Installed base of R&D talent pool in India continues to increase, though at a slower pace due to the global economic meltdown

Our study titled “India R&D Talent Pool” brings to light the kind of impact that the current economic recession has had on the talent pool in India and what has been the upside of it. Specifics of the kind of talent pool of the MNC R&D fraternity, in addition to that of Indian service providers, have been covered in great detail.

Owing to the large presence of MNCs in India, the installed base of talent pool continues to increase, though at a slower pace due to the global economic meltdown. Currently the MNC R&D talent pool in India stands at 1,73,000 and is expected to grow to 2,84,000 by 2015. The growth rate of the total R&D talent pool has surely seen a dip from 10 percent last year to 8 percent this year. While the talent numbers have gone up from 1,60,000 in 2008 to 1,73,000 in 2009, the relative growth has been slow and would continue at 8 percent for 2010, thereby reaching a mark of 1,87,000.

This huge base of talent pool is split across five key destinations, namely Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, NCR and others, of which Bangalore continues to lead in terms of the total talent pool availability.

Software, Telecom, Semiconductor and Electronic Equipments are the key verticals in terms of MNC R&D talent pool availability in India. Out of the total number of 1,73,000, software companies employ approximately 48 percent of the talent, while Telecom and Semiconductor firms are the next big employers  with 12 to 13 percent of the R&D employees. Sustenance and Quality Assurance (QA) testing are still the key focus areas for majority of MNC R&D centers in India.

The presence of some of the large service providers in the country also adds to the product engineering talent pool. With 37 percent of the R&D offshoring market in India being captured by vendors, the total pool of R&D Talent of Indian Service Providers for 2009 stands at 85,000. Telecom and Software are indeed the largest verticals being served by the service providers’ community in India.

R&D talent pool supply comprises varied components like migrations from other industries, software professional returnees and fresh engineering graduates. India still continues to produce a significant number of fresh engineers who are available to work for all MNC R&D centers. In addition to this, migrations from service providers and India software product businesses are the other two potential streams to access talent.

The majority of talent migrating from the service providers to MNC subsidiaries is towards the Quality and Maintenance teams; while talent from domestic product companies is better skilled thus can be employed in various complex functions of the value chain. With the slowdown in developed geographies, the talent is expected to continue to migrate from these locations to growth markets such as India and China

Despite availability, R&D centers have not been able to attract the right set of talent and hence, certain practices need to be followed to be able to do so. Aspects like talent pool mapping, transitioning global talent, effective training, building technical talent, tapping service providers talent and leveraging university partnerships, should be looked into in greater detail.

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