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article imageIndia's IT layoffs top 56,000 and it's not over yet

By Karen Graham     Dec 27, 2017 in Technology
New Delhi - For IT Techs in India, 2017 has not been a good year. For a number of years, India has been one of the world's top employment generators, but hiring has plummeted and layoffs are hitting companies, big and small.
In November, Digital Journal's James Walker, our very own Techie, talked about the growing demand for automation and AI in the workplace, and the pronounced effect this will have on the workforce. "People in primarily administrative roles will start to find themselves under threat as AI develops new capabilities," he wrote.
India’s $160 billion IT industry has laid off more than 56,000 employees this year alone, and more layoffs are expected as IT companies reassess their bottom line and work to optimize their workforce.
In India, digital transformation and automation has brought about a profound "disruption in traditional roles which means that most of the IT firms found themselves reassessing the capability of the talent pool to stay market relevant,” Arun Paul, vice-president of human resources at Incedo, an IT service management company, told Quartz.
Infosys has the largest corporate university in the world  located on its Mysore campus.
Infosys has the largest corporate university in the world, located on its Mysore campus.
Nikhil Kulkarni
The usual rate of attrition in most IT companies in India has been around 1.0 percent, but in 2017, the rate jumped to 2.0 to 6.0 percent, said Alka Dhingra, general manager of IT staffing at TeamLease Services. And it all seems to be based on the fear of not remaining competitive.
Reshaping the workforce
For example, Vishal Sikka, the former CEO of Infosys, a Bengaluru-based company said back in February, "Infosys cut 9,000 jobs in January. Instead of 10 people, what if we have three people to work on (a project). If we don’t have the software, then some others will take the advantage (away from us)."
Bottom line? Employees have been losing their jobs because companies were trying to justify cost optimization and efficiency while figuring out how to utilize the workforce for less mundane and routine work. This has required some companies to focus on hiring specialized talent or up-skilling existing talent.
International Tech Park Bangalore or simply ITPB (earlier known as ITPL)  developed and managed by A...
International Tech Park Bangalore or simply ITPB (earlier known as ITPL), developed and managed by Ascendas, is India’s first hi-tech park of its kind designed to provide a complete "work and play" environment for IT and technology-related businesses opened in 1998.
India's IT firms have also moved away from labor-intensive projects in the past few years towards more remote and technology-based solutions such as video conferencing, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI). Doing so has made entry-level jobs such as data entry darned near obsolete.
“The IT job market is not as lucrative as it used to be and the dream run is over for the next few years,” DD Mishra, a research director at Gartner, said. “With IT service providers feeling the heat, the job market will remain under pressure for some more time.”
Employees with niche skill sets are what is needed now, and less than 5.0 percent of India's techies are equipped to handle high-skill jobs. This means that up to one-third (700,000) of the low-skilled workers in India’s IT sector stand to lose their jobs by 2022, according to a report in September put out by HFS Research.
And it doesn't look like things will settle down for tech workers in India for at least the next several years, and while jobs will be created, there won't be a high volume of them.
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