Indian IT sector seems to have come back to its record-breaking hiring days, with a top industry player Infosys projecting up to 1.8 lakh employees being hired by the five largest companies alone this year.

“Growth is back and most companies are hiring in large numbers again. The top five companies are estimated to hire 1,60,000 to 1,80,000 new employees in the next 12 months,” Infosys CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan said here.

Such large-scale hiring activities were last witnessed in 2007 by Indian IT companies, after which they had to cut back on hiring and even prune their existing headcount to cope up with the economic slowdown.

“In 2008, the industry saw growth coming down to single digit. Most IT companies stopped hiring employees and stopped expanding,” Mr. Gopalakrishnan said at a discussion on ’sustainable Development Strategies’ organised by College of Architecture here last evening.

Mr. Gopalakrishnan said that the growth was now back in the sector and the companies were expanding their headcount.

He further said, “The IT industry has grown fast over the last 15 years. For example, the industry had about 1.50 lakh employees in 1993, around five lakh employees in 1999 and today, the industry employs around 2 million employees.”

The highest-ever hiring in the IT space was seen in 2007, when more than four lakh jobs were created in Indian IT space by all the companies together.

After that, the hiring fell to 2.5 lakh people in 2008 and further down to 1.5 lakh in 2009 and then just above one lakh in 2010.

Industry estimates suggest that the overall hiring in India by all the IT companies together during 2011 could exceed or at least match the levels of 2007.

Besides Indian IT firms, global giants like IBM, Accenture and HP have also been hiring aggressively in the country in the past.

Mr. Gopalakrishnan said that multinational corporations were also looking to India to expand their markets and to create back office function and many of them are looking at Tier II and III cities to expand.

Emphasising the significance of infrastructure development in growth of these cities, he said an effective mechanism is essential to implement various development strategies.

“Industry bodies, relevant NGOs, civic bodies must all have a role to play. For example, industry bodies will be able to mobilise participation by experts. Industry will be able to provide project and programme management expertise. Civic leaders will be able to mobilise public opinion.

Thus I believe there is a higher chance of the initiatives getting implemented,” Mr. Gopalakrishnan said.

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