There’s light at the end of the hiring tunnel, says HR specialist

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on April 23, 2020 Published on April 23, 2020

Kamal Karanth of Xpheno sees automation and optimisation boosting business and, in turn, recruitment towards the year-end

With net employee addition by the top three IT companies declining in 2019-20, alongside a sense of pessimism in the market on hiring in 2020-21, Kamal Karanth, Co-Founder, Xpheno, a specialist staffing solutions company, shares his thoughts on hiring trends last year and the year ahead. Excerpts:

What’s your reading of the decline in net addition by the three companies?

The overall decline in net additions among these top three players is due to a combination of factors, from reduced manpower requirement on key project pipelines, to marginal reduction in attrition combined with employee retention initiatives and overall impact of automation.

Some of the manpower-heavy projects with TCS, Wipro & Infosys, where they were locked in for almost a three-year period, moved to specialist/consulting brands like Accenture (artificial intelligence, robotics, retail, consumer & insurance domain); Capgemini (pharma, healthcare domain) and Tech Mahindra (telecom domain), which has impacted the manpower requirement along these lines or key projects in the large three services organisation.

Was there any impact on them from the tier-II companies?

Competitive pricing from the next tier service majors like Mphasis, for the banking and financial services domain, has led to partial erosion of clientele among the top players. Moreover, the emergence of multiple smaller fintech players, disrupting the retail payment market particularly, has led to a landscape change in the banking domain and strained them financially on input cost as well.

Is the lower number also due to shift towards automation?

The industry focus shifted towards automation and optimisation in view of near and long-term squeezing of pipelines. Large players are seen moving towards niche projects with better bill rate, hence the attention has been more on quality vs quantity of professionals hired. For example: niche in demand skill set are artificial intelligence, machine learning, data scientist, devops, automation, data analytics and data mining as compared to vanilla projects of past.

How will 2020-21 be against the Covid-19 backdrop for these IT vendors, who recruit in large numbers?

Automation is likely to play a bigger role across industries. The nature of projects may vary on available global demand which, in turn, is dependent on the performance of various front-end sectors and their renewed cost alignments. A new line of business opportunity would emerge out of newer ways of working across the globe post Covid-19 and more efforts would be directed towards prospects such as R&D, healthcare, predictive analysis, data sciences, towards deployment of technology for better risk management.

What’s the hiring outlook for IT vendors?

The outlook, while looking slow to take off, is also looking bright at the end of the tunnel with the new emerging realities of the workplace and industries that will usher in a new age of automation and optimisation, resulting in healthier order books towards the end of the year. Hiring pipelines will hence be kept healthy to meet future demand when work resumes and spikes.

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Published on April 23, 2020
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