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Employees walk in a forecourt at the Infosys campus in the Electronic City area of Bangalore
Reuters/Vivek Prakash
Back on the playing field.
VACANCIES OPEN

India’s IT majors are back to increasing their headcount

By Ananya Bhattacharya

Indian IT outsourcing firms are making a comeback in the job market.

In the last two quarters of 2018, the net employee addition by India’s second-largest IT services company, Infosys, was better than any quarter in the previous five years. For Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the largest player in the sector, the trend was similar.

This comes after India’s biggest tech firms laid off over 56,000 people in 2017 thanks to digitisation and automation. Aside from the dramatically changing job profiles, shrinking international markets and massive cost-cutting efforts resulted in a bloodbath of sorts.

Between September and December 2018, TCS’ net addition of employees was 6,827 while Infosys added 7,762.

In 2019, employers will remain bullish on hiring, experts say.

Picking up pace

New-age technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will displace around 75 million jobs by 2022, a recent World Economic Forum report said.

But settle your fears.

This wave of new technologies will also create around 133 million new jobs in the same time period.

“…the demand for professionals with evolved, tech-led skillsets will only increase further in 2019,” said Zairus Master, CEO of jobs portal Shine.com. “Expertise in areas such as data compliance and cybersecurity will also be much sought-after, given how critical data privacy and information security have become in the global business discourse.”

The way people work is also evolving. There’s already a rise in the number of people trading in the 9-to-5 routine for flexible working hours. “Smaller professional services organisations such as IT startups already embrace this trend, allowing it to have quickly have become the industry norm,” said Master. Now multinational companies have also jumped on the bandwagon.

Of course, as companies take a skills-first approach, unskilled and low-skill labour will suffer. Scores of India’s mostly “unemployable” engineers will lose their jobs to bots.

Meanwhile, the more skill-heavy jobs will still suffer from a massive skills gap. For instance, more than 50,000 data science and machine learning jobs were vacant in India as of October 2018. Much of the problem can be chalked up to a subpar education system. While employers are demanding specific skills sets, colleges are doling out generic degrees. However, there are some skilling startups such as US-based Udacity, and domestic companies like Edureka and Great Learning, that are helping workers upskill themselves with specific, in-demand skill sets, such as driverless cars or drones.