IT's time to move on as tech cos put brakes on hiring

The $76-billion Indian software services industry is today not the same job creator it once was. Bulk hiring, the buzz phrase for the IT sector, has been on a downward spiral with FY14 set to hit a new low spot in annual intake, which will be nearly half of what it was in the heydays of 2005-07 when the sector created close to 3 lakh jobs every year, including a major chunk of campus recruits.

With hiring patterns, which have been volatile across companies over the past several quarters now, adapting to a non-linear business model, the decline in overall figures is telling. It would not come as a surprise if the industry hires just a little over 1 lakh people this fiscal, and the biggest impact will be on the campus recruits or fresh engineering graduates, as they always constitute the bulk of the new job additions.

The annual net addition of employees by Infosys, for instance, during FY13 has been the company's lowest in the past five years. It had a net intake of 6,694 people compared with 19,174 in FY12. Even during the quarter ended March, the company added just 1,059 employees, the lowest intake in three years, highlighting how Indian IT firms are going slow on fresh hires.

Among its peers, HCL Technologies reduced its staff strength for a second quarter in a row during the January-March period. The Delhi-headquartered firm cut its headcount by 791 people during the quarter, taking the total employee base to 84,403 as of March 2013, compared to 85,194 at the end of the December quarter. India's largest IT-services exporter Tata Consultancy Services had a net addition of 37,613 employees in FY13 versus 39,969 in FY12, a decline of 2,356 people.

TK Kurien, CEO, IT business, Wipro said, "It (the tepid hiring momentum in Indian IT) will remain this way because as an industry we have a mature process now with increasing automation.

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