Qwest still hiring India staff
Even as layoffs keep mounting at U.S. locations
By Kimberly S. Johnson, Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 5, 2007
Qwest Communications is expanding and hiring employees in the
high-tech hub of India, as its U.S. workforce declines.
Bangalore, India-based Qwest Software Services has been
operational since 2003 and currently has 570 workers, or 1.5
percent of Qwest's workforce, focused on internal technology
Last month, Qwest laid off 10 percent of its information
technology workforce, including 100 in Denver. During 2006,
Qwest shed a total of 1,300 jobs.
According to the Qwest Software Services website, the company is
looking to fill openings in eight types of positions, such as
technical architect and application engineer.
Qwest spokesman Bob Toevs said the Bangalore workforce allows
the company to complete IT projects faster, by having computer
developers working around the clock.
"We have a 24-hour development cycle," he said. "It's a crazy,
competitive environment. One area where it makes sense to
leverage our workforce is here and in India."
The company also has offices in England and Hong Kong, although
its largest overseas office is in Bangalore, Toevs said.
"What is happening is inevitable," said Purnima Voria, founder
and chief executive of the National U.S. India Chamber of
Commerce, based in Denver. "Here we pay $38 an hour to software
engineers and in India we pay $17 an hour. That's not a bad
thing. People in India are spending the money on U.S.
Toevs declined to offer salary information regarding workers at
Qwest Software Services but said that there are some cost
savings for Qwest.
"The core of our IT operation will always be here (in the
U.S.)," Toevs said. "If we can complement and leverage that, we
Qwest is not alone. Most major technology companies have
locations in India. Denver-based Quark Inc. set up software
operation in Chandigarh, India, in 1998, for instance. In 2005,
more than 100 Colorado companies were contracting software
programmers from India.
"Many companies are investigating the opportunity to do this
sort of thing," said Douglas Allen, associate professor at the
University of Denver's Daniels College of Management. "We have
to keep up with these issues and remain competitive."
Adding workers abroad "tends to hit a little closer to home when
it involves highly educated jobs," such as software engineering,
While there are cost savings associated with moving business
functions overseas, Allen said companies are motivated to hire
abroad for additional reasons, such as to improve product
quality and to accelerate business processes.
"That's not a trivial issue," he said. "You have doctors
dictating notes and sending them off to Bangalore, and they have
them back transcribed the next day."
Voria said exports to India from Colorado have increased 11
percent in the past year.
"I think companies are looking for business there every day,"
she said. "Where people see fear, I see more opportunity for us
in the U.S."
Staff writer Kimberly S. Johnson
can be reached at 303-954-1088 or
1,300 - Employees laid off by Qwest Communications in 2006
10% - Qwest's information technology workforce laid off in
570 - Employees of India-based Qwest Software Services,
which is hiring
$17 - Hourly wage paid to software engineers in India,
versus $38 in the U.S.