In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic and rising digital transformation demand in the Indian information and technology business ecosystem, large players are increasingly either hiring from the newest generation -- Gen Z -- or speeding up in-house training activities to keep pace with competition in large deal sign-ups.
Industry research firm Gartner, in a 2020 blog post titled “Lack of Skills Threatens Digital Transformation”, said that response to the Covid-19 pandemic has fast-forwarded digital adoption by five years.
“One result of this ‘digitalization at scale and velocity’ is massive skill shifts. The shift in skill needs was already a challenge, but more than 58% of workforces report skill transformations since the onset of the pandemic,” Gartner analyst Scott Engler had said in the blog post.
Bengaluru-based Infosys, in January, kickstarted its most recent hike cycle, with another scheduled in July. “This year (financial year 2020-21) we hired about 36,500 people, of which about 21,000 people are freshers,” COO Pravin Rao told TechCircle at the fourth quarter (Q4) results press conference.
TCS is currently looking to hire 40,000 people from campuses, while Infosys is eyeing 26,000, and Wipro, 9,000. At Noida-based HCL Technologies, the management expects to onboard about 20,000 freshers in financial year 2021-22 (FY22). The percentage of freshers out of total people hired in FY20 was about 40%.
“Over two to three years, we would like to take it to 70% because a lot of digital skills, millennials and Gen Z, they come with those skills, and they don't need to do any unlearning. While we have a responsibility, we are committed to upskilling and cross-skilling our people, but the skills that are required mostly can easily come from this cohort,” Varre Appa Rao, chief human resources officer, HCL, told TechCircle at the Q4 results press conference.
The enthusiasm to recruit, albeit virtually, is subsequently relayed across India’s premier educational institutes. The 2020-21 academic year hiring numbers are largely in line with the year-ago estimates, and in some cases better, as per several conversations TechCircle had with placement co-ordinators.
“Placements are good this year. Almost all major service-based companies such as Accenture, Cognizant, Infosys, have visited campus this year. We have MoUs with these companies for mandated visits every year... Normally they start from July, but this year they started from October. First, they delayed, but then they picked up good numbers. We have another six months. We’ll definitely cross last year’s numbers,” MN Guruvenkatesh, placement head at Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering (DSCE), a top engineering institute in Bengaluru, said.
A live tracker on DSCE website, which keeps tally of number of students hired from the academic year of 2020-21, showed that 1,731 graduates had been hired as of April 29. In 2019-2021, 2,241 graduates were hired.
At IIT Madras’ campus placements across courses, over 856 and counting offers have been made to graduating students in the academic year of 2020-21. Indian IT majors made up for nearly 80% of these offers, while global counterparts made up for about 44%, IIT-M's training and placements advisor Shankar Ram said.
At IIT Guwahati’s (IIT-G's) campus placements of Bachelor and Masters of Technology, over 686 and counting offers have been made to graduating students in the academic year of 2020-21. Indian IT majors made up for nearly 30% of these offers, IIT-G's head of placements Abhishek Kumar said.
Even as skillset specialisations of digital, data engineering, machine learning, and cyber security are in the good winds of current demand cycles, new focus on digital transformation focus and newer client sign-ups have excessively increased attrition rates, as was displayed in the first quarter results of the IT companies.
“The rate of attrition is going to be high as both multinational IT and ITeS companies as well as startups vie for similar mid and executive level talent pool,” Anuj Roy, managing partner at Bengaluru-based headhunting firm FIDIUS Advisory, told TechCircle.