DIG­I­TAL BLOOD­BATH MAY LEAD TO MORE IT LAY­OFFS

Financial Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - MINI TE­JASWI

THE In­dian tech sec­tor has al­ready started re­port­ing a large num­ber of ca­su­al­ties at se­nior level due to dig­i­tal main­stream­ing. Worse, more job losses are on the anvil. Top HR sources say many league play­ers are ex­pected to join Cog­nizant and an­nounce mass ex­its of se­nior tal­ent in the next cou­ple of quar­ters.

Cog­nizant has laid off some 200 se­nior em­ploy­ees at the di­rec­tor level and above this year in a bid to align its tal­ent pool to the newer dig­i­tal re­quire­ments. The em­ploy­ees have been given a sev­er­ance pay­out of four months. The process would cost the com­pany a sum of $35 mil­lion, as per a re­cent re­port. The in­dus­try won’t be sur­prised if the next batch of “in­vol­un­tary se­nior IT re­tirees” came from lead player TCS, a top-heavy firm, said a se­nior source at the com­pany.

“All lead IT firms will be forced to lay off some per­cent­age of their se­nior staff as all won’t be able to un­der­stand the dig­i­tal play. So, the dig­i­tal blood­bath is ex­pected to con­tinue for a year and com­pa­nies are al­ready let­ting peo­ple go in small batches so that the morale im­pact and me­dia at­ten­tion are min­imised,’’ said a se­nior HR ex­ec­u­tive at a top IT firm on con­di­tion of anonymity.

SO, it’s crit­i­cal for In­dian IT to read­just its peo­ple pyra­mids to main­tain the tempo and mo­men­tum of growth in its dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion jour­ney.

In­dian tech ven­dors need to read­just their peo­ple pyra­mids, flat­ten the big belly bulge and start hir­ing peo­ple with creative skills, de­sign think­ing, story-telling abil­ity, hard core en­gi­neer­ing knowl­edge and do­main ex­per­tise to be suc­cess­ful in the dig­i­tal play

Hansa Iyen­gar, se­nior an­a­lyst, Ad­vanced Dig­i­tal Ser­vices at Ovum, a Lon­don-based In­dian tech firm, said IT firms are try­ing to turn the peo­ple pyra­mid up­side-down (pri­ori­tis­ing highly skilled re­sources over hir­ing lowlevel re­sources), but there is a mid/se­nior level bulge that needs to be trimmed down. This bulge con­sists of mid­dle-level ex­ec­u­tives who are en­trenched in the com­pany, but have lost sight of the techie roots and are not as con­ducive to reskilling com­pared to peo­ple lower in the rungs.

“Dig­i­tal is emerg­ing as a main­stream op­tion and fu­ture jobs are ex­pected in this arena. Ev­ery­thing, tools and plat­form, is go­ing to be dif­fer­ent,’’ warned Iyen­gar.

Peter Ben­dor-Sa­muel, CEO of Dal­las-based Ever­est Group, said, “I see sig­nif­i­cant dis­rup­tion to the ex­ist­ing work­force with the new hires of­ten com­ing on shore, and the skill sets be­ing dif­fer­ent in­clud­ing hard core en­gi­neer­ing and in­dus­try do­main fo­cused.’’

Cus­tomers want IT firms to be equipped with a wide va­ri­ety of new ca­pa­bil­i­ties around creative skills, de­sign think­ing, sto­ry­telling, RPA (ro­botic process au­to­ma­tion), mo­bil­ity, data science, ma­chine learn­ing, data an­a­lyt­ics, ap­plied math­e­mat­ics, AI, ro­bot­ics, ethnog­ra­phy, UI (user in­ter­face) de­sign, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

BS Murthy, CEO at Lead­er­ship Cap­i­tal, a lead­ing tech hirer based out of Ban­ga­lore, said ev­ery en­ter­prise ap­pli­ca­tion is now on the cloud. Le­gacy side of the busi­ness and peo­ple work­ing on it are be­com­ing ir­rel­e­vant and non-bill­able. IT in­fra­struc­ture has seen a mas­sive de­ploy­ment of au­to­ma­tion. Some­body who is work­ing on le­gacy ap­pli­ca­tions for too long has truly be­come re­dun­dant.

“All the roles that are not cus­tomer fac­ing, not con­sult­ing, not so­lu­tion ar­chi­tect­ing, not pre-sell­ing and not busi­ness de­vel­op­ing are go­ing away, that means a large num­ber of project man­agers, pro­gramme man­agers and de­liv­ery heads are go­ing to be un­der the axe. A large num­ber of techies who en­tered job mar­ket dur­ing late ‘80s and early ‘90s are get­ting phased out or re­tired in­vol­un­tar­ily. That’s the sense I get based on job en­quiries,’’ added Murthy.

Cus­tomers want IT firms to be equipped with wide va­ri­ety of ca­pa­bil­i­ties such as creative skills, de­sign

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