Deepa Kurup

BANGALORE: The information technology sector is hiring again after a lengthy period of layoffs and recruitment freeze. In the last three months, several IT companies have ratcheted up middle and entry-level recruitment.

The smile is back on placement consultants’ faces as every other week since October, there have been mass recruitment drives by many prestigious firms. Job fairs are back and companies are vying for talent yet again, almost like the good old days.

Kris Lakshmikanth, CEO of Head Hunters India, a staffing firm, says there has been increased hiring in the current financial quarter (September-December). The top companies alone have offered over 50,000 jobs, most of which can be termed as “replacement hiring”, according to him.

Over the past year, leading firms were on a recruitment freeze, and had all entered “negative hiring”. Companies cut down on their bench ranks — comprising employees without projects on hand — and were seen spreading it thin.

“In October, we saw a sudden demand for executive (CxO level) posts. By October and November, this percolated to middle-level of staffing,” Mr. Lakshmikanth explained. He estimated the hiring growth in the current quarter at around 250 per cent, compared to same quarter in 2008.

Job portal too recorded a “significant increase” in the number of jobs. Around 13,000 jobs surfaced in the IT/ITeS sector last month.

In Bangalore alone, its monthly JobSpeak index climbed from 650 to 760 in November, a number that had dropped below 500 earlier. The technology job market, hardware and software, increased by 8.4 per cent in November, compared to October. However, salaries have not gone up. In fact, sources confirm that the general mandate to HR departments has been to slash remuneration.

The U.S-based tech firm Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS), for instance, is currently hyperactive. Sriram Rajagopal, AVP-HR at CTS, confirmed to The Hindu that the company had been hiring. “The pace of decision making in client organisations has accelerated and there’s relative stability, if not recovery, in clients’ businesses. As a result, hiring is aggressively picking up,” he said.

Further, he pointed out that the focus of talent acquisition had changed from generic skilled resources, as buffers for future ramp ups, to meeting the demand for niche skills.

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