Cognizant Technology Solutions is on target to hire 50,000 freshers this year in India. Globally, it will recruit nearly 55,000, said Rajesh Nambiar, President, Digital Business and Technology, Cognizant Technology Solutions, and Chairman, Cognizant India, after the company on Thursday announced its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022.

The US-based software company with over 75 per cent of employees in India, added about 9,800 new employees in the first quarter to take the global employee headcount to 340,000 amid an intensely hot market for talent, he told Businessline.

In addition to freshers, the company will also hire laterals (experienced persons) from the market, and this will be need based, he said. “Cognizant is one of the largest recruiters and in laterals we do a lot more than others. The split between freshers and lateral is nearly equal,” he said.

Despite all the competitive global market play, the company reported a 10 per cent increase in revenue to $4.8 billion. Most of the growth was driven by digital, which grew by nearly 20 per cent.

Consistency Q-o-Q

“It is now about consistency quarter-on-quarter. This will be the fourth consecutive quarter of double digit growth. This is remarkable for us as this was not the case a year ago or two years ago, when it was a completely different shape altogether. This gives us the confidence that we can expect organic growth in currency terms even in the second quarter,” he said.

For the first time, revenue from digital business touched 50 per cent of Cognizant’s revenue. This is not because demand for digital is high but also due to the strategic shift that the company had forecast three years ago; the investment that the company had put in and the win clients had contributed to this growth. Also, around 50 per cent of total employees are skilled in digital technology, he said.

On the employees’ front, in March quarter attrition had declined for two quarters in a row and dropped by 5 points sequentially on a voluntary basis. This happened in a backdrop of a highly competitive labour market, said Nambiar.

For Q1, the attrition was 26 per cent as against 31 per cent in the December quarter and 33 per cent in the September quarter. “I don’t know,” said Nambiar when asked if the decline could continue next quarter. “Attrition from the industry has not gone away. The stress on the industry is around. It will be hard to say that this is over and completely turned around the corner,” he added.

Keeping attrition low

“We are hoping that the declining trend of attrition will continue and it is a good trend,” he said. “To keep the attrition low, the company is taking a lot more freshers from the market; ensuring that we are investing in learning, career path development; upskilling and offer competitive compensation. We tripled the job promotions in 2021 versus 2020,” he said.

Nambiar said that the company trained around one lakh employees in new digital skills in 2021. This equates to nearly 23 million hours of learning and 130,000 courses. All of this contributes to the stickiness and the ability for people to know that this is the place where they can build their career, he said.