Rebutting reports of mass layoffs in the Indian information technology industry over the last month or so, industry association Nasscom has said the companies are still hiring, having added about 1.7 lakh jobs in the 2016-17 period, and can be expected to hire about 1.5 lakh employees this year.
"We categorically reject the reports of mass layoffs in the sector. FY2017 saw 1.7 lakh people being added, while in Q4 alone, the gross hiring was of over 50,000 by top five companies," Press Trust of India quoted Nasscom president R Chandrashekhar as saying.
He also explained that Nasscom had spoken to its members who assured the body that reports of unemployment headaches were exaggerated and that the sector will still hire people this year.
Nasscom underscored what the point companies like Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant, Tech Mahindra and IBM have been making about the layoff reports, saying the best way for employees to retain their jobs would be to "re-skill". The body said the world was moving towards automation and digital services and employees will have to "re-skill or perish".
Backing the IT firms' stand that the sackings – that these are much less in number than reported and are based on the annual performance appraisal - Chandrashekhar said, "Performance-linked workforce realignment impacts about 0.5-3 per cent of the talent pool and there is no change this year. It is something every company does to stay competitive and have the right skill sets."
Nasscom chairman Raman Roy also stressed the importance of re-skilling, especially at the time when the industry is embracing new technologies for cost optimisation and better efficiency.
"The need for re-skilling talent is a reality that we have to address. To keep up in a fast-evolving technology environment, the IT industry must reinvent itself by re-skilling its employees in new and upcoming technologies," he added.
Meanwhile, IT giant Cognizant, which was said to be laying off 6,000 employees in India to hire workers in the United States, has now said that it is not sacking employees. Instead, it revealed that it would re-skill 1,00,000 employees in FY2018 so that they can be in tune with new technologies and automation.
"We are talking about 3-D printing happening in manufacturing, in financial services people are talking about blockchain, media and entertainment industry people are talking about virtual reality, augmented reality, so on and so forth. All these are enabled by the technology," Ramkumar Ramamoorthy, senior vice-president of corporate marketing at Cognizant, told Moneycontrol.
"So if somebody were to get employed by the market today the opportunities and the options that are available to the individual today, the canvas is much wider more enriching."