updated 10/10/2006 6:44:26 PM ET 2006-10-10T22:44:26

There may be more than a billion people in India, but even an Internet superstar like Google Inc. has trouble recruiting talented locals in its South Asian operations, a board member said Tuesday.

"I know first hand that we've had a bit more of a challenge trying to hire engineers for Google in Bangalore compared to other parts of the world," Google director Ram Shriram told a private investment conference taking place in San Francisco.

In particular, the venture capitalist cited a shortage of Web development skills such as knowledge of Javascript and Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), the Web design technology used in the latest generation of Web sites like Google Maps and Flickr. Middle managers also are in short-supply, he said.

"The people are smart, innately smart but don't have this particular skill set yet," said Shriram, an Indian native who is a founding member of Google's board of directors.

Indian high-tech center Bangalore is the site of one of Google's global research centers, the location where services such as Google Finance were first developed. Google also has offices near New Delhi, Hyderabad and in Mumbai. Google had around 8,000 employees worldwide at the end of June.

In recent years, many U.S. firms, including Reuters, have started operations in Bangalore seeking to draw on a pool of low-cost, talented labor. Yet the rapid growth of such operations have led to a greater competition for talent.

Shriram said some Indian businesses such as call centers suffered from high staff turnover as greater competition for labor has driven up the wages employers have to pay to keep employees, something less common in Web businesses.

"In the Web 2.0 businesses, I'm not seeing that, but I am also seeing a huge talent shortage," he said.

"It's been really hard to find middle management, for example. It's great to find a good founding team, but then I can't find middle management. I can't find engineers."

Besides serving on Google's board, Shriram invests in start-up companies such as TellMe Networks, 24/7 Customer, Plaxo and through his venture fund Sherpalo Ventures. He also was an early member of the executive team at pioneering Web company Netscape Communications.

Shriram, who held 2.3 percent of Google's shares when the firm went public in 2004, also was critical of the state of Web design in India, the world's second most populous country.

"User-interface people are in short supply in India," he said. "I have to actually transport people from here over there," he said of the need to send U.S. workers to India.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.


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