Hiring boom in India's IT sector

NEW DELHI – Ms Namita Sharma, 23, was scared that she would not be able to get a job in the IT sector after graduation amid disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

During placements last year, companies appeared unwilling to commit, she felt.

“I was so scared… I asked myself why did I do an engineering course. But in August (this year) I got a job with a startup,” said Ms Sharma, who graduated in information sciences last year and then upgraded her skills further by attending a course which included Java programming.

She has now landed another job in Bangalore in Karnataka state with one of India’s biggest IT companies.

“I am very relieved. Of course, the company will provide training,” she said.

India’s software industry is in the grip of a hiring boom against the backdrop of a spike in demand for IT services and a lack of software talent.

Last year, the IT sector added 138,000 new jobs and grew by two per cent to US$194 billion (S$261.2 billion), figures from the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) show.

Between April and September this year, the top five IT software firms – TCS, Infosys, Wipro, HCL Tech and Tech Mahindra – hired 122,546 people, The Economic Times newspaper reported, quoting NASSCOM. The five firms employ a third of the IT workforce of 4.5 million.

Wipro Limited said the firm had doubled down on hiring fresh graduates.

“The sharp increase in demand has accentuated the talent crunch in the industry,” Wipro said in response to queries from The Straits Times.

“We have doubled down by increasing intake from campuses across the world while re-skilling our existing workforce. We onboarded over 8,150 freshers in the September quarter and are well-positioned to add over 25,000 in the financial year 2022-23. We have also stepped up lateral hiring and sub-contracting to ensure supply constraints do not impact our growth plans,” said the company.

“We are seeing an acceleration in demand especially in digital transformation, cloud services and digital operations. Over the past few quarters, Wipro has seen broad-based growth across markets, sectors and service offerings. July-September was the second successive quarter of over 4.5 per cent revenue growth, a reflection of the robust demand environment and improved execution on our part,” it added.

Infosys, another IT major, announced that it would hire 45,000 college graduates this fiscal year, 10,000 more than its earlier target.

India’s economy was hit by two waves of the Covid-19 pandemic and the government imposed a stringent lockdown last year shutting down all economic activity in the country. Unemployment rose and salaries were cut across sectors. But the IT sector continued to grow as many industries adopted digital methods and leading IT firms, which were downsizing, began to start recruiting fresh graduates in large numbers and training them to fulfill project orders.

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Industry experts predicted hiring would continue at a similar rate over the next three to four quarters

“Hiring will remain high for the next two to three quarters as orders are increasing. The boom is currently in cloud adoption and data analysis. Previously enterprises used to have their own servers and applications, now they are going to cloud for better efficiency. Especially for freshers, it’s a very good time. It was difficult to get jobs for freshers, they had to show some experience. It’s all demand and supply,” said Mr Piyush Pandey, lead analyst, Equity Research, Yes Securities.

“The demand is primarily from international companies. The IT sector will continue to grow for at least two to three years.”

The smaller pool of experienced software engineers has also posed a problem as many are lured by better prospects and perks.

“As the demand for digital talent explodes, rising attrition in the industry poses a near-term challenge,” Infosys Chief Operating Officer Pravin Rao said recently.

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Still the mood is upbeat among software engineers and others in the industry.

“Yes, it (the mood) is on the positive side. The Indian IT sector grew well in the last four quarters,” said Mr Harish S. Kulkarni, a software engineer.

“And we have huge resource availability with skills. We are major service providers of software services to different countries even during the Covid crisis.”

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