After reading an article in a weekly last week, I was shocked to discover the suggestions put forward by OTAM (Outsourcing and Telecommunications Association of Mauritius) and the founder of MSCC (Mauritius Software Craftsmanship Community) !
Claim #1 : « proposes that firms be permitted to recruit freely »
What does that mean? Well, to hire a skilled foreigner in IT, a company has to pay him a minimum salary of Rs 30,000. Previously, it was Rs 45,000. Many foreign workers skilled in the IT sector are getting better salaries: I heard some foreign people earning up to Rs 90,000. If employers are allowed to hire freely as OTAM suggests, here is what is going to happen: Mauritius is going to be flooded with foreign IT workers who will work for Rs 6,000/month. In other words, if we remove the Rs 30,000 minimum salary, local IT companies can hire foreign workers for Rs 6,000/month, from countries like Bangladesh. It seems that OTAM is using the analogy of the manufacturing sector to justify this. Now, some Mauritians work for Rs 6,000 in textile factories. Is this what we want for our co-workers, friends, and future children whom we are grooming for a prestigious career in IT in Mauritius?
I think that OTAM is using the fact that the quality of IT education in Mauritius needs improvement as a scapegoat excuse to justify hiring people from outside, and pay them peanuts. Is the real goal of OTAM to eliminate the Rs 30,000 minimum salary that the government imposes on foreign workers who want to work in Mauritius?
The real issue is that many of the local IT companies do not invest in training of their workers. One software engineer in Europe can cost 4000 to 5000 Euros. That’s almost Rs 144,000. If you want to hire a junior developer in France, you would need to pay at least 1500 Euros. That’s Rs 60,000. Knowing those facts: we know that a starting developer gets around Rs 20,000 here. So on each junior developer, an outsourcing company is saving up to Rs 40,000! Yeah, Rs 40,000! So the companies are putting that money in their pockets, instead of trying to invest into improving the skills of their employees. Now, some of them want junior developers who will work for Rs 6,000/month. THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS!
Claim #2: « Quality of graduates »
Quote from the founder of MSCC: « The notion of having a graduate per household led to a drop in the level of education, which translates through a lack of skills. It is thus detrimental to operators, who must train young people, which costs time and resources ».
I am not convinced by claim #2. The quality of graduates from Mauritius is not that different from countries like India, who are doing quite well in the area of ICT. I am myself a product of the so-called « one graduate per family ». Can the founder of MSCC point out how my skills are not as good as software engineers from the US or Germany? I’ve been approached by some of Fortune 500 companies in the US, including Google, and offered engineering jobs in some of the world’s most prestigious IT companies.
Claim #3: « Disloyalty »
Quote #3 from the founder of MSCC: “Unfortunately, Mauritians want to earn a lot of money in a short time, which is harmful for their career. I often find myself with CVs that state that the person concerned has changed jobs over a few years. It proves that the person has turned to the easiest way to earn more money by changing jobs, and is not loyal to the firm that employs him”. I know a guy who just left Google after 1 year to work for another company, which presumably pays him more. Is that a « disloyalty » as MSCC claims? In fact, are all of the ex-Google employees who left for Facebook « disloyal »? That’s just hilarious 🙂 There’s something call negotiation. If you don’t want an employee to leave, you can negotiate to increase his salary and/or benefits. e.g I give you 20% of your time to work off on your own projects. That’s what Google did, and it served to retain their employees.
Funny to see how some people quote Smart Cities, but still believe in running IT companies like Traditional Textile factories, instead of Smart Companies.
May God protect us from the horrible, and deeply disturbing idea that we should allow foreigners to be freely hired by removing the Rs 30,000 minimum salar. This will stagnate salaries. Parents who are working hard to pay for tuition fees for their children in the software engineering/Computer Science/Information Systems field should be very worried.