Discussions over Tea (Of course, cutting maar ke)

Monday, September 08, 2003

IT : On Contract


While interviewing for our Mainframe team, I came across, for the first time, the concept of the "Business Associate". The "Business Associate" is an on-contract employee who is hired for the rolls of body-shopping outfits (A) and then outsourced to larger IT firms (B) for a fixed duration of time (based on the period of the project).
The idea behind a contract employee was that he/she would be a specialized resource.
This means that the employee does not need to be trained by company B.
Also, the individual is not registered on the rolls of the company B and hence is deprived of the benefits offered to permanent employees of B.

This concept was started in the US for people who wanted to change jobs often and prefered working on multiple project in the duration of their career. With perks/benefits and training costs avoided, the contract worker commanded a higher pay in the US.

Yet in India, the contract worker (or what is formally called the "business associate") gets paid much lower than the permanent employee. Also, the contract worker has a social stigma attached to him/her that they have not been able to hold down a "permanent" position in the markets.
Some of these contract workers are simply people who have not been able to secure jobs due to market downturns.
Yet, stereotypes are harder to break down for them, in the minds of people in the more "secure" jobs, people like me. They compete in a tough market against people who have completed their engineering from more obscure colleges and tend to get marginalised for longer durations of time.

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