- IT recruiting in the US has become overrun with Indian recruitment agencies.
- Trust is declining to the degree that it is reducing the overall IT contract market.
Introduction to Indian Recruiters
The rise of Indian recruitment agencies into the US and European IT markets has led to significant dislocations for domestic IT workers. Indian companies which primarily employ Indians in the US and Indians working in India who do not have the right to work in the US market., They are changing everything from rates to terms and conditions in contracts to refashion the IT contract market entirely around Indian ethics and labor standards. In this article, you will learn about things I have seen firsthand in the market for SAP contracting.
About Our References
See our references for this article and other articles on Indian IT recruiters at this link.
How Indian Recruiters Operate
I have been an SAP consultant/contractor for years now, and there is a change going on for a while, but it has been accelerating very quickly in just the past years. This change will have significant implications for the IT contracting market in ways that I think are not generally anticipated.
The takeover of IT recruiting by Indians has been extraordinarily fast. Indian recruiters lead any other recruiter type in how they irritate those looking for projects and their low quality of work.
The Massive Rise in Indian Recruiters
There are three types of Indian recruiters that I will discuss. They are the following:
- Indians who are US citizens who now work in recruiting.
- Indians who are in the US but not authorized to work in the US. I understand that the most significant number of people who operate this way are the wives of Indians married to men in the US under the H1B or related program.
- Indians who are based in India but who work in the US market.
The last two types are in a strange legal category. Neither of these two groups has the right to work in the recruiting market in the US, and many Indians are flouting the law on a vast scale, but on the other hand, I don’t believe that there is anyone who enforces these laws. Whether overseas Indians can somehow create a company in the US and if the wives of H1B holders generate a company under the husband’s name, I don’t need to get into this exact mechanism, as it is not where I have any insights, however, one way or another it is occurring.
This is leading to a massive increase in the number of recruiters working in the field, and an increasing number don’t have the authorization to do the work they are doing in the US.
The New Life of an IT Contractor
The changes have been quite significant. The best way to understand them is to read through them as a list.
The Proliferation of Recruiters Creates A Lot of Noise
There used to be far fewer recruiters for one specific job in the past. In the past, I would often be contacted by a single recruiter, who was US-based, and either I was either placed or not. However, I am inundated by requests and flooded by Indian recruiters specifically, while the number of “American” recruiters is beginning to decline.
The Confusing Noise Created by Indian Recruiters
|Noise Source||Noise Description|
|Indian recruiters do not do a very good job of hiding the fact that they view each consultant as more livestock than human. The lack of follow up or general respect for the consultants reduce any type of relationship building potential. It is a low trust situation, which the Indian recruiters seem to view as a numbers game.|
|Indian recruiters lie just as naturally as breathing. If one does not obtain interest from the client, or if the role is filled, in most cases the Indian recruiters will never get back to the consultant, so the consultant is kept off-balance as to what the progress is of the role. When asked what the status is, the Indian recruiters will state what happened, but then say "don't worry I will find you the perfect role," and then you may never hear from them again.|
|This is highly confusing especially when so many of these recruiters now often hold out the client name until the last possible moment. This means when a new role hits if the two roles are in the same state, one has to ask for more specifics to not get submitted twice for the same role.|
|The majority of Indian recruiters have far less of an understanding of the roles than do the domestic recruiters.|
|The majority of Indian recruiters do not speak or write English properly. This means that in addition to all of the extra noise, the noise is extra noisy because of communication issues that are due to the lack of language skills on the part of the Indian recruiters. Most of the correspondence have very few details about the role.|
|I now have a hard time keeping the recruiter contacts straight. I have an email inbox filled with names I can't pronounce, with company names that all seem to be some derivation of "BizTechSysInfoIT."|
|The increase in correspondence means that there are now many recruiters for a single consulting role.|
The Decline in Recruiting Quality As Indians Have Taken Over The US IT Market
The fact is, these items existed to a degree before the rise in Indian recruiters. There have, for example, always been recruiters who are new and did not know certain things, but the growth of Indian recruiters has massively reduced the quality of IT recruiting.
Problem #1: Indian Recruiters Offer Lower Rates for the Same Jobs Versus Other Recruiters
I have performed a direct comparison through some projects for over a year now, and the rates are lower when the recruiter is Indian is smaller 100% of the time. I can confidently say this because I compared the American recruiter versus the Indian recruiter for the same projects.
I have kept a record of these projects, and I found when the recruiter is Indian, the rates are, on average, 17% less. And the rate reduction goes beyond this as the Indian recruiters seem to have a depressing effect on contract rates generally, which are right now roughly 30% off of their average level.
Why is this?
The story is inconsistent in that the “client will only pay a certain” amount, but when I check through other sources, the rate being paid to the consulting company is the same. However, the math gets a bit more tenuous because the exact rate paid to the consulting company is an estimate on my part. But the percentage the consultant receives from the project is roughly 37% of what the customer is paying the consulting company.
- This is, I believe, a historically high percentage of the total paid, which means that the recruiters, specifically the Indian recruiters, are absorbing more of the overall rate.
- This is particularly strange when considering how low the costs are incurred by offshore Indians (where $10,000 goes a long way).
- The Indian recruiters are incredibly consistent on the rates they offer. And they always keep more of the rate for themselves.
Problem #2: Indian Recruiters Hide Their Location
Recruiters working in India attempt to hide their origin by having a US number that calls my phone. However, what gives them away is the fact that the Indian-based recruiters’ English skills are significantly different from US-based Indians. You would not speak English that poorly if you had to live in the US.
