India’s IT giants are shedding thousands of jobs as they enter “survival mode”

Letting go.
Letting go.
Image: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui
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Indian IT bigwigs have shed people in thousands in the last three months.

The staff headcount at the largest player in the sector, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), fell by over 4,700 between March and June, when coronavirus started gripping the country. Rivals Infosys, Wipro, and Tech Mahindra, too, posted a decline in net employee headcount.

Overall, five of the biggest firms in the $200 billion industry lost nearly 11,000 employees.

The ambiguity brought about by the pandemic pushed these big businesses into survival mode, experts say.

“Many of the sectors like manufacturing, where IT companies had sales pitches done, (the) business had to be put on hold for at least a quarter,” said N Shivakumar, managing director at management consulting firm ResourceTree. “Post the initial confusion, many firms realised they have to conserve a lot of energy, money, and infrastructure because if (the) business loss is going to happen, it’s going to be a very big issue for them to survive.”

However, not all hope is lost. TCS hasn’t scrapped its plans to hire 40,000 fresh college graduates this year. Experts say hiring will bounce back in the second half of the year since these firms likely have large cash reserves to tide over the slump. And once the economy picks up, new technologies will find takers across various sectors from banking and financial services to healthcare.