United Airlines will not outsource management jobs to India and claims that its recent job postings were in error.
United Airlines Posts Jobs In India
In 2015 United launched an India Knowledge Center (IKC) as an extension of its U.S. data analytics teams. The IKC, located in Gurgaon about 30 minute from New Delhi in the state of Haryana, currently has 250 employees across over 20 departments.
The ICK is run by Divya Nanavaty, who notes on her LinkedIN page “she is actively working on doubling team size to support additional areas.” Nanavaty started with Continental Airlines in 2005 in Houston and is responsible for conceptualizing and establishing United’s management operations in India (a different division than the call enters, which were part of pre-merger United).
The ever-prescient JonNYC noticed that United appeared to be re-hiring critical positions it had laid off in the USA:
I wonder how the President/other politicians feel about this?
“It’s becoming evident that United Airlines is taking this opportunity to immediately replace laid off American workers with low-paid new hires in Gurgaon India.
Positions that have been eliminated in Chicago often..
— JonNYC (@xJonNYC) August 26, 2020
Those positions included:
- Analyst, Network Planning
- Senior Analyst, Network Planning
- Senior Analyst, Revenue Strategy
- Manager, Revenue Strategy
- Senior Manager, Sales Program
And to underscore the financial incentive of such a move, each job description noted:
“This position is offered on local terms and conditions. Expatriate assignments and sponsorship for employment visas, even on a time-limited visa status, will not be awarded.”
Was United really outsourcing jobs to India while taking U.S. tax dollars to support its operations? Was United really arguing it needed billions in additional funds to “save U.S. jobs” while immediately replacing U.S. workers with low-paid equivalents in India?
I asked United.
United Airlines Says “Oops”…Its Recent India Job Postings Were In Error
A spokesperson told me:
“A limited number of non-critical, new positions were recently posted in error and we are taking them down. While United instituted a hiring freeze several months ago, we have a small number of critical roles to backfill across our airline as a result of employees taking early retirement or voluntarily separating from United. All of these U.S. based, critical roles will remain in the United States.”
We can only speculate whether this was an error in timing or an error in getting caught, but these jobs will apparently not be moving to India. In this political climate, whatever the motive, United was smart just to remove the job listings and move on.
We live in a global economy and the human capital in India is vast, with the nexus between knowledge and labor as a distinct comparative advantage. But when a company is asking for handouts from U.S. taxpayers to keep U.S. jobs, that sort of outsourcing just doesn’t fly…
I recall when SPG set up a significant call centre in India. It was a nightmare from hell. Fortunately they abandoned it, IIRC, after a short while.
With vast unemployment numbers in the US, and the airlines at the head of the queue to put their snouts in the public trough, you would think they’d have the wit to avoid going down this path. But airlines are not known for making ‘good corporate citizen’ choices.
Hard to turn down labor that makes pennies on the dollar of its U.S. counterparts. That make even inefficient labor somewhat efficient.
Analyst roles are far from management. They are often entry level, and almost always individual contributor roles. But yeah, bad optics while begging for government money. However, I blame government for giving out taxpayer money to businesses, not businesses for acting in their own best interests.
I sure hope they were not simply betting that nobody would notice. I’m thrilled that at least publicly, United has backtracked on the India hiring for now. It was a fair opportunity when United was struggling to hire roles in Chicago due to a tight job market, but with the current unemployment situation, there was no excuse to continue the practice.
I AM THE CHAMPIONS
Yes you are! Keep up the good work.
@ Matthew — You don’t really believe there was any error here, do you? Maybe they can outsource pilot jobs soon, too. The pilot can just operate the plane form their laptop at home.
An error in timing, not intention. Perhaps. I doubt it, but perhaps.
United has kept H1-B visa managers and has ‘let go’ scores of American citizens these past few months in response to the covid19 crisis to the airline. Tech, finance and accounting positions mostly. For example, Manager – Financial Planning and Analyst.
Only a matter of time.
The first time I head an Indian accent when I make a call to United will be the last time I fly them. With all our u employment, the last thing UNITED needs to do is send out ANY job to the land of curry. I lost my job with UA in the mid 80s because they outsourced reservations to INDIA……where no one even knew where US cities were……don’t even think of ta’ing $1 from taxpayers if you don’t hire here!
Don’t be a racist