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IT companies looking beyond engineers

As people pressures have intensified (Infosys’s attrition went up by 2 per cent to 13.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2007-08), the IT industry is beginning to expand the breadth of its hiring to include plain vanilla science, commerce and humanities grads.

By Rahul Sachitanand | Print Edition: October 7, 2007

Until recently, almost all the technical talent hired by Infosys Technologies, India’s bestknown IT company, were engineers from premier institutes.

Infosys, and other Indian IT majors, routinely queued up at top engineering colleges to snap up the best talent and spent up to six months training them.

However, as people pressures have intensified (Infosys’s attrition went up by 2 per cent to 13.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2007-08), the IT industry is beginning to expand the breadth of its hiring to include plain vanilla science, commerce and humanities grads.

The biggest of them all, TCS, has launched a programme called Ignite to recruit up to 2,000 science and humanities grads; and Wipro, the third member of the so-called Big 3 Club (of Indian IT companies), has set up the Wipro Academy of Software Excellence in conjunction with BITS, Pilani, to drive hiring of undergraduate science students at monthly stipends of Rs 9,000. Even MNCs such as IBM have jumped onto the bandwagon, starting an Appropriate Continued Education Programme in West Bengal to mould these graduates.

S. Ramadorai
S. Ramadorai

This is not CSR; it’s a survival strategy. “We have to expand the addressable pool of talent to sustain the growth of this industry,” says Mohandas Pai, Director (HR), Infosys, who has been a strong votary of bringing non-engineers aboard at both Infosys and across the industry.

While TCS has initially hired 500 graduates under its Ignite programme, the company will ramp this up to 2,000 by the end of this financial year. “We hope to spread the economic benefits of IT across the country,” S. Ramadorai, MD and CEO of TCS, said at the launch of the programme in Chennai recently.

According to NASSCOM estimates, the IT industry is expected to face a shortfall of around 500,000 people by 2009.

“The breadth of work that Indian IT companies do is wide and many relatively lowend tasks don’t need to be done by engineers,” says Gautam Sinha, CEO, TVA Infotech, a Bangalorebased HR Consultant who hires for many of these companies.

This is clearly a win-win solution for both the companies and their non-techie recruits.

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