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Niche talent is name of game for IT firms

Last updated on: February 29, 2012 16:22 IST

Niche talent is name of game for IT firms

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M Saraswathy in Mumbai

R Elango is busy with campus recruitments these days. But this time, rather than just focusing on students with engineering degree, the chief human resources officer at MphasiS is also looking for candidates with niche expertise in data warehousing and business intelligence.

The Bangalore-based information technology (IT) services company has seen a 20 per cent growth in demand for people with such skills over the last few quarters, reflecting a change that the industry is seeing in projects. "The demand for these kind of services has also increased," Elango notes.

"This necessitates the recruitment of staff to meet the demand. One can say that the IT industry is moving to the higher end of specialised technology."

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Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

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The Indian IT sector is increasingly preferring candidates with expertise in niche areas like mobile technology, data analytics and SAP over others.

If head-hunters are to be believed, the trend has emerged recently and will expected to dominate the IT industry in FY12. Besides MphasiS, And companies such as HCL and Tech Mahindra only further confirm this trend.

At Pune-headquartered Tech Mahindra, almost 30-40 per cent of the firms total employee base will comprise of employees with specialised skill. But more importantly, says L K Bhatia, Vice President (resource management), Tech Mahindra, it has seen a rise of about 20 per cent in the demand to hire people based on skills even at the fresher level.

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Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

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"We are struggling to get people with the requisite experience," says Bhatia. "Therefore, we are recruiting people and training them; it is essential to have a core group with these skills though." He also agrees that these people with these skills came with an extra premium.

Head hunters also share the same viewpoint. Surabhi Mathur Gandhi, Senior Vice-President, IT Sourcing, TeamLease Services believes that demand for skill in mobile technology, SAP and data analytics will drive hiring trends.

"In the last three years, around 35 per cent staff used to belong to the niche category," she notes. "Now 60-65 per cent employees are turning out to be from these niche areas and this will continue throughout 2012."

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Adding to this Ashish Arora, managing director of HR Anexi, says the demand for these kind of skills has risen atleast by 15 to 20 per cent.

"The interesting aspect of this development is that some companies are even willing to give the extra premium to these staff in the niche technology area," he notes.

"Some IT firms have even gone to the extent of giving a new technology allowance, that can range from 5 per cent to 10 per cent of an individual's cost to company."

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Arora believes that this aspect proved to be the differentiator for the companies than the others in this space. "This is why the companies are going the extra mile and acquiring this talent," he adds.

Delhi-based HCL Technologies also says their hiring for 2012 will be focused on new technology skillsets.

"Since the industry is maturing, specialised skill-sets are required," points out Ravi Shankar, Senior VP-Human Resources of the company. "But lack of adequate talent in these areas is leading us to hire freshers and train them."

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Photographs: Peter Jones/Reuters

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Sunil Goel, director of Global Hunt, however feels that while this is true for most of the mid size and large companies, availability of skills was a concern.

"We have seen this demand increase from clients in the last one to two quarter. But majority of firms have chosen to train employees with these new skills," he says.

On its part, MphasiS is looking to capture the necessary hands through alternate avenues like Linkedin and other talent communities.


Photographs: Peter Jones/Reuters

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