New Delhi: Hiring of freshers in the IT services sector is likely to stay high over the next 12-18 months as the $150-billion industry races to meet the burgeoning demand for technology services worldwide. While the country's big four software exporters - Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, HCL Technologies and Wipro - will hire over 120,000 freshers, the industry together is expected to hire over 1.5 lakh freshers in the current financial year.

Even mid-sized IT firms like Mindtree will also hire significantly more college graduates this fiscal, the Economic Times mentioned in a report citing staffing forecasts by the companies.  TCS, Infosys, HCL and Wipro together account for over a third of the country's total IT services revenue.

"IT Services companies have exhausted their bench and don't have enough people to deploy on the new projects as they win large deals," the publication quoted as saying Kamal Karanth, co-founder, Xpheno, a staffing solutions firm.

The top four IT exporters in India have bagged big-ticket deals from MNCs as most of the global corporations step up spending on digital transformation in the aftermath of the pandemic. While TCS got the Prudential Financial deal, Infosys won the Daimler contract and Wipro bagged a deal from Metro AG.

"Most (Indian IT) services companies had slowed down their fresher hiring in the last few years, while increasing utilisation of these people during the pandemic," said Karanth who expects the demand for freshers to remain high over the next 12-18 months as firms rebuild bench strength.

Worth mentioning here is that hiring senior talent has become lot more expensive these days as these professionals are demanding up to 70% hike for switching jobs.

The big four, which together employ over a fourth of India's 4.6 million IT workforce, hired over 48,500 people in the quarter to June.

TCS, India's largest IT services firm, hired over 20,400 employees in the June quarter taking its employee count to over five lakh while Infosys added over 8,200 professionals and Wipro increased its staff strength by over 12,000 people. HCL Technologies added 7,500 people in the quarter to June.

"As the demand for digital talent explodes, rising attrition in the industry poses a near-term challenge. We plan to meet this demand by expanding our hiring programme of college graduates for FY22 to about 35,000 globally," the financial daily quoted Infosys COO Pravin Rao as saying.

HCL Tech, which reported its Q1 earnings on Monday, said that it plans to hire over 22,000 freshers, up from 14,000 last year. Its chief human resources officer VV Appa Rao said it had added over 16,800 employees in the last two quarters, with an additional 3,000 more third-party contractors added in the past quarter. 

Additionally, companies are also investing in upskilling and reskilling existing employees in order to meet the demand for talent in emerging technologies.

IT services firms are not just hiring to meet growing demand but to also plug gaps created by the sharp increase in attrition within these companies, particularly in the last quarter. Employees with 2-10 years of experience have been the ones that are signing out in large numbers.

Higher attrition, said Wipro CEO Thiery Delaporte, had become a universal issue with the pandemic making the labour force more mobile. "We have doubled down on our intake of freshers from campuses across the world and in reskilling our employees," he said.
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