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Infosys to tighten belt

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PUNE, Jan. 19

THE gold rush at Infosys Technologies, perhaps India's most sought after employer in recent times, seems to be over with the company now all set to tighten its belts in response to the slowdown in the IT sector .

Come April and Infosyians, used to their routine 30-35 per cent annual raise, will have to do without their usual goodies. The Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, Mr Nandan Nilekani, said here the company has decided to cut back on the average raise for employees which will now go from the earlier level to that of 15 per cent. "Seventy per cent of this 15 per cent raise will be linked to the performance of the company,'' Mr Nilekani said.

The CEO designate of the country's most successful IT company was speaking at the launch of a CEOs club here where he spoke on `The impact of technology on business'. Asked how his company learnt to deal with the sudden decline in growth rate following the slowdown in the global market, Mr Nilekani quipped "When you are used to hundred per cent growth and it comes down drastically, there is a period of denial but then you got to accept it and live with it''. The company has also decided to curtail its recruitment drive significantly, doing down from the level of recruiting 4,500 people in 2001 to 1,500 people this year following year. "Today we have a bench on with only 72 per cent utilisation of existing employees as against the earlier level of 85 percent'', he said.

"Most Indian companies have been caught on the wrong foot with over capacities'', he said. Mr Nilekani outlined other measures the company has had to take to tide over the slowdown: annual budgeting at Infosys is now been made to quarterly budgeting mode and yes, cost management measures across all aspects of running the business.

Dressed casually for a meeting of a sprinkling of Pune CEOs led by Kinetic head honcho Arun Firodia and Kirloskar group's Atul Kirloskar among the audience, Mr Nilekani literally held a lecture on the changes that technology had wrought in business. His fundas for those listening with their eyes and ears wide open were: many adapt to technology changes or perish, look after your employees or they will "vote with their feet'', in the war for global talent and always, always hang on to your brand, human resources and intellectual property.

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