It was a phenomenal quarter for us: Rajesh Nambiar of Cognizant

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on July 30, 2021

Rajesh Nambiar, President - Digital Business & Technology and Chairman, India, Cognizant

‘We beat expectations with strong execution and delivery’


The US-based IT company Cognizant Technology Solutions that has a majority of its employees in India is on a hiring spree with plans to hire about one lakh lateral employees (from the market) in 2021 and to train close to 100,000 associates. In addition, it expects to onboard approximately 30,000 new graduates in 2021 and make 45,000 offers to new graduates in India for 2022 onboarding. Rajesh Nambiar, President - Digital Business & Technology and Chairman, India, Cognizant, in an interview with BusinessLine spoke on hiring plans, and other issues. Excerpts:

Could you comment on the June quarter results?

It was a phenomenal quarter for Cognizant especially in the backdrop of the challenging labour market the industry is going through, especially considering Covid-19 situation. Despite this, we reported a 15 per cent increase in revenue to $4.6 billion for the second quarter. This was the highest-ever quarterly revenue, and the largest-percentage quarterly growth since 2015. Digital revenue grew approximately 20 per cent year-over-year. Cognizant during the quarter crossed the landmark of having over 300,000 employees - for the first time in its history. The good performance has helped Cognizant to upside the outlook for the year. We beat expectations with strong execution and delivery. It was due to our ability to target specific investment with shifting our portfolio to faster market segments such as digital. This has resulted in good year-on-year performance. In digital engineering, we are one of the largest companies in the world now.

Could you talk about the hiring plans for the year?

We are going to have three different buckets on engaging the staff. The first is to look at internal staff and retrain them and make sure that they have the ability to move from the traditional businesses to digital businesses. We have trained roughly 95,000 people in the new digital skills. Second is that in 2021, we hired 30,000 students from the campus, which was the highest ever. We are also giving 45,000 new graduate offers for onboarding in 2022. Thirdly, is to hire around 1,00,000 laterally this year.

Also read: Cognizant Technology to hire about one lakh lateral employees

Out of one lakh laterals planned to be hired this year, how many would be in India and abroad?

We don’t split that numbers, but two-third of the employee population is in India, and one should get a sense of how it will work. Obviously, we will leverage India the maximum. In the digital space, we will leverage India significantly to make sure we are able to serve the marketplace not from cost point of view but also from capability point of view. The areas of interests will be digital capability especially in areas like artificial intelligence, analytics, IoT, digital engineering and full stack engineering. Cloud is another area of interest.

Competitors are also eying the same set of people. How will you score over them?

Yes, there is a war on talent in the market. However, we are one of the largest digital players in the world. People are hiring from us as well. The market for digital talent is intensively competitive. This creates a huge demand and supply imbalance, and we need to be prepared with all the hiring methods to build the competency. However, the ability of being the highest recruiter in the industry ensures that we have a good brand name in the talent market able to attract people. On all the campuses, we are the number one brand today. Our acceptability rate has gone up by 10 per cent basis points to 84 per cent. In digital, I don’t think there is any other brand that can attract local talent as much as Cognizant has done. It is also due to the ability to get interesting jobs. In the US or Europe, we are one of the top employers in that capability and the ability to do these specific projects will be able to attract talent.

How about India as a market?

We don’t give out country specific numbers, and give only for North America, Europe and Rest of the World. Indian market is a small base but really grows well. There is a lot of potential to grow higher. We are bullish on the India market and need to nurture it and ensure that we work with a broader set of customers in India.

Published on July 29, 2021

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