Secondly, the voice quality is very low because they use a VOIP service, as calling from a cell phone from India to the US would be quite expensive. Combining the accent/English skills with the poor quality voice of VOIP makes it very difficult to communicate with them. Some of these conversations are ridiculous, with the person stating their name, stating the SAP module, and then asking me if I am interested. This is why I started asking them to send the requisition through email, which I tend to ignore.
The Indian’s location, their name, their intention, what the client told them, there is nothing Indians won’t lie about.
Problem #3: Indians Are Prenaturally Terrible at Recruiting in the US or European Market
The average quality of service of an Indian recruiter based in India is very low. The vast majority of Indian-based recruiters cannot develop relationships with US IT consultants; there is no ability to understand the consultant beyond them going through a checklist of skills. Instead, they robotically work down a list of questions and then ensure that the rate that they obtain is the absolute lowest possible. Interacting with an Indian recruiter is an entirely different experience from many domestic recruiters, where I feel like I am having a real conversation.
Although, this might be a good time to bring up that some of my discussions with recruiters from the UK, who have significantly declined in the US market, also tended to have a very similar extractive feel to them.
As Indian recruiters are so bad at their job, it brings up how Indians have come to dominate the US IT recruiting market.
The Stark Value Differences Between Indians and the People Raised in the US or Europe
Many Indians are treated terribly by other Indians, and unless you are part of the privileged classes, it is simply accepted. The Indian labor system encourages abuse, as is covered in the article How the Awful and Abusive Indian Employment System Works, and India has made virtually no social progress since they received independence in 1947. Indians think of how they can benefit from any situation, and they never think of how they can personally make a situation better. They are trained to think this way from a young age. Indians want to enforce their terrible systems in the countries to which they immigrate, as covered in the article How Indians Have Instituted The Indian Caste System In US Workplaces.
The US has a conception of the worker as an essential component of production, India by in large, does not. The US had, at one time, much stronger unions (now down to roughly 12%).
India never had this.
Those who would like to paper over this fact will point to India’s labor laws, with 50 national laws protecting labor and more state laws. However, these laws are not well-respected by international labor bodies, and secondly, few laws in India are enforced.
The upshot of all this is that the Indian culture is for the person with the “gold” to be primary; it is considered ethical to get whatever can be taken from labor. Any person negotiating with an Indian recruiter, rates, or other contractual details needs to understand this background. Indians in India prefer not to work for Indian companies but instead, choose to work for the US or European multinationals where they can be treated more fairly. However, as they take over those companies, they bring their abusive and discriminatory practices.
Trying To Get the Full Story from an Indian Recruiter
I never feel that I am getting the full story with Indian recruiters. I received an email from an Indian recruiter recently about a project in San Diego. I told him my rate, and he said
“we could talk about the rate,”
which translates into
“I can’t meet your rate but I will negotiate you down after you have invested time in discussing the role with me.”
Once I got on the phone with him, he told me
“You realize this is a contract to hire position?”
I have no idea why I should have realized that fact, as it was never stated in our email communications.
Perhaps this recruiter believed that I had an extrasensory perception. I went back to double-check our emails, and as I had initially thought, there was no mention of “contract-to-hire” in the emails. I reject contract-to-hire positions when I receive the email, so I would be surprised if it had gotten past me.
After reviewing the email, I told him I would not be interested in the role and that he had left this information out of our email communication, waiting to spring the info on me during a call. I told him to either communicate honestly or to stop emailing me. He never responded to the email. This is very typically Indian. Once they are exposed, they disappear.
Does it Make Any Sense to Respond to Indian Recruiters?
I have stopped responding to Indian recruiters due to the reasons listed above.
- First, the trust is not there because I don’t feel comfortable negotiating with Indians.
- Secondly, I never feel as if I am getting a straight story.
- Thirdly I have never actually run into an Indian recruiter that was any good at the job. This may sound harsh, but if I were to try to work in recruiting in, say, Russia, where Russian was my second language and where I did not understand the cultural norms and could not communicate appropriately with candidates (and where I was also trying to cheat them). I think others would be right in dismissing me as unqualified to do the job. I have wasted plenty of hours talking to Indian recruiters and even explaining solutions.
Therefore, my viewpoint has been shaped by real experiences and remarkably consistent experiences.
When I point out ethical and communication issues with Indian recruiters, this is not a small sample, and this does not apply to some of them…it applies to everyone that I have worked with. This is why I recommend to other independent consultants to ignore emails from Indian recruiters and for Indians to get out of recruiting and move into jobs where they have a better fit between the skills they offer and the demands of the situation.
What the Future Holds For The IT Contracting With It Being Taken Over By Low Quality Indian Recruiters
The rise of Indian recruiters means that it is much more of a hassle, with more miscommunication issues lower pay than the contracting market I entered years ago. It means the US and Europe have subordinated the interests of their domestic IT workers to the desires and interests of recent Indian immigrants and to Indians who are back in India.
Trust is declining the SAP contracting marketplace, and I see several outcomes from this change, which has been genuinely breathtaking regarding how quickly it has occurred:
- Many older contractors will exit their profession early.
- Many contractors will exit the market, opting for full-time employment. This is due to a combination of the hassle of dealing with recruiters who are now so numerous and are challenging to communicate with, combined with the fact that the rates offered by Indian recruiters now make full-time employment attractive again.
- Clients will be more incentivized to hire full-time employees as the contract market will become filled with less experienced consultants.
Therefore, my prediction is that the contract market will change in a bad way for all of the pre-existing parties. This is entirely because Indians were allowed into the US.
The rise and takeover of the US IT recruiting market by Indians has been terrible for US workers. Indians are corrupt and aggressively push the placement of Indians over the domestic population, leading to domestic IT workers having to leave their profession. It also illustrates that even though Indians can be terrible at doing something (recruiting), they can still take over that area through force of numbers, cheating, and degrading labor standards.