How This Frenzied Tech Hiring Can Hurt India’s Global Edge
Is it the best moment to be an engineer in India? Being one myself, I’m tempted to feel so. Don’t believe me? Take a look at how the hiring scene in the Indian IT sector is unwrapping over the past few months. It’s raining jobs for the techies. And, they are lapping them up with fervor. Today, a techie is juggling with three or more job offers simultaneously and easily commands a mark-up of 50–70 per cent on pay while switching a job.
The tech companies are obliging. They don’t have a choice. On the other side of the fence, the skilled engineers are spoilt for choices. Blame it on the Covid pandemic. For re-engineering the job market. The shifting of gears to digital- it’s happening speedier than you and I anticipated. This has accelerated the demand for skilled pros in digital technologies.
India’s $200 billion software industry is on a hiring boom. I was poring over Nasscom’s figures- this year, the top five IT players will add 96,000 more to their resource pool. The uptrend in hiring is so obvious. If we take June alone, the hiring growth is a staggering 163 per cent over the same month last year.
People leaving and companies onboarding new talent is par for the course in the IT sector. But what we are witnessing now is not routine. Demand is outstripping supply beyond imagination. Else, what explains people quitting in droves and the hiring mangers scrambling to hunt for talent? From a modest 7–15 per cent last year, the dropout rate this year is north of 50 per cent.
The scene is unsettling. Indian companies are closing in on the salary gap with their global counterparts. Some in my peer network claim a few start-ups are awash with cash, and are paying more. But for how long? This is a crazy hiring spree where one recruiter is going overboard to outbid the other. Somewhere, this needs to pause, sooner.
Now, I’m retracing from where I began. Indeed, this is a moment of paradox for this engineer who finds it challenging to herd his cohorts of engineers. Yet, my plight has nothing to stop skilled engineers from grabbing the best opportunities. This market, for them, is a spring of bloom. But what I dread now is an extended spring which can bring in a winter of gloom for our IT sector. God forbid!!
If I take you down the dawn of this millennium, it’s when the IT boom or bloom started. Indian IT companies rode on the outsourcing boom in the 1990s with their unmatched cost arbitrage and a vast and varied talent pool. From an IT hub then, the country has now acquired the tag of the world’s fastest growing digital hub. It’s the Indian engineers who are driving ‘digital transformation’ of enterprises globally. This talent pool needs to be valued. In the same vein, I say, we should not forgo our cost advantage if we are serious on upholding our global leadership. This is going to be a tricky balance between cost and competition. Let the industry map out a strategy in unison. And, not let the best tech talent lose out to the highest bidders!