When Infosys announced its quarterly results last week, two divergent indications might have caused confusion to the casual observer. On the one hand, its net profit fell year-on-year, and on the other, it announced plans to hire as many as 36,000 people in the current fiscal year — up from the earlier forecast 30,000.
Actually, the two things are inter-related. Higher wage hikes have increased costs for Infosys and at the same time, despite a crisis in Europe, one of its key markets, demand is good enough. The company, considered a darling employer, saw a staff attrition rate of 15.8 per cent. Which means the job market is competitive.
Also, there was news from Pune that leading software companies, including Infosys and Cognizant, had come to an agreement that they will not hire people from other companies without the recruits serving their notice periods with previous employers. The tug-of-war for talent clearly needs ground rules.
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the industry leader, also outlined plans to hire 40,000 people this year, up from 30,000 forecast earlier.
Clearly, IT service jobs' boom is back — in case you have not noticed. But this time it is in an avatar much different from the days of the Internet "dotcom” boom.
A decade ago, when IT jobs were hot, the industry was rewarding people with crazy perquisites — stock options, dating allowances, home loans and even a concierge to help software engineers book movie tickets.
This boom is different.
Here is what I see.
Old perks are gone, but decent salary hikes and competing job opportunities are growing.
Even big-brand employers such as Infosys have to be on their toes to keep their flock. The downturn has done little to make IT staff settle for "security" in big brands.
Competition is hotting between giants — IBM, Infosys, HCL, Wipro, Cognizant, TCS, MphasiS (now part of HP), besides smart mid-rung players such as iGate and MindTree.
n The craze for H1B (work permit) visas and US Green Cards is gone, and this makes India a battleground for employees and employers seeking good opportunities and talent, respectively.