Leaving the Covid-19 pandemic behind, the four major Indian IT companies —Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, HCL Technologies and Wipro — ended the fiscal 2021 on a high note by reporting strong net employee hiring due to some big-ticket deals and rejigging of hiring plans depending upon the deal flow.

The cumulative net employee hiring by the four companies increased by 46 per cent in the fiscalcompared to the previous year with TCS leading with a robust 66 per cent increase, followed by HCL Tech, Wipro and Infosys.

It was a strong comeback during the year. As the pandemic hit the peak in the first quarter, all the four reported negative net employee hirings.

But they bounced back strongly from the second quarter with positive quarter-on-quarter net hiring in the remaining three quarters. In fact, in the fourth quarter, TCS’ net hiring of 19,388 employees was an all-time high in a single quarter for the company, V Ramakrishnan, CFO, TCS, said in an analysts’ call.


Redrawing hiring plans

On the jump in net employee hiring, Abhishek Singh, Vice-President at the Everest Group, a research firm, says it is a strong reflection of planning for two themes.

A strong pipeline even during the pandemic made the IT companies redraw their hiring plans. New bookings were strong for the past three quarters — (even in the fourth quarter over $9 billion for both TCS and Infosys) for which these firms have to keep resources ready for project kick-offs. Large deals (Vanguard/Daimler – Infosys; Deutsche/Prudential – TCS) are about to reach a stage of full steam/ramp up, he said. The employee additions are not surprising given the pent-up demand for cloud-enabled run-the-business awards stemming from enterprise buyers seeking to optimise IT operations and business processes, said Boz Hristov, Professional Services Principal Analyst, Technology Business Research, Inc. US.

Additionally, the improving sentiment for IT spend and gradual reopening of economies are presenting employees with a new set of opportunities, resulting in an increase in attrition. As a result, vendors are trying to hire in bulk — mainly freshers and/or junior level staff — whom they can train and ensure there is a bench to support large/mega outsourcing contracts that they have been signing in recent months, he said.

Pay hike

IT companies have also kept the employees’ morale high by rewarding them during the pandemic year.

Infosys implemented a salary increase effective from January 1, 2021, and the next cycle will kick off from July 2021, Pravin Rao, CFO, Infosys, told analysts.

“We released, as promised, salary increments and promotions covering approximately 80 per cent of our employees effective January 1, 2021,” Wipro’s CEO Thierry Delaporte, told analysts.