- Nearly all IT media covers the Indian IT issue from a sanitized highly one sides perspective.
- This is an in-depth interview with a person who faced the Indian IT issue.
Most of the narrative about Indians in IT is entirely from the perspective of Indians who need to leave India to improve their lives. What is left out is the perspective of the US domestic worker.
The Issue with Eroding Meritocracy
Question #1: Why did you want to have an interview with brightwork research?
I have always believed in meritocracy and want to promote it. I see brightwork research as a light in the otherwise dark world of I.T. credibility.
Whenever I would hear about a professional athlete like Lance Armstrong cheating it would make me upset. Part of the human condition is to strive for improvement and cheating undermines this. People may see success of cheaters and get the wrong idea of how that success is achieved. Those that are not cheating get fewer rewards and recognition, eventually everything falls apart. An honest athlete is a fool to compete and doesn’t. In the cycling world cheating results in less spectators, fewer sponsors, and less revenue. In the business world you have a failed business with both the innocent and guilty being hurt.
I feel what is happening in the I.T. workplace is an insidious form of cheating that affects more than is realized by most. It results in the pre-mature demise of an organization. I hope in this interview what I am going to detail will help the innocent. That those that are contributing the most are recognized the most. In this way an organization can also maximize its potential by not enabling cheaters.
Question #2: How about how it has directly affected you?
It affects me directly as I work in the I.T. world. But really, I do believe we are all in this world together. Without meritocracy it all breaks down. No question in my mind that failed recognition for value an employee or consultant contributes is at the heart of discontent in organizations. It is what makes a culture toxic. Nobody wants to work in a toxic culture. Companies cannot exist for long with a toxic culture.
Question #3: So who in your view is cheating in the workplace?
Some, but as a group Indians (South Asians) are cheating the most. It only takes one cheater like Lance Armstrong to have a profound effect.
Question #4: Could you provide some details?
80% of H1-B visas go to Indian nationals. For this to be justified it would suggest that 80% of the I.T. talent in the world outside of USA is from India. All things being equal, if I flip a coin 100 times and 80 times it is heads and 20 times it is tails you would question whether the coin is biased. It is possible to have this outcome but highly unlikely. If I do this 10 times in a row it is even less likely. With India all things are not equal. In fact, India as a country is full of shortcomings and doesn’t have an advantage over other countries. If anything the bias should be in the opposite direction.
There was another case of Indian cheating reported two days ago. An Indian national was caught after processing tens of thousands of H1 visas applications between 2011 and 2016 illegally. Just type in Indian H-1B fraud in google and there are several reported cases like this. However, the cheating is much more insidious and widespread than what is found easily online.
Question #5: So what do you think is really going on?
Indians are disproportionately promoting Indians to enter America and work in I.T. capacities for financial and social gain. Further, American I.T. visas are being used as a form of refugee program, not a merit-based program.
Two primary motivations:
Financial opportunity in America. India is a third world country with an average GDP of $2000 per person. For comparison Mexico has an average GDP of $8000 per person.
Political turmoil as India is struggling to keep its people happy. Large population with limited resources, pollution, political corruption, and high crime. The country is crumbling under the weight of providing basics like clean water.
Question #6: This explains the immigration flood, but Indians have to prove they are highly skilled to work in America?
Nope they do not. This is key to how the cheating happens. The ones that decide who is “highly skilled” are the companies that do the hiring. There is no vetting by immigration nor is immigration staff qualified to do it. Government Immigration programs have basic criteria such as an applicant must have a degree and that is it. The “highly skilled” is just what someone in the companies hiring them have to say in a letter.
In addition, Government Immigration programs looking at India degrees is not valid. The Indian education level is not the same as many western countries. For example a bachelor degree is 3 years. Even Stanford does not consider Indian degrees at face value anymore. Standford more heavily scrutinize foreign degrees from India now because of the lower quality and abuse.
