular industry that is hiring Tata to build and manage the program.
"When we look at hiring, we see that for some skills it is very hard to find people with the skills. We have been forced to focus on high school students and work on developing science and engineering courses to get them interested in IT," said Kant. "It's not as hard to find the skills we are looking for in India. The education system there is heavily focused on science and computer engineering. That's not so here," he said.
Tata runs a tech summer camp with 65 high school students in 15 schools in Ohio and is setting up the same program, called "goIT" in Detroit and Midland, Michigan.
"Science and engineering are the backbone of IT. We need science and engineering people," he said.
Kant said the company was "optimistic" about 2012. "I see no change to our hiring needs next year. We might even need more, and the industry will need more. "