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Code jocks lose out

A subtle shift is evident in the hiring pattern of Indian IT service companies. Companies like Infosys, TCS, Wipro and others are looking out for specialists with good soft skills. Vivek Sinha reports. The business model is changing

india Updated: Aug 14, 2013 00:10 IST
Vivek Sinha
Vivek Sinha
Hindustan Times

A subtle shift is evident in the hiring pattern of Indian IT service companies. Even though the sector is showing signs of recovery, IT companies may not hire as many people as they used to. Instead, they are expected to hire domain specialists with specific skill sets.

This is dictated by a change in the business model — IT companies like Infosys, TCS, Wipro and others are moving to an outcome-based revenue model compared to the earlier practice of billing clients on a per person per hour basis.

This has resulted in IT firms seeking specialised and niche skills in potential employees apart from domain specific knowledge and technical prowess.

The era of the "generalist" code jock — whose work can be replicated by robots — is passing into history. Techies now need leadership abilities, English communications and presentation skills besides technical ability.

Then, companies are no longer keen on maintaining large ‘benches’ (industry parlance for employees not actively involved in projects).

Instead, they’re moving to “just-in-time” hiring to save on costs. Typically, close to 25% to 30% of a firm’s employee strength remain on the bench.

“Instead of hiring hundreds of employees every year, we are now hiring every month as per the need,” said Anant Gupta, chief executive officer of HCL Tech.

Suresh Senapathy, executive director and CFO of Wipro said hiring plans would remain “moderated” for the company in the coming quarters.

Infosys, which has usually given a hiring outlook for full financial year, chose to buck the trend this time. The company said it had made 5,000 offers to fresh engineering graduates. SD Shibulal, CEO and MD, Infosys, has said the company will hire as per its needs.

“Only highly skilled employees can meet the new requirements of clients,” said Sangeeta Gupta, senior vice president at Nasscom.

The maximum brunt of this shift in client expectations is being felt by fresh engineering graduates. Till 2008-09, campus recruitment formed 70% of total hiring intake of Indian IT firms; it is now at 40%.

First Published: Aug 13, 2013 22:30 IST