Excerpt from : Why America Needs To Start Educating Its Workforce Again
by Vivek Wadhwa
My team made several trips to India during 2007 and 2008 and met the executives of dozens of leading companies to solve this puzzle. We also interviewed workers in R&D labs and reviewed the types of work they were doing. We were astonished at what we learned. I’ll explain.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the Japanese achieved major advances in manufacturing management, which led to their rise as an economic power. The Japanese economic miracle and the country’s new manufacturing skills and methods surprised western firms; but the Japanese had done this by studying, adopting, and eventually perfecting the best practices of the West itself.
My research team (at Harvard and Duke) found that India is achieving similar feats in workforce development by learning from the best practices of the western companies that have outsourced their computer systems and call centers there. It has adopted these practices and perfected them. Faced with severe talent shortages; escalating salaries; and a lagging education system, Indian industry had to adapt and has built innovative and comprehensive approaches to workforce training and management. Their initial focus was on training new recruits and filling entry-level skill gaps. Now, they are investing in constantly improving the skills and management abilities of their workers and in providing incentives for them to stay and to grow with the company.