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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Microsoft Sees Cricket as Hiring Aid

SEATTLE -- On a cloudless summer day, Manish Prabhu stares out at a converted football field thousands of kilometers from his native India and watches a cricket ball skip past some fielders dressed in white.

It is an unlikely place for a game of cricket, but Prabhu has spent hundreds of afternoons playing with the Microsoft Cricket Club on this bumpy turf near the company's campus in Redmond, Washington.

"The chance to play so much cricket surprised me," said Prabhu, a senior program manager at Microsoft's automotive business. "There is someone in almost every business team at Microsoft that I've played cricket with."

Microsoft's cricket program -- comprising four teams that compete against other local teams -- is not just a corporate softball team for the globalization era. It is a valuable tool in keeping the company's largest minority group happy.

Competing against fast-growing technology companies in India offering jobs with handsome pay raises and quick promotions, Microsoft has to work harder these days to attract and retain the best and brightest Indian engineering talent.

Employees of Indian descent estimate that they make up about 15 percent of Microsoft's 35,000 workers in the greater Seattle area. The company does not keep track of such figures, but said it had made adjustments for changes in its work force.