A sarcastic take on recession, the hit song ‘Ramanamma…’ from the recent movie ‘Bumper Offer’ might soon find itself out of relevance. With the recession clouds slowly floating away and economies of the developed nations limping back to normalcy, Information Technology (IT) professionals are beginning to breathe easy again.

Right from classily-done offices to tea shops, tiffin centres and cinema halls, there hangs an air of optimism. “Projects are slowly coming in. And the hiring has picked up of late,” said M. Sudhakar, a software professional.

“Recovering from tough times, IT companies are on a hiring spree. Many companies have followed ‘Just in Time’ recruitment policy. Another prevailing trend is the banishing of lateral hiring in the wake of the vigilant and cautious attitude of the IT companies,” said Kiran Babu Cherukuri, member of Managing Committee, Hyderabad Software Exporters Association (HYSEA).

Among recession’s many victims was the domestic IT sector that was predominantly an IT backyard for the developed countries. Naturally, they found themselves in the red during the downturn. Now, with the recession showing signs of abating, companies are again investing in projects and upgrading their systems.

There is strong talk that the market would revive soon and should be back on track by the beginning of next financial year. Industry speculation indicates that it will take sometime till the second quarter of the next financial year to reach the pre-recession peak position, according to Mr. Babu. “The industry is cautiously optimistic amidst global indications of recovery.”

“We are planning to almost double our headcount in the next 12-18 months as we have major growth plans in India,” said Suman Reddy Eadunuri, Managing Director of Pegasystems Worldwide India Private Limited.

While there is moderate demand for traditional technical skills like Java, J2ee and .NET, there is greater requirement for service-oriented architecture, Business Intelligence, Analytics, Project Management and IT consulting skills, according to HYSEA.

However, the market is not as promising to freshers. According to Mr. Babu, with fewer jobs in sight, financial year 2010 will see half the number of freshers hired by biggies of the industry before recession.

And with projects slowly ticking in, the age-old game of employee poaching is also on the return. “Candidates with work experience in software tools like data warehousing, SAP and ERP have been receiving offer letters from other companies,” disclosed Siddharth, an employee with Tata Consultancy Services.

With companies preparing for upturn and hiring, averred Nitya Nivali, HR Head of Progress Software India, organisations are looking at various creative retention measures to retain their top talent.

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