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Hiring in Indian IT sector to see an uptick this year

The industry witnessed positive growth in February for the first time after Covid-19

Wipro-IT-Park-building-office-employees-workers-industry-1-Bhanu Representational image | Bhanu Prakash Chandra

Indian IT industry is expected to witness a surge in demand for skills leading to a sharp growth in hiring this year. The sector is currently at the intersection of some significant global strategic shifts, all of which bode well for the industry and employment scenario. Experts say that hiring in the Indian IT sector is expected to grow by at least 10 to 12 per cent in 2021 backed by an uptick in demand due to digitalisation, increased spending on cloud infrastructure and on account of upgrading the status of India from a service hub to a knowledge hub. 

During the pandemic, the importance of digitisation has assumed utmost significance and will usher in a demand for skilled IT professionals. "Digitalisation projects undertaken by BFSI, retail, pharma, education and manufacturing sectors has pushed the demand further for advanced technical skills including cyber security, web technologies, data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning. About 95 per cent of organisations are either setting up cloud infrastructure or upgrading it that has led to an increase in demand for cloud talent. A significant trend emerging in the IT sector is transitioning from a service hub to a knowledge hub focusing on R&D, which sets the demand for higher order thinking skills, including creating, evaluating and analysing,” pointed Sumit Kumar, Vice President- NETAP, TeamLease.

As per the recent Naukri Hiring Outlook survey, the rise of data, digitisation and automation have caused an irreversible transformation in the way companies have adapted during the post pandemic era. The hiring in the IT software and software services industry registered a record growth of  plus 33 per cent in February compared to January because of the increased adoption of digital technologies in India. Even on a year-on-year level, the IT industry saw an uptick of  plus 12 per cent in February. Though hiring activities in the IT industries were growing sequentially, the industry witnessed a positive growth in February for the first time after Covid-19.

“As per the latest Naukri Hiring Outlook survey around 88 per cent IT recruiters have confirmed that new jobs will be created in the coming months. This confirms that the wave of digitisation will spread rapidly,” observed Pawan Goyal, Chief Business Officer, Naukri.com

HR experts believe that the Indian IT sector has started hiring briskly for skills such as full stack developers, cloud engineers and architects, cyber security experts in IT infrastructure, big data analytics, etc. “IT companies have loosened their purse strings in 2021. They need skilled people quickly to cater to the spurt in demand. We see well-funded tech startups hiring skilled IT professionals in large numbers. At the same time, the IT services companies are back in hiring mode and are backed by growth in demand for their services from the US and Europe. Companies have realised the need of digital transformation and have budgeted their IT spends for 2021,” remarked Aditya Narayan Mishra, director and CEO of CIEL HR Services.

Market analysts feel that as a progressively larger proportion of the population gets vaccinated in the US, coupled with the stimulus package, it could help chug the wheels of the US economy, eventually leading to higher demand, triggering a mini boom factor that eventually drives the demand for IT projects. 

“The trend towards higher automation on all aspects of business will result in a wide swath of investments in IT projects. The crucible of sustained economic growth is data analytics and all the assorted big data technologies. Aggregated together, 2021-22 should see sustained growth in both revenues and employment of Indian IT industry,” said Alok Shende of Ascentius Consulting.

Undoubtedly, the Covid-19 pandemic was a great disruptor in the IT sector where the immediate focus was on streamlining roles and making the organisations lean. This also led companies to rethink their organisation design. The current year has seen a demand for roles that are an amalgamation of two or more requirements. While customising talent with organisational need is an internal process, the hunt for good talent has started. IT jobs in different industries are showing a differential pace of recovery. While the large enterprises are slowly opening up the previously on hold or frozen hiring requirements, technology start-ups have also increased their hiring pace. 

At the same time, the pandemic year saw a huge set of layoffs that has resulted in a great supply of quality engineers and developers in junior roles in the talent pool. There's also a huge opportunity to hire freshers as campus placements got impacted and delayed due to Covid. 

“The supply of good talent, especially the developers, is still trickling in. The talent that is open to hire need not be the talent that the companies are seeking to hire or is the best fit, especially from a skill perspective. With respect to tech stacks, the demand has increased for Android developers, full stack developers as more and more engineers are moving into AI and ML. There's an abundant supply of folks well versed in Java tech but fewer in JavaScript. With increased social media presence and tool-based hiring, the best bet has been so far to go with referrals. They always end up giving a high Return over Investment (ROI) for both the hiring team and the organisation. As we can always tap on great talent who are not actively seeking out,” pointed out Aruna Banerjee, vice president-people and culture at Quintype. 

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