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IT firms to recruits: Don't join yet
Mini Joseph Tejaswi, TNN

19th March, 2008

BANGALORE: If you think you've cleared a campus interview by an IT firm and your career's made, you might be mistaken. You could be one among over 100,000 campus IT recruits hired last year to be put on "indefinite wait". Domestic and multinational IT companies are busy sending such bulk mails to candidates hired last year, who would have joined them in the April-June quarter.

"The industry is under stress due to the US recession and rupee appreciation. So we have taken a decision to stagger the induction of hundreds of our campus recruits. It makes financial and logical sense for us," said the head of training & hiring in a tier 1 tech firm who did not want to be named.

The wait for many could range from a quarter to a year, while for at least 30% it could be for ever. "That means, some may not even be called at all," said an industry source.

Kris Lakshmikanth, MD of recruitment firm Head Hunters, said things looked fairly bright at the beginning of the year. "But now, employers are keen to get rid of their bulges and benches."

'Benches' include employees who do not currently have any work but wait in the expectation they would be offered work as fresh orders come in.

Saraswathi Venkateswaran, president, CEO Search (India), said recession in the US had transmitted shockwaves to providers in India. Orders are expected to slow down substantially. "This has forced them to resort to instant cost-cutting measures. Induction and training are pretty expensive."

In IT, people costs are over 40%, as against less than 10% in manufacturing and 20-25% in retail, banking and telecom, said Ahmed Ali, MD, Cornucopia, a recruitment process outsourcing firm. A few quarters ago, companies were vying with each other to mop up freshers from campuses across the country. "All these were futuristic hirings. The industry has now realized that the margins are shrinking. Many of them already have a large army of one-to-three-year-experience talent on board. So many are delaying or putting a stop to fresh hiring this year," said Gautham Sinha, CEO, TVA Infotech.

"There is reason to be apprehensive. But this staggering is mostly precautionary. Some tech firms are even planning not to fill their vacancies," said Anjan Dutta, vice president (staffing) in Cambridge Solutions.

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