The government is once again attempting to send young Bhutanese to work for IT companies outside the country, even though an attempt earlier this year failed to take off as hoped.
Multinational IT services company, Infosys, was recently in the country conducting a recruitment drive at the request of the government. According to Rinzin Namgay Dorji, the programme manager for private sector development at the royal university of Bhutan (RUB), Infosys has shortlisted 34 graduates for potential employment with the company. RUB is still waiting for the final number. Around 100 graduates attended the interview process.
The government is not hoping for a repeat of what happened in September, when Infosys, along with Indian business processes outsourcing (BPO) company, Genpact, offered 37 Bhutanese graduates employment in India. Only 9 accepted the job offers, with most of them opting to take their chances at securing a government job instead. But, with only 8 IT jobs available in the government this year, and 126 IT graduates appearing for the civil service exams, opportunities within Bhutan are limited. That is until the IT Park is established in mid-2011, which the government estimates will directly employ 700 Bhutanese.
In response, the government adopted an awareness strategy, even bringing Genpact officials to speak directly to graduates on the opportunities available in the IT enabled services (ITES) sector. The Infosys team, which was recently in the country, also conducted an awareness workshop for high level academics in the country.
To increase the chances of graduates being selected for employment by international IT companies, RUB is also identifying 24 lecturers, who will undergo an intensive training programme in Mysore, who will then be responsible for training graduates in Bhutan on basic skills required for the ITES sector. Additionally, RUB is also identifying institutions, including in the private sector, within Bhutan to help in training graduates.
RUB’s Rinzin Namgay Dorji said that Bhutanese graduates usually lacked in the basic soft skills criteria, such as in communications. RUB hopes by creating in country trainers, such as the 24 lecturers, this gap will be filled.
“Lots of effort is going into place to raise awareness on the industry,” he said.
On the small number of graduates, who applied during the Infosys recruitment drive, Rinzin Namgay Dorji, said that RUB expected more than 400 graduates for the next drive, conducted by Genpact in January. Predicting that the civil service exams would conflict with recruiting efforts, the labour ministry scheduled Genpact’s selection process for January.
Labour ministry’s Tashi Choden, the programme officer for human resources, said that Genpact will recruit at least 50 graduates in January. She pointed out that, if more graduates qualify and pass the selection process, even more could be recruited. Genpact has signed an agreement with the government to recruit 200 gradates every year for an indefinite time period.
IT graduates told Kuensel in September that company pay and government stipend, which the labour ministry provides, is not enough to meet the high standard of living in the locations where the companies are based. Tashi Choden said that the stipend is currently being reviewed and an increase is a possibility. The labour ministry provided a monthly stipend of between Nu 6,700 and Nu 9,300, for graduates undergoing training in Infosys earlier this year.
Currently, eight Bhutanese are employed at Infosys, with another three in Genpact.