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Demand for digital-savvy talent in non-metros to see uptick in 2022

Demand for digital-savvy talent in non-metros to see uptick in 2022
Photo Credit: Pixabay
11 Jan, 2022

Demand for digital-savvy technology talent, especially in non-metro cities, is expected to further rise in 2022 as remote working is expected to continue, and companies set up smaller offices outside of their headquarters.      

SaaS unicorn Zoho Corp., for instance, plans to hire about 1,000 people in its rural offices in India this year. This is in addition to the 3,000 people it hired last year. Zoho has been focussing on bringing jobs to smaller towns for quite some time now ever since it opened its first rural office in 2011 in Tenkasi, a village in Tamil Nadu.

“Hiring in tier 2-3 cities and rural areas is much more than just tapping into a talent base in these regions; it is about nurturing talent that is industry-ready. We are able to make this a possibility with the help of programmes like Zoho School of Learning. We believe these regions are rich in latent talent, just waiting for opportunities to come their way,” said Mohammed Sohail, head of Talent Acquisition, Zoho.

Similarly, Pune-based IT services major Tech Mahindra Ltd. aims to double its talent supply in digital technologies by hiring fresh talent from tier-2 cities in addition to upskilling and hiring from the existing talent pool in India and overseas.  

“We continue to focus on skill-based hiring across emerging technologies including 5G, XDS, artificial intelligence, cloud, robotic process automation, blockchain, IoT, and cyber security, among others. Additionally, we are hiring across all levels, especially at the bottom of the pyramid, to increase the tech quotient of the firm and keep our talent pool brimming with new-age technologies,” said Harshvendra Soin, global chief people officer and head – Marketing, Tech Mahindra.   IBM Corp. is also looking to expand its business in India by expanding into non-metro cities. “In 2022, we will continue accelerating our business growth in India with expansion and hiring in cities beyond metros, building on our collaboration with leading educational institutes, investing in building the skilling agenda for our employees and contributing to country’s Skill India and Digital India mission,” said Sandip Patel, managing director, IBM India.  

Chennai-based HR solutions firm Neeyamo doubled its headcount from 1,500 to 3,000 employees last year, of which, 80% of them are in non-metro cities including Madurai, Thanjavur, Nagpur, Belgaum, and Aurangabad. Neeyamo is currently hiring across all its centres especially in Madurai and Nagpur and is aiming to establish remote development centres in 20 tier-2 and tier-3 cities across India. 

“Surprisingly, young talent in tier 2-3 cities is not lagging when it comes to using digital platforms/courses to stay relevant in today's market. It is our mission to provide as many job opportunities as possible to the talent pool available in these untapped cities across India,” said Rangarajan Seshadri, CEO, Neeyamo.

That said, as talent attraction and retention continue to pose a challenge for companies, people with niche skills will be in a position to command much higher salaries. 

“We believe the salaries of job seekers with niche skills will increase by 1.5 to 2 times in comparison to their peers,” said Yeshab Giri, chief commercial officer – Staffing & Randstad Technologies, Randstad India. “Big data engineers, cloud architects, DevOps engineer, blockchain engineer, IoT architect and cyber security specialists will be in great demand across levels of expertise.”  

Established IT companies will continue to widen their geographical footprint by moving beyond the metros. “Companies will begin hiring freshers in non-metro cities through online platforms due to the recent revolution in campus recruitments.  Colleges in tier 2-3 cities are now connecting graduates to a wide variety of companies through online guest lectures and interview programs, thereby opening up avenues for companies to hire talent in remote regions,” added Giri.