Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Skills Crunch

Skills Crunch
It is frightening see to how major IT companies are looking to multiply their employees strength by hundred of thousands in the coming months and years. While the whole logistics issue of ramping up infrastructure to make them productive is mind boggling, what is a big challenge even before that is the whole hiring process. It is true that , every job opening posting still elicits thousands of resumes, finding qualified resources out of that is a real problem. I have been working very closely with Indian IT market in the last fews months and is feeling the skills crunch firsthand.

And, I hear this problem is across all disciplines of IT industry from the leading edge to low edge. Every year, India churns out several thousands of graduates but the employability of these freshly minted graduates is questionable. Industry needs to invest couple of years to make them employable and by the time they are ready, they jump ship which is another major problem afflicting Indian IT industry.

Because of the hyper activity in the market now, attrition is all time high in the IT industry. People switch jobs for all kinds of reason and the IT head hunters welcome them with open arms, no questions asked. This constant churning has led to a whole new industry of companies that specialize in recruiting in boat loads and are having a field day.

IT industry badly needs a neutral governing body that can give out reliable information about candidates confidentially. Currently, the dependability of resumes received rather is low and several fronts from skills to work experience. This leads to lot unnecessary cautionary activities jacking up the hiring cost. I constantly hear about new hires being 'let go / fired' within first few months as the information provided by them cannot be reliably verified.

Like anything else, there is no short term fix for this problem, but the Indian Government and the IT industry must put their heads together now to chalk out some resolution. It has to start from the educational institutions to refocus curriculum on learnability / employability to infrastructure and a whole lot more.

Now, who is taking this to-do?


  1. During 1989, I still remember a leading IT provider, using a detective agency to verify the family details, background. My mother was surprised to find a tie-clad person, verifying the ration card, and within hours the usual ration card folks turn-up. No ID mechanism was used then to check.

    Also by virtue of having the passport, one could claim to be genuine!

    The facts today are number games, rather than the quality. There is always one sentence in the presentation to the client, saying, we have qualified trained people available rightaway, to jump into the project! (forget that HR folks, will be running around