Actually, at no point in the citizenship process is there a test for “highly skilled”. The whole process from H1-B, greencard and citizenship can all happened because someone in the employing company said someone they want to hire was “highly skilled”. The lawyers, most willingly, do the rest with the paperwork.
Keep in mind that the visa programs have quotas that fill up. So the more Indians in the queue the less from other countries get in.
Question #7: Why do you think this is not a higher profile issue?
Upon saying “Indian” the first thing some people will respond with is that you are a racist. I am saying “Indian” because they are the ones monopolizing the visa process. The irony of this view is that those same individuals crying racism want to forget about the caste system of India. The Indian caste system is by definition racist. No other country has such a prejudiced system accepted and perpetuated by its citizens. Caste like discrimination is now being practiced in American companies by Indians. I am pointing out the obvious.
There are many benefitting from the current immigration process that do not want others to put two and two together. The ones that are benefitting the most are Indians already in America. Companies for the most part are just unwitting accomplices. They don’t realize the extent of damage from Indian cheaters. Immigration lawyers benefit and try to keep the flow going also.
The Indian lobby group NASSCOM is behind a good deal of concealment of what is happening.
Question #8: Who are various entities working together to enable this?
For those in the I.T. community what has allowed for disproportionate Indian representation in the workplace is not their merit but the likelihood that Indians will promote and hire other Indians. You can believe that 80% of the best I.T. talent in the world is from India if you want to live in an alternate universe but in this universe, it is not the case. Remember I mentioned the “someone” making the decision about “highly skilled” in a company – that’s them. Family members and financial gain from indentured servitude top the list of who is accepted in accordance with their caste system values. Further, as more Indians move into management the Indian managers have accelerated hiring from India. This of course happens with the displacement of other nationalities and native Americans. It is how you get work environments with 70% and higher Indian resources in corporate departments.
The toxic work environment that Indians create for other nationalities is also part of the strategy. If a non-Indian leaves it opens a spot for another Indian. Again, if non-Indians bring attention to the obvious discrimination against non-Indians they are labelled as racist.
Question #9: What about the argument that US domestic workers cannot do these jobs?
This is what Indians and others benefitting from cheating like to say. The education system in India is not good. IIT which is touted as the best school system and the very best of the IIT schools is rated less than 170th in the world today. Things are getting worse with the rankings from the previous year. Things are getting worse. There are many other shortcomings like English being a second language. Most believe that Indians all speak English but only about 10% in India can speak it conversationally. The other thing to consider is that for the most part technology jobs can be done remotely, and offshore outsourcing has been a viable option for some time. Just as the case of Disney a long time ago where they had Indians sit beside existing American employees to train them as replacements (Disney regretted this decision). Bottom line, Indian cheaters are coming to America to try to learn I.T. skills while in America companies. This is crazy because there are qualified people in America that can more than fill the demand.
What is true is nobody wants to work in a highly Indianized company environment. This is saying a lot because the majority of the jobs are 200k plus. Beside the Indians cheating on qualifications there are massive cultural differences such as different primary language, different religion, different recreational pursuits, different food preferences, different observed customs like fasting for one month a year (which means you are working with zombies and expected to take up the slack during this time). It all adds up to toxic work environment.
But the worst part of the toxic work environment is where Indians are trying to compel non-Indians to quit to fill your spot with another Indian. It really is a no fun toxic environment. Those underneath you do not complete tasks, your piers take credit for your work, those above you push disproportionate activities to complete with no recognition. It is a no-win game because of the cheaters.
Question #11: Do you see this as the fault of Indians or of companies?
The companies that allow themselves to be Indianized with cheaters do have some blame. But the profit/greed bottom line motive it is not the reason. As mentioned before these are high paying jobs whether an Indian or non-Indian has them.
Where the management is to blame is that the leadership does not have the technical background or oversite to understand that they are hiring and condoning cheaters. In addition, I found many managers financially benefitting from external companies they have a relationship with who supply Indian resources. Finally, many senior leaders, who typically stay at a company 3 years or less really don’t care much to figure it all out and they are long gone before the company has an early demise. Of course, some of the senior leaders now are Indian.
