Smaller tech firms start hiring

Techies rejoice, jobs are back. After the biggies, other tech companies are also starting to hire. Infosys, Wipro and TCS had reversed the trend during the December quarter when they added new employees in large numbers. Other players are now following.

On Friday, Mr John Chambers, CEO of Cisco said that the company’s plans to take up the total headcount in India to 10,000 were on track. Based on the current strength of Cisco in India, this would mean 4,000 new jobs.

Meanwhile, ITC Infotech, the technology arm of cigerette major ITC has said it plans to add 1,800 employees all over India by March next year. ITC Infotech is headquartered in Bengaluru but also has offices in Hyderabad and Kolkata. Cisco too, is based in Bengaluru. Infosys and Wipro added close to 4,500 employees each during the December quarter while TCS added over 7,000 employees. These firms have announced intention to hire another 50,000 in the coming year.

IT major Cognizant had added over 10,000 employees to its rolls in the same period. BPO firms too, have announced plans to resume hiring. Genpact is expected to hire 10,000 over the coming year. Nasscom expects the technology sector to add 100,000 new jobs in the coming year.

Most of the business for these companies is from outside India, and improvements in US and European economies has resulted in better growth prospects.

Infosys to hire 15,000 people

Infosys Technologies on Thursday said it hopes to recruit 15,000 people in the days ahead and have already begun the process by visiting campuses, even as it looks for acquisitions in Europe and some non-English speaking countries.

“We are looking for acquisitions,” Infosys Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Kris Gopalakrishnan told reporters here on the sidelines of the NASSCOM India Leadership Forum on Thursday.

The company is looking at acquisitions across Europe, and non-English speaking countries and even in the U.S., Mr. Gopalakrishnan said, adding, “we are open to acquisitions everywhere…and across verticals.”

He said the company has plans to recruit from campuses for the next year. “We are already recruiting in the campuses.

In the campuses, we hope to recruit 15,000 people.”

“We already gave a raise (in salary) in October, about 8 per cent on an average in India. And what we will do in April, we will wait and see because the next cycle for increment is in April,” Mr. Gopalakrishnan said.

On pricing, he said at the moment there was no upside pricing and it would continue to be flat. “There is no upside pricing now. It will continue to be flat.

On clients shifting out of output-based pricing, he said, “that has been happening over the last several years. We are probably seeing an acceleration to try out new business models, new engagement models and I think this is a good sign because it shows that the model had become the mainstream and you will find interesting business opportunities to engage with clients in different business models.”

“Discretionary spending is happening now. But we will have to wait and see how fast it will rise, how much it will be, etc…but definitely, we are seeing signs (discretionary spending). We are seeing opportunities in transmission areas and like that,” he added.

On a query on the Chinese market, the official said that “we will have to do a lot more to take advantage of the Chinese market. We have to be there for the long-term and that is what we are doing right now. We are investing today and planning to leverage that for the long-term.”

Infosys to design informatics for US biotech company

Infosys Technologies and San Francisco-based Elan Pharmaceuticals on Thursday formally announced a partnership agreement under which the Indian software giant will design and implement a new research informatics system (RISe) for the latter.

A joint statement here said the new informatics system will help Elan Pharmaceuticals, a leading biotechnology company, accelerate its research by leveraging Infosys’ intellectual property in this field.

No financial details of the deal were announced.

“We are confident that partnering and collaborating with Infosys will create a comprehensive informatics platform for our discovery research needs,” Ajay Shah, director (research informatics at Elan Pharmaceuticals, was quoted as saying.

“We selected Infosys after a competitive proof-of-concept phase during which they fully established their credentials and investments in this changing field of discovery research, and demonstrated flexibility and maturity in terms of rapid application development using agile and scrum methodologies.

“With Infosys’ solution and engagement model, Elan will be able to lower costs for scientific operation and facilitate innovation,” added Shah.

The new research informatics to be designed by Infosys will open novel ways for Elan Pharmaceuticals to unlock disparate data spread across its in-house research labs and other commercial or public sources for its research needs.

This will also pave the way to a customized registry, and inventory and a workflow management system for biological entities, the statement said. With the help of the new informatics system, Elan and its research partners will raise their research output by efficient selection of drugs or biologics.

It will also reduce time spent on registering and experimenting with bio-entities and reduce chances of later failure. Under the agreement, Infosys will retain ownership of co-developed IP as part of the implementation.

