The issue of moonlighting in India's information technology (IT) sector doesn't seem to go away. The latest to enter the fray is N Ganapathy Subramaniam, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Executive Director at the IT bellwether Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Subramaniam, speaking at BT's India@100 summit today, said that moonlighting is an ethical issue and that the IT sector will lose out in the long term.
He said, “Moonlighting is an ethical issue, we need to inculcate the ethics and (idea of) being right and if we make something like this for short-term gains, in the long-term we will lose out.”
Subramaniam elaborated on the issue and mentioned, "If you look at it as a war, it is a war. Business is all about operating within constraints. The talent war happened because of two important reasons from my perspective because during the pandemic 90 per cent of the enterprises did not hire. Few organisations like TCS, we went and honoured everything, we kept hiring."
He further expounded, "Pandemic taught everybody that digital is the important thing so everybody wanted to further the digital agenda."
He also noted with companies pushing the digital agenda aggressively, hirings also went up. "The only way they can do that is by going to where the hires are."
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Subramaniam's comments come in the wake of a recent BT interview of Mohandas Pai, the chairman of Aarin Capital and ex-Infosys director, who had lambasted IT companies on their stand vis-à-vis the moonlighting practice.
“If any sacrifices need to be made, senior people should make them.” He further said, “How can a senior person take a hike in salary when you aren’t paying juniors more? Treat them like human beings, not like midgets," Pai had said in the interview.
Pai had further pointed out that IT companies are making decent profits despite the depreciation in Indian rupee.
Pai argued, “They have 13-14 per cent increase in revenue due to rupee depreciation. IT companies are making good money and they are paying senior people very high salaries. Why not pay the junior people too?"
Wipro CEO Rishad Premji, on the other hand, called the practice of moonlighting “cheating - plain and simple.” He tweeted, “There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating- plain and simple.”
Moonlighting refers to the practice of taking up other jobs and assignments while working with an organisation. The issue gained centre stage after IT majors like Infosys, TCS and Wipro announced they have deferred, postponed or reduced the variable payout to employees for the first quarter of the financial year 2023 due to lower margins.
Also read: 'Treat them like humans, not midgets': Ex-Infosys director Mohandas Pai lashes out at IT sector, says freshers being exploited
Also read: Digital is the inevitable way forward for everyone, says TCS' N Ganapathy Subramaniam
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