One thing he mentioned made me think. He told me that in his company, they want to hire the people that live and breathe technology, people who are always playing with their pc, in the evenings, weekends, always. And always try to learn new technologies, because they have an in-built curiosity for new technology. With such people on board, you will build great products.
Then we arrived at discussing India. I told him that in India, the whole country breathes IT. IT is believed to be the main industry to put India on the map in the decades to come. This leads families to put all their savings apart just to get their children on one of the IT universities. The Indian government has stimulated this since the 90′s and this results in the massive amounts of IT specialists that India produces every year. Now the question is: if your family motivates you to start working as a programmer to bring prosperity to the family, will you become the real technology enthusiast most companies would love to have?
In the Netherlands, there are only about 2000 IT graduates per year, because most people don’t choose a technnical path in their lives. But those people must be intrinsically motivated to choose that path. The same is true for many countries in the rest of Western Europe and also Eastern Europe. The former Soviet Union stimulated people to go for a technological education but for different motives. The past decade, the IT industries in Eastern Europe have grown substantially following the success of outsourcing to India. The role of government in for example Ukraine, is less articulate in motivating people to follow a technical education as far as I know. I do not know to what extent Eastern European families put all their savings into the IT education of their children, but from what I know, this is less so than in India.
I believe that there are more differences between Eastern European and Indian people that we could identify. I prefer to abstain from generalisations, because I don’t find them very practical in my daily work. Nevertheless: what I frequently hear is that people in Eastern Europe are in general more pro- active than people in India.
My experience is that the root cause here is culturally defined. People in Ukraine are more comfortable speaking up, sharing what’s on their mind. They may sometimes even be blunt and tell things straight into your face (even as a Dutch version I am sometimes impressed by this!). Indian people have two cultural traits that prevent them from appearing pro-active: they are used to hierarchy. You need to agree with your boss and you don’t easily speak up against something he tells you. Second, they are not used to openness. People don’t easily share what’s on their mind and they won’t tell things straight, but either don’t mention it or find a way to communicate something indirectly.
In conclusion, there is abundance in very smart and motivated IT people in India. And the same for Eastern Europe, where you could also find people that are not as motivated and ‘IT-fanatical’ as you would hope. And then there are differences that one could define based on the culture. We can generalize particular behavior and conclude that this must be true for all 1.2 billion Indians. My personal view is that it matters most with whom you work. And also in what type of company someone works, for the culture of the company also has an impact on how people behave.
About the author: Hugo Messer has been building and managing teams around the world for over 7 years. His passion is to enable people that are spread across cultures, geography and time zones to cooperate. Whether it’s offshoring or nearshoring, he knows what it takes to make a global cooperation work. To get to know more about Hugo, check out his website http://www.hugomesser.com, you can also read some blog articles on www.bridge-outsourcing.com or watch some videos at www.hugomesser.com/videos
Picture: Bridge Global IT Staffing
This article was published in the Special Edition of The Outsourcing Journal, “CEE – A Colorful BPO and ITO services Landscape”. You can download this issue here free of charge (85 pages, pdf) http://www.outsourcing-journal.org/Outsourcing_CEE_2013/index.html