“Elan’s vision to create a scalable research informatics system for scientists to collaborate better, dovetails perfectly with our investments in solutions that improve scientific innovation and our efforts to streamline discovery research,” said R. Arun Kumar, head of Infosys’ Global Life Sciences Practice, in the statement.

IT majors to go on a hiring spree

Ajoy Mukherjee, vice-president and head (global HR), TCS. With improving business sentiment and revival in IT spends, hiring seems to be back in full swing at major software firms including TCS

With improving business sentiment and revival in IT spends, hiring seems to be back in full swing at software firms like Infosys and TCS.

While the country’s largest IT firm, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has made gross additions of over 21,000 people till the third quarter (Q3) of financial year 2009-10, Infosys plans to hire 24,000 in 2010-11.

“We have made gross additions of over 21,000 people, including subsidiaries till Q3 FY 2010. With utilizations at optimum levels (81.1 per cent, excluding trainees), we will look at aggressive hiring in the current quarter to match our talent needs with the business demand,” TCS vice-president and head (global HR) Ajoy Mukherjee told PTI.

In Q3 of FY 2010, TCS had made 7,692 net additions, compared with a net addition of 320 in the previous quarter.

According to Monster.com India MD Sanjay Modi hiring has gained momentum as forecasted. “Within Monster, in December 2009, we saw 33 per cent growth in job postings over November and 90 per cent compared to May in the software, hardware and EDP category,” Mr. Modi told PTI

With enhanced focus on domestic market, IT firms have got back to the hiring spree.

“Infosys will be hiring 6,000 people in Q4 FY 2010. Of these, 1,500-2,000 will be lateral hires. With this, the total gross hiring in FY 2010 will be 24,000,” an Infosys spokesperson said.

India outsourcers hiring staff as US demand grows

India’s top three outsourcing companies are ramping up hiring and increasing pay as global corporations, mainly from the U.S., send more work offshore to cut costs as they emerge from the downturn.

Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro expanded their global workforces by an average of 5.1 per cent last quarter, together adding 16,701 employees, company documents show – an early sign that the Great Recession may ultimately benefit India as cost-conscious companies outsource more work, just as they did after the dot-com bust.

“Our expectations are for flat to marginally stronger IT budgets with a greater share of offshore spend,” Wipro chairman Azim Premji said in a conference call Wednesday. “Our customers remain focused on cost reduction.” he added.

The employment revival in India’s outsourcing sector, which counts on the U.S. for about 60 per cent of global sales, comes as unemployment in the U.S. stagnates around 10 per cent near a 26-year high. Inflation-adjusted wages in the U.S. last year fell 1.6 per cent, the biggest decline since 1990.

“When there is a downturn the compulsion to control costs increases,” said Dipen Shah, an analyst at Mumbai’s Kotak Securities. “The demand for off-shoring will increase. That will play to the advantage of Indian IT companies.” he added.

He argues that the cost savings from off-shoring has helped U.S. companies survive – and that’s good for the American worker.

“You might say jobs in the U.S. are getting displaced by jobs in India, but because of the value provided by Indian companies and lower costs, there are firms who are able to keep their heads above water and continue to employ their existing employees,” he said.

TCS, Infosys and Wipro, which can do everything from call center management and claims processing to software development and consulting, all reported stronger than expected results for the December quarter. Revenues and volumes grew, signalling that the cost-cutting imperative of this last, lean year may be over for India’s $60 billion software services industry.

After about a year of hiring slowdowns, all three companies are sweetening compensation as the fight to hold on to talented employees in India heats up.

Infosys offered its Indian employees an average 8 per cent pay hike in October, their first raise since April 2008, and executives said last week they are considering another raise to combat rising attrition.

“The market is heating up and we want to retain talent,” human resources director Mohandas Pai told reporters.

Infosys last week raised its gross hiring target for the second time this fiscal year, to 24,000 people.

Wipro executives said they plan to offer staffers a raise in February.

Tata Consultancy Services has paid out 150 percent of performance-lined pay – which amount to 20 to 45 per cent of compensation – for the last two quarters, and executives say they will raise salaries next quarter, after a year-long wage freeze.

As demand for workers revives, employers have begun to worry about rising staff turnover. Employees who sat tight during the downturn have started to shop around for better jobs and better salaries.

