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Priya Ganapati |
December 05, 2003
If you thought business process outsourcing and call centers in India are the only segments in the information technology industry brimming with jobs today, think again.
Software services have bounced back and companies are on a hiring spree; either because they are setting up new operations or expanding existing ones.
The obvious result of this has been that the number of job opportunities has more than trebled since 2001.
"Recruitments in the software services segment are up three to four times. If about a year-and-a-half ago, 400-500 people were being hired every month in the IT industry, today that number would be somewhere around 2,000-3,000," says Gautam Sinha, CEO, TVA Infotech, a Bangalore-based recruitment agency that counts companies like Sun Microsystems, IBM, Oracle and Wipro among its clients.
Sinha's assessment is borne out by the numerous recruitment advertisements in various newspapers apart from the regular announcements being made by companies regarding their expansion plans.
In the last month itself, two big US-based software services companies, Trilogy Inc which is one of the largest privately held software companies with revenues over $100 million last year and Caritor, a 10-year-old company headed by former Wipro president, Mani Subramanian, have said that they will expand their operations in India.
Trilogy plans to invest $45 million over the next three years in R&D, product development, HR and marketing, besides moving to a state-of-the-art facility in India.
It will also hire nearly 200 employees over the next one year.
The United Kingdom-based LogicaCMG too has aggressive hiring plans.
Logica already has 481 employees in India and had started out with 200 at the beginning of the year. By next year, it hopes to double its hires to touch the 1,200 mark.
"We hope to grow to 600 by the end of 2003. In 2002, the hiring was far slower by comparison, only restricted to need-based requirements. We started aggressive hiring in March 2003," says Emma Fischer, senior staff manager, LogicaCMG Offshore Services.
Like other companies, Logica too is doing a lot of senior recruitment this year -- project managers, program managers, business analysts and senior project managers. Another level of recruitment has been for testers, people with Unix, C,C++, Oracle, PL/SQL and Microsoft Technologies.
According to recruiters, Java and J2EE technologies continue to remain the hottest selling skill in the market. The demand for mainframe specialists too is increasing.
ERP (enterprise resource planning) is also back in fashion. For instance, in November, German software giant SAP AG, announced that it would double its headcount in India from 750 to 1,500 by the end of next year.
SAP has also invested Euro 20 million in building its new campus in Bangalore, which is the only one it owns outside Waldorf, Germany where it is headquartered.
Salaries too are growing as the job market picks up. In fact, headhunters estimate that the salaries being paid to IT professionals today are greater than those paid in 1999, at the height of the dot-com boom.
"If you are looking at lateral hires, salaries is the only way to attract people in the market today, especially considering that the number of job opportunities available today are greater," says Sinha.
About two years ago, the IT slowdown in the United States had its impact on India too. The slowdown meant that lower budgets were being allotted by companies for IT and fewer projects were coming to India.
"Towards the end of 2001, hiring was nearly at an all time low. Only very large companies were hiring and that too in fewer numbers. Many Indian companies had to shut shop because they were not getting enough projects," says Sinha.
Today that situation has clearly turned around. Much of the credit for that goes to the outsourcing wave that is sweeping through the markets of the US and the UK.
The rise of the offshoring model in IT services has also meant that companies are increasingly moving work here to take advantage of the skilled available in India at lower costs.
"The offshore delivery model as pioneered by companies like Infosys and Wipro has come to be established worldwide. So a large number of companies are relocating work to India and hiring significantly here," says Sinha.
Another factor spurring the IT services jobs market is that smaller companies too are again finding projects to do here, even as better quality of work is shared with the Indian subsidiaries of US companies.
Invesys, a US-based company that offers solutions in the production management domain, began its operations in Hyderabad last year with a modest 25 people. Today it has around 150 employees and intends to grow to 300 by end of 2004 by hiring more software development engineers, quality assurance engineers and domain engineers.
IT industry executives say that the hiring patterns show that the IT slowdown in India is finally over and the job market is booming again.
"Owing to the increased outsourcing to countries and multi-nationals setting up their own development centers in India, the future for IT in India is very bright," says Aniruddha S Dasu, general manager, Invensys India Development Center.
Recruiters and industry executives agree that the hiring spree is because much of the work is being moved to India from the US.
"It is not just the cost advantage that is spurring the US companies to shift to India. It is also the quality and process consciousness of Indian companies, the educational background of engineers. Very high quality work has moved to India," says Dasu.
The Invensys India office participates in joint product development with its teams in the US.
"In the years to come, the kind of opportunities that will exist in India may not even exist in the US," adds Dasu.
As the quality of work picks up in India, the body-shopping business is almost dead. On-site trips, largely to the US and the UK, an important perk for many software professionals in India, has reduced dramatically.
But TVA Infotech's Sinha says no one is really complaining.
"The craze for the US has come down. Earlier there were not too many opportunities in India so many wanted to go to the US. Also with a number of malls and other lifestyle options coming to India, not everyone wants to go to the US now," he says.