US effect: tech majors back to hiring big
ADITH CHARLIE, VENKATESH GANESH
TCS, Infosys & Wipro add over 47,000 people in 2014-15 as American market recovers
MUMBAI/BENGALURU, APRIL 30:
Despite concerns of job cuts and workforce re-skilling, India’s top three IT firms collectively added 67 per cent new jobs in 2014-15 than the previous financial year.
Industry watchers attribute this to better growth in the US market (compared with 2013-14) and stronger performances from Infosys and Wipro. Collective net additions by Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro stood at 47,138 against 28,226 in 2013-14.
“After some indifferent years, the US market has been showing signs of returning back to optimum health,” said Sunil Goel, Director of HR consultancy firm GlobalHunt.
“Couple this with the digital initiatives that most large clients have unleashed internally and you know why people with niche skill-sets were in demand last year.”
Despite some hiccups towards the second half of the year, the Indian IT industry grew 13 per cent in 2014-15. A lion’s share of the country’s software services export revenues comes from the US. The increased hiring was also triggered by the adoption of new technologies coupled with higher demand for cost-effective IT services across geographies.
On the HR front, the highest net additions for the fiscal were reported by Infosys and Wipro, the two Bengaluru-based companies that were grappling with restructuring pangs in 2013-14. Net additions at Infosys rose 15,782 in 2014-15, while Wipro added 12,164 new hands.
“Infosys and Wipro had better control over their people assets last year and the bench period came down for employees of both companies. After lagging peers for a couple of years, both Infosys and Wipro had a good 2014-15,” said Kris Lakshmikanth, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Headhunters India.
Mixed year for TCS
TCS, the country’s largest software exporter, had a mixed year though. Though the company hired 19,192 new hands, its employee net addition was the slowest for at least three years. In 2013-14 and 2012-13, the company reported net additions of 24,268 and 37,613, respectively.
Moreover, the company last year said it will fire around one per cent of its staffers this year, many of whom are believed to be mid-level managers.
Will momentum continue?
But the big question is if the top IT firms will continue the hiring through 2015-16? Lakshmikanth believes that frontline companies may hire fewer staffers and do more with existing resources going forward as they bring increased automation internally, employ Machine2Machine communication and deal with emerging platforms such as social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC). Automation refers to tools that can perform basic IT services without human intervention, while M2M allows both wireless and wired systems to communicate with other.
According to Kunal Sen, Teamlease has projected an 11.3 per cent growth in jobs this year. But it is less than the 13 per cent witnessed last year.
Media reports have indicated that IBM and Wipro have also been trimming their headcount in India as they seek to cut flab. Wipro’s CEO TK Kurien is believed to have said that the company’s investments in automation, artificial intelligence and digital technology to improve efficiency will bring about a 30 per cent reduction in headcount in the next three years.
These developments are a dramatic departure from the last decade when the Top 5 IT companies employed around 1.25 lakh people every year.
Industry watchers say that this slowdown in hiring is the way of the future due to a couple of reasons. The first has to do with changes in technology, through automation, which require fewer people to do tasks such as coding or monitoring networks.
“One person can do the job of three and most of the basic coding can be automated,” said Sean Narayanan, head of Liquidhub — a start-up, who was previously with IGATE.