Attrition at Wipro jumped to 13.4 per cent last quarter, up from an average of 8.9 per cent over the prior three quarters. Attrition at Infosys rose to 11.6 per cent last quarter from 10.9 per cent the prior quarter. Attrition at TCS has been stable, at around 11.5 per cent, though executives say they expect that number to rise.

Indian firms say they are increasing global hiring, including in the U.S., as they pursue higher-end work like consulting. But U.S. employees remain a fraction of total staff.

TCS, for example, recently finished hiring 250 Americans for its Cincinnati campus, but U.S. employees still account for less than 0.5 per cent of the company’s global workforce.

India Inc on the road to recovery

 India Inc is on the road to recovery from the global downturn struck the world economy, with companies showing buoyancy on hiring and salary increases, a survey by global HR consultancy Mercer says.

 Corporate India is expected to witness an average eight per cent salary increase this year and as much as 50 per cent of companies have strong hiring plans for the next three months.

 India Inc’s hiring activity has picked up 4.1 per cent with IT, BPO and real estate sectors turning bullish after a long time, according to a report by job portal naurkri.com. Meanwhile, officials from several colleges say that firms such as TCS, Wipro, Infosys, HP, Cisco, Sapient, IBM, Convergys BPO and Symphony Services plan to hire in a big way.

 Infosys has announced an across-the-board salary hike and promotions with effect from October 1. When domestic salaries have risen by 8 per cent, onsite remunerations have gone up by 2 per cent. This is expected to reduce the company’s margins by 2 per cent in the next two quarters. Wipro is also looking forward to campus hiring by the end of the year.

 Outsourcing giant Accenture and India’s largest IT firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) have approached HR firms for large scale recruitment. In response to a rebound in IT outsourcing contracts, IT services provider iGate has also announced it plans to hire 1,500 people in the calendar year 2010.

 India’s fourth-biggest software exporter, HCL Technologies, said its revenues for the first quarter ended September 30, 2009, rose almost 29 per cent and is planning to hire 2,600 software engineers in October-December quarter to cope with a growing demand by expanding its existing service lines.

 The ITeS/BPO sector saw an increase of 18.3 per cent in hiring activity in September, while real estate and retail saw a rise of 36.8 per cent and 12.2 per cent, respectively.

 However, students are aware of the weak dollar and the impact of the credit crisis, and are ready to get placed with salaries ranging between Rs 1.8 lakh and Rs 5 lakh.

 Yahoo! India News

MOU signed to set up rural BPO centres in 22 AP districts

The Rural Development Department of Andhra Pradesh government and Infosys BPO Limited on Tuesday signed a Memorandum Of Understanding for setting up rural BPO centres in 22 districts across the state.

Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) Chief Executive Officer T Vijaya Kumar and Infosys BPO Limited CEO and Managing Director Amitabh Chaudhry signed the MoU in the presence of Chief Minister K Rosaiah, State Rural Development minister Vatti Vasantha Kumar and other senior officials here.

Mr. Chaudhry said that one rural BPO centre would be set up in each of the 22 districts.

“The first such BPO centre will be set up in the next six weeks which will provide a testing ground for this model. The capital expenditure and other details will be worked out subsequently,” he said.

“Over 1,000 people would get direct employment through the rural BPO centres in the next 12-15 months. Statistics suggest that direct employment generates 1.4 times indirect employment as well,” the CEO said.

He said Andhra Pradesh would be the first state where Infosys would be setting up rural BPO centres.

“We are in talks with some other states as well for similar ventures but I can’t disclose the names at this stage,” Mr. Chaudhry told PTI.

Infosys would be partnering with Desicrew Solutions Pvt. Ltd and Ruralshores Business Services Pvt. Ltd. for executing the rural BPO centres initiative in AP. Desicrew already has many rural BPO centres while Ruralshores is a leading rural BPO provider in the country.

Meanwhile, the Rural Development Department has also signed an MoU with the Life Insurance Corporation of India for implementing the ‘Abhayahastham’ co-contributory pension scheme for members of the women self-help groups.

SERP CEO T Vijaya Kumar and LIC managing director Thomas Mathew signed the MoU.

The scheme is slated to be launched from November 1, Andhra Pradesh Formation Day, to benefit 1.25 crore members of over nine lakh SHGs.

SERP will be the nodal agency for implementing the pension scheme while LIC will be the fund manager.

The rural BP centres to be set up by Infosys will be used to data storage and record maintenance of the pension scheme beneficiaries.

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Infosys Foundation to spend Rs 5 crore for AP flood victims

A file picture of Infosys CEO Kris Gopalakrishanan. Photo: PTI

A file picture of Infosys CEO Kris Gopalakrishanan. Photo: PTI

The Infosys Foundation has come forward to spend a sum of Rs five crore on relief and rehabilitation works for the victims of recent floods in Andhra Pradesh.

Infosys local head Narasimha gave this assurance to state Chief Minister K Rosaiah, during a meeting the Congress leader held with heads of various IT companies here on Wednesday.

The Chief Minister appealed to the IT companies to extend liberal help to the flood victims.

“This was an unprecedented calamity that stuck five districts of the state, with Mahbubnagar and Kurnool being the worst-affected,” Mr. Rosaiah said.

“We are trying to do our best, but community participation is very essential. I request all of you to have a look at this tragedy from a humanitarian angle. My only request is that you all join in supplementing the government’s efforts,” the Chief Minister said.

K Srini of Microsoft, Srinivas Peddi of IBM, Rajanna of TCS, K Bidhan of Nasscom, Kiran of HCL attended the meeting in which principal secretaries Sameer Sharma (Information Technology) and Sam Bob (Industries) were also present.

.Nilekani: Unique Identification number will benefit the poor

NEW DELHI: The recently constituted Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) headed by Nandan Nilekani, former co-Chairman of the IT major Infosys, would aim at devising a system through which the identity of a person could be established through just a call from a mobile phone.

Explaining the project at a lecture here, Mr. Nilekani said that since its objective was to help the poor in particular to access the benefits of various government schemes with greater ease, the aim was to develop a system whereby the identity of a person could be established through just a call from a mobile phone.

“If any agency wants to confirm the identify of a person, it would have to just take the fingerprint of the person on a cell phone and send it across to a central database and receive authentication within seconds.”

Instead of a card, the UIDA would only provide a number to every citizen linked to a person’s demographic and biometric information. At the time of the issue of the number, the Authority would seek certain basic information such as the name, date of birth, place of birth, gender, and the address of the individuals and take their photograph and fingerprints.

The database would be developed in partnership with the government and private agencies, such as mobile service providers, cooking gas outlets, passport offices, NREGA and PDS authorities. “The moment a person comes in contact with any of the partner agencies, their details would be collected and the unique identification number would be issued. Once a person gets the number, he or she would have to just quote it on approaching another service provider.”

The aim of the project was to be provide a robust system to eliminate duplicate and fake identities, apart from verification and authentication of the identity in an easy manner, Mr. Nilekani said. The system would be developed in such a way that whenever a partner agency sends the data of an individual for registration, the central database would perform a search on key demographic and biometric attributes so that there was no duplication.

Noting that the present situation of multiple databases gave individuals “an incentive” to provide different personal information to different agencies, he said that since the mechanism for de-duplication in the UID system would ensure that the residents would have only one chance to be in the database, the individuals would provide accurate data. “The incentives for giving correct information would become especially powerful as benefits and entitlements would be linked to UID.”

Giving the lecture at the 67th foundation day celebrations of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Mr. Nilekani said the UIDAI planned to start issuing the identification numbers in 12 to 18 months and cover 600 million citizens over the next four years.

While the largest such database currently available anywhere in the world covered only 120 million people, the one being set up in India would cover 10 times more than that figure, he said. “It is certainly a gigantic task with several technological challenges. But, we will do it.”

Infosys among world’s 100 fastest growing cos: Fortune

PTI

New York: IT bellwether Infosys Technologies, along with Internet major Google and software giant Apple, has been named among the world’s 100 fastest growing companies by American publication Fortune.

The league of 100 is topped by Canada-based Research In Motion, the maker of Blackberry phones.

The list also features Cognizant Technology Solutions, headed by India-origin Chief Executive Francisco D’Souza. Infosys is placed at the 100th place while Cognizant is ranked 90.

Apple and Google are at 39th and 68th spots, respectively.

Writing about Infosys, the magazine said, “India’s No 2 IT firm counts Goldman Sachs and UBS among its 570 clients”.

Fortune noted that Cognizant attributes a part of its growth to expansion in India and China. Other companies in the list include Nasdaq OMX Group (42), Amazon.com (52) and Dreamworks Animation SKG (63).