Indians can get away with cheating because the people who know they are cheating are not allowed to say it. The non-cheating doers just carry on and hope to leave/retire as soon as they can. The corporation will experience a slow demise due to lack of productivity and incompetence. The leadership will rationalize that all good things come to an end.
As to the narrative that Indians are just the innocent victims going along with the system is false. The doctors who gave Lance Armstrong the drugs are not the ones getting fame and fortune. Indian cheaters are themselves the main beneficiaries as they are incompetent resources who fool companies into hiring them which hurt others productivity and reduces organization success.
Question #12: Can you provide some examples?
Besides not being “highly skilled” it is common for Indian cheaters to hire non-technical relatives (wives, brother, cousin) and have one Indian pretend to do their work and thus collect multiple paychecks. I encountered Indians who were supposed to be working on a project but were attending a conference at the same time I was. One Indian cheater had been subcontracting his work to a team in India for years. The worst though is when they share each other’s credentials. One Indian may get a valid visa & SS and let another use it for employment. So much inefficiency, errors and kickbacks of some sort everywhere. The favorite thing an Indian cheater would say was that they were not told something, so it was a communication problem instead of them not knowing what they were doing. There is a direct correlation between being not qualified and good at excuses. Unsavvy management would allocate more time and effort for “better communication”. This was not the problem.
Question #13: Company examples?
Oh, IBM is one. IBM is mostly Indian now and has gone from being the most respected technology company in the world to a tiny shadow of its former self. ebay is another.
Typically, it is the large companies that get infiltrated with Indian cheaters. This is important to mention. In smaller non-Indian owned companies, it is more difficult to get a foothold. Indian cheaters cannot hide as easily and are found out relatively quickly in small companies as people interact more and the full picture of what is going is evident. Indian cheaters must rely on others to carry the slack and this is usually only possible in large companies where other employees can be taken advantage of.
Question #14: IBM’s decline has been covered such as in the book The Decline and Fall of IBM, however, is eBay’s decline has been less covered. How is faltering?
eBay’s current P/E ratio of 8 is pretty low for an established tech compay. I was part of a development team that built a stock trading and analysis system for Wachovia Bank (acquired by Wells Fargo) so you are getting a somewhat informed opinion on this. It gets a little complicated and there are more factors to consider but you could argue that ebay’s P/E ratio is the markets assessment of the potential for eBay to disrupt its market at a particular point in time. So few people in the stock market think ebay has much disruptive potential compared to other companies at the same time (for comparison amazon has a P/E ratio of over 100 right now compared to ebay’s 8).
Question #15: How much do you allocate this issue to eBay’s management?
For sure management is at fault. There is fault at all levels of the organization not just the technical level. It is a chicken and egg thing too. Actually, it is better for an Indian cheater to get into management as there is more dilution of responsibility and of course hiring discrimination opportunities.
A while back when I worked at eBay supporting their SAP environments I wondered how senior management was unaware of the serious issues but found that they were aware. I attended an all hands meeting with John Donahoe who was CEO of eBay. John’s main message was that things could not continue this way. You needed to challenge your managers he said. John was intimately aware of the poor performance of eBay. His passionate speech was pointing fingers in the direction of those that needed to change he just turned a blind eye to the obvious.
Boldened by John’s call to action, I started to call people out at eBay and they really didn’t like it. I was told even by higher management that I was the problem even though I was going above and beyond to improve the working environment. Hurt my feelings they didn’t notice the smiley photos on the cubicles I had put up to build a sense of team (which I did) 😊 Regardless the reaction of eBay was to hire new Indian “managers” and have me report to one of them. Oh, the irony, I was hindered at every step.
I had already initiated an ambitious infrastructure project which would expose the cheaters. The plan involved setting up a whole new datacenter which would force developers and managers to have accountability. It would be evident who was cheating because they have everything they need to go fast. The new project would prevent the cheaters from hiding as easily with clear tracking capability of who is doing what. Further, it would also allow eBay to develop their own cloud services for its customers just like Amazon.
I as soon as my new SAP infrastructure was fully completed, I left. The project was included in the SAP Sapphire keynote (25k plus attendees) and I was asked to be a panel speaker there. Despite the industry recognition and immediate operational capability, the recently hired Indian “manager” cheaters communicated the system needed additional things before releasing it to the business. They used this time to hire 13 others to try to figure it out. From what I understand they received “god like” praise from the business when they finally let the business use parts of what they had held back from them from the beginning. Over time they slowly enabled additional minor capabilities and continued to be rewarded for what others had already completed. This is the cheaters way.
The major capabilities of the infrastructure delivered was never utilized or promoted. It was capable of a “pre-docker like” container enabled environment, continuous development/integration for any software including SAP products. Most important it was a cookie-cutter template to build out eBay’s own cloud services for customers. It was designed to easily integrate any outside customer systems. If it could provide a safe secure way to test eBay SAP production, it certainly could provide the necessary controls and protection for outside business systems also. This would have been huge for eBay.
I would go as far as saying what could have been was the biggest lost opportunity in eBay history. I had put together the right teams and relationships required both internal and external to deliver on an eBay cloud. I had worked for HP before setting up systems for external customers. I was not guessing at the potential of the platform I put in place at eBay. Instead eBay hired and gave credit to several people who didn’t do what they said they did and would continue to hold back the company going forward in the future. The insidious nature of cheaters.
My disappointment of what could have been was rooted in a conversation I had with the CIO well before the project was ever started. I stated that it was my intention to make something better than what Amazon was doing. His response was, “if your enemy is going the wrong way you don’t tell them”. My intention was to show him something really great, the right way was this way, and this never happened.
Question #16: What would you say to those that still don’t get it?
First, we are talking about millions of displaced American workers over the years. This is no small thing. A cheater will defend their actions to the end. Lance Armstrong, was guilty and threatened to end others careers to defend his cheating.
For those that are in the industry and have worked in Indianized cheater shops the negative impact is profound. At the very least, good people leave, and company success is held back. At worst companies fail over time. Helping Indians cheat by allowing massive immigration and employment abuse is not helping anyone but the cheaters. Organizations suffer greatly over time. No, cheating is not something that can be tolerated and is fixable.
Some who read this will say that everybody cheats like Lance Armstrong. I disagree, cheating in sports is serious and undermines everything. Cheating in I.T. is more serious. In extreme cases I.T. incompetence can kill people whether it is medical systems or the Boeing 737 software mistakes. Again, just one cheater like Lance can have devastating effects.
For those virtue signalers. India is a third world country with many problems. They have 21 of 30 most polluted cities, GDP of ¼ that of Mexico, massive government corruption, poor education system, most dangerous country in the world for women to name a few. If America is really getting the “best” from India then we are also hurting the country by taking away those people that can make India better. If we are not getting their best we are bringing the negatives of India into America workplaces. There is nothing virtuous about this.
On contextual issue is the magnitude of this problem. If the issue above applied to a small number of Indian workers then it would be potentially manageable — however, the numbers of Indians both in the US and planning to move to the US in the future are extremely high.
We cover in the article How the H1-B Program Understates The True Number of Yearly H1-B Visas, the number of foreign workers coming into the US is inaccurately communicated by establishment media.
In total it appears that roughly 300,000 people per year are coming into the US on the various foreign worker visa programs. And one of the presentations by the H1-B lobby is that these annual 300,000 workers (which of course they never enumerate beyond listing the far lower “cap” numbers) being imported on a yearly basis have no impact on the wages or bargaining position of US domestic workers.
This interview brings up the topic of if Indians were removed from companies if the companies wouldn’t function much better. Indians generally cannot run the companies by themselves. They need non-Indians to do it.
<p”>only has Americans and it is a highly innovative company. What should be tracked is what happens to companies that hire large numbers of Indians, and those that do not.
When HR professionals exercise, they often exercise together also.