Tata Consultancy Services, India’s largest software exporter, hired 100,000 freshers in the financial year 2021-22, more than in any other year.
That means an average of 8,300 trainees joining the company every month.
This is not merely a mathematical calculation: hiring of freshers at the top IT companies is no longer a compressed affair confined to the campus season.
The unprecedented attrition has made sure that hiring is an ongoing concern at TCS, spread over large parts of the year.
It is no different at Infosys, the second largest after TCS.
Tests are conducted every week and on most weekends as well.
The process runs on a loop week after week: tests are evaluated, the successful candidates move to the next level of assessment, and offer letters are issued.
By the time one batch gets its induction and orientation done, a few more have already taken the first round of tests.
Attrition at all-time high
There is no other way. Attrition has reached an all-time high at both the companies.
TCS bled at a rate of 17.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021-22, to compound the 15.3 per cent outgo in the previous quarter.
Infosys lost 27.7 per cent of its people in the fourth quarter and 25.5 per cent in the one before.
Indeed, it is attrition season in the wider IT sector in the country.
Everyone is therefore making a beeline for the campuses.
Offer letters are pouring in, and yet at least 40 percent of those who receive offers choose not to join.
Unsurprisingly, recruiters are casting their nets wide, figuratively as well as geographically.
Three years ago, TCS would have reached out to maybe 500 institutes for hiring.
Now it taps nearly 4,000, thanks to the TCS National Qualifier Test (NQT), whose launch in FY2018-19 was a big part of the company’s revamp of its hiring mechanism.
“NQT has allowed us to democratize our fresher hiring process.
"It gives us reach; now we can reach out to talent across India irrespective of the colleges they come from.
"Now we can reach out to remote places, where probably we could not have had access earlier,” said Girish Nandimath, global head, talent acquisition, TCS.
Democratisation of hiring
To a large extent, TCS now does not necessarily look to accredit institutes.
Before NQT, it had a strong accreditation policy.
Each institute would be evaluated.
“Our belief is that if there is a student out there with the required skills and credentials and they can take this test and qualify, then they get on to their next level of selection,” said Nandimath.
However, he said TCS also recognises its longstanding relationships with some institutes and starts its placement season with them.
If TCS has NQT, Infosys banks on InfyTQ to hire in large numbers. Launched in February 2019, InfyTQ today boasts a million registered users.
It helps learners across colleges understand the foundational principles of computing, programming, databases, and data structures.
It might also lead them to an Infosys Certified Software Programmer certification and, along with it, an offer to join Infosys as a Systems Engineer.
“Each year, Infosys hires a few thousand people through InfyTQ and the platform has helped us identify some high-quality programmers and software engineers,” said Richard Lobo, executive VP, head HR, Infosys.
Each year, about 150,000 students take up the InfyTQ certification assessment after they have gone through the structured learning content.
And each year, Infosys has been able to extend offers to around 3,000 programmers and software engineers through this channel.
More importantly, like TCS NQT, InfyTQ also democratizes hiring. Lobo says that the platform is open to any aspiring learner who wants to get into the IT industry.