It is a case of Great Resignation aka Big Quit as Indian software vendors are struggling to retain digital talent – the most sought-after in the IT industry today – so much so that nearly 50 per cent of them move out, mostly to another company for a higher pay. This, in turn, has created a huge demand and supply problem for digital talent. A few years ago, this was the trend with software engineers.

The attrition in digital talent is in the backdrop of increased digital transformation – the current buzzword in IT sector – where projects are implemented by Indian software vendors for global clients. Indian software companies are chasing a global digital transformation market size of over $400 billion as clients aggressively implement technologies such as Internet of Things, Big Data, Analytics and Cloud.

Compensation levels

Demand for digital talent is about 100,000 at any point of time. This demand is an aggregate of all roles open in the IT services industry and user-industry sectors. Every month, about 20,000 get hired. Compensation levels have gone up, motivating employees to always look for better opportunities, said Aditya Narayan Mishra - Director and CEO of CIEL HR Services, a Chennai-based HR firm.

More product manufacturers seek to make their products intelligent with sensors and embrace as-a-service models, building service layers around the product to enable lifelong engagement with the customer and to drive new revenue streams, said Rajesh Gopinathan, CEO and MD, Tata Consultancy Services. According to Pravin Rao, COO, Infosys, the company is looking at hiring people with digital skills, but there is a shortage of digital skills. In the last few quarters, nearly 80 per cent of Infosys’ incremental demand for digital talent has been met with internal reskilling, he told analysts.

Shortage of talent

There is a real talent shortage in the IT industry, fuelled by the digital agenda with demand outstripping supply. In India, there is a high attrition rate in different companies.

There are different stories, but nearly 50 per cent of digital talent is moving to different things, said Steven Hall, Partner and President, Information Services Group, a leading research firm.

The lack of talent availability in the market is driving up costs and threatening the success of digital transformation projects.

Agreeing with Hall, Siva Prasad Nanduri, Vice-President and Business Head - IT staffing at TeamLease Digital, said the Covid pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, creating enormous opportunities across industries. This is the primary reason for employees searching for greener pastures and changing jobs, which is resulting in high attrition.

Sanju Ballurkar, President at Experis IT, said the digitisation of business environment is creating an unprecedented demand for talent in digital skills. “While the high demand is leading to high attrition, we believe this will rationalise, and this situation should ease up in 2 to 3 quarters,” he said.