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Major IT companies reduce employee strength by 4,000

The Indian IT industry was once called the biggest job creator in the organized sector and it has seen a huge shift in recruitment

There was a lot of speculation about layoffs going around in the IT sector in the country. The first six months of the year saw Infosys, Wipro, Tech Mahindra and Cognizant reduce their employee strength. The reduction was quite sharp in case of Cognizant, which were over 5,000. HCL Technologies and TCS are an exception and among India’s top IT companies an addition of TCS is only a fraction of what it did in the first six months in the last fiscal year. If the headcount of all the companies is put together, there was a drop of 4,157 employees in the first six months of 2017 compared to an increase of about 60,000 in the same period last year.

The industry is at a crossroads. With a journey towards digitization and automation, there is a plethora of opportunities and a myriad of challenges. Hiring has only decelerated but for the first time there has been a decrease in headcount. There are several factors which have led to this. The first is automation, which is making thousands of entry level jobs redundant. Companies are keeping fewer people on the bench and automating processes. In the traditional method of application development and maintenance, growth is down. While companies are on a lookout for hiring people with specialized skill sets in newer areas such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and data science, the growth rate in these spaces and the nature of business does not require large scale hiring.

The employment situation in India is currently changing rapidly. The intake at campus hires in the Indian IT industry is dramatically down and looks like it will continue to fall. The industry will no doubt continue to be a great place for engineers with right skills in automation, AI and other digital skills which are high in demand. Those individuals who have only traditional IT skills will have a tough time ahead.

Infosys CFO M D Ranganath mentioned that the decline in headcount was due to higher utilization and productivity improvements. Wipro president Saurabh Govil mentioned that the industry has moved away from head count linked growth and has improved utilization. Wipro is focusing on retraining the existing people.

Looking at the situation, it can be concluded that there will be modest hiring in the industry. Nasscom has projected that the industry will add about 1.3-1.5 lakh jobs in the current year. This can best be a gross hiring figure. The increase in headcount for this fiscal year will be moderate to slow. In order to remain in the industry, individuals will have to work on their skills and grow their knowledge base. Artificial intelligence and robotics will have a huge impact on the hiring across Indian IT sector.

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