Covid forces top 4 IT firms to step up hiring in Q3

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Bengaluru | Mumbai | New Delhi: India’s top-tier IT services providers—Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (TCS), Infosys Ltd., HCL Technologies Ltd. and Wipro Ltd.—have hired a combined 36,487 employees in the December quarter of FY21, significantly higher than during the same period in 2019, as clients demanded faster execution of digital projects.

The top four firms account for nearly a fourth of India’s 4.3 million information technology workforce.

The four largest firms by revenue had hired 10,820 people in October-December 2019, faced with cautious technology spending by clients in an uncertain economic environment. However, as the Covid-19 pandemic induced lockdowns across the globe last year, customers were forced to shift employees to working remotely and had to increase technology spending for moving applications to the Cloud in order to ensure business continuity.

India’s largest software services exporter TCS reported net addition of 15,721 employees in the third quarter, its highest in a three-month period, against net reduction of 4,063 employees during the same time in 2019.

Attrition May Go Up

The numbers include around 1,500 staff taken on board from Pramerica Systems Ireland Ltd after it acquired certain assets and employees from Prudential Financial last year. “We had shared with you earlier about our commitment to completely honour our outstanding hiring offers that we had made, and we had hired and made offers assuming a much stronger demand scenario. So, we have that inventory of almost 40,000 trainees that we had committed to bring on board,” Rajesh Gopinathan, chief executive of TCS, told an analyst recently when asked if there would be a talent supply issue.

Bengaluru-based Infosys, which added 9,104 people in the quarter to December as against 6,968 professionals in the same period in 2019, said it would hire more freshers. The company said it would recruit 24,000 freshers in the year ahead, a 60% jump from the initially planned 15,000 people.

“Given the growth momentum we are seeing and high utilisation…attrition can possibly pick up over the next quarters. Considering all that, we have increased the fresher hiring to 24,000,” said UB Pravin Rao, chief operating officer, Infosys.

Q3 Spurt

The third quarter typically sees fewer people movement and recruitment, but the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak is partially responsible for the spurt in hiring numbers in the just concluded quarter, analysts said.

“Of course, it is a positive trend for the industry, but you have to look at the timing. They have pushed their hiring activity by at least a quarter. Next quarter will be the right quarter to look at,” said Kamal Karanth, co-founder of specialist staffing agency Xpheno.

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