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Indian techies pull down UK wages

Indian tech workers, undercutting local wages, are giving hard times to trade unions in the UK, writes Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2006 01:35 IST

Outsourcing to India is not the only worry for trade unions here. Their other worry now is that Indian technology workers, flooding the UK on temporary permits, are undercutting local wages and raising the prospect of a shortage of home-grown skills.

The Association for Technology Staffing Companies (ATSCo) said salaries for certain information technology workers had fallen in recent months. Its chief executive was quoted as saying, "Wages are being undercut by companies bringing over Indian workers, who are put up in hostels and paid poorly."

Of more than 21,000 foreign IT workers who were issued work permits in 2005, 85 per cent were from India. A pay monitoring firm studied salaries and found that an experienced software programmer in India received £6,600 a year compared with £33,000 for his counterpart in the UK. But £6,600 is approximately equivalent to Rs 520,000, which is a major jump from what an IT worker can expect in India.

After deducting their travel, permits and living expenses, the Indian workers are "charged out to clients at around half the rate asked for a similarly home-grown IT expert (£350 a day against £650)".

ATSCo's research shows that the "commoditisation" of IT services has reduced average salaries for permanent IT helpdesk workers by three per cent this year to £17,538 and for temporary workers by 25 per cent to £12 an hour.

First Published: Jan 02, 2006 00:56 IST