IT Hiring Down – where did we go wrong ?

April 23, 2014

It was 13th Dec 1999, my boss from the MNC I was working in called me to congratulate me on my wedding. As we exchanged pleasantries, I could notice tension in his voice. Concerned, I probed for the reason and while he did not want to discuss work on that call, reluctantly he gave in. We were in the Resourcing business in the IT space, and he was worried about candidates not joining.

Yes, you heard me right …. Not Joining !!

Those days we had about 22% of the offered people joining a job. Most people had multiple offers they could evaluate; even if they had only one while resigning the current job, it was almost certain that they would land another offer in between jobs.

The business environment of the country was upbeat. The policy makers were led by a visionary who understood the long term impact of pro-rupee indigenous economic growth focus.

The overseas employment was at its best, IT services industry on the rise majorly servicing overseas clients; both these factors contributed to forex inflows.

Cut to the present day, and we have done an impressive job of decimating the business environment and have hurt the interests of the job seeking youth, in the last ten years.

The industry leaders had probably foreseen this situation when in an industry interaction, on 3rd May 2012, a senior industry veteran exclaimed, “Vinit Ji, we do not fear the PULL of other economies, we fear the PUSH of our own..”

In the last ten years, there has been a policy paralysis and the state has done nothing to proactively address the changing global dynamics. The opportunity passed us by, and we as a nation could not keep ourselves relevant.

The recession had its impact in 2008, and threw many enterprises out of business; however had we been strategic the governance could have shifted key processes to e-governance using the services of these home based units. This could have helped in not only tiding over the situation but also save jobs while developing systems and processes of contemporary relevance.

Moreover, the western nations or driver economies were hit by recession. Nothing had stopped us from developing other foreign markets; In Feb 2012 NASSCOM meet I witnessed stalls from many countries that were there trying to sell themselves as potential markets. So, here we have countries willing to open themselves up, we have an industry shrinking in employment and yet for some reason we are not willing to look at new markets. India herself has a huge potential of domestic market and the current Government has not harnessed it. Sectors like Datacenters, Banking, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Energy, Logistics, Tourism, education, Hospitals, Travel & Transport ,  Research , Agriculture etc have to be made strong with the use of IT and Egovernance in India. This itself will open up a lot more opportunities of employment across the countries and also remove the burden on major cities like Mumbai, NCR ,Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkatta etc.

Hiring by India’s four largest IT companies dropped by over 60 per cent this year.

Even the campus hiring is supposed to fall significantly due to a change in hiring patterns. My good friend who was a till date a very senior office bearer in Nasscom had mentioned that companies are looking for soft skills and leadership qualities rather than just technical skills and hence the campus recruitments could be just 60% of what they used to be.

Analysis suggests that while three years back 80% focus was on technical skills, going forward this would come down to 40%.

This means that on one hand our policy paralysis has created environment non-conducive to business, and on the other hand the miserable failure of National Skill Development Program has rendered the current training irrelevant to the existing job opportunity. The quality of current education has unfortunately affected the employability negatively. We have many institutes but they are not aligned to the requirements of the industry and hence many educated youth still remain unemployed.

In a nut shell, the young India of 2014 is facing “Down Hiring” as compared to the young India of 1995-2005 who had multiple offers in hand at any given point in time. You tell me, if we have progressed or regressed in these ten years…

The answer would pain you, am sure as much as it is paining me!!

As we look forward to form the governance to come, I would request my party leaders to put serious will to effect the following :

  1. Provide an enterprise environment conducive to growth
  2. Make and change laws  to make them relevant to the times and supportive of indigenous enterprise
  3. Make availability and cost of capital friendly for medium, small and micro entrepreneurs
  4. Make taxation simpler and friendlier for Medium, Small and Micro entrepreneurs
  5. Put skill development on the highest priority; change curriculums to make them relevant to times
  6. Support the industry to gain the competitive edge back, thus regain lost business (to smaller countries like Philippines), and open newer markets

The situation is bleak, but nothing that a bit of smart thinking and lot of political will can’t turn around.

India is a young nation with 33% population categorised as youth . It is a great force to harness and it is our biggest strength. Let us plan and make sure that we use this strength to build a better India.

Jai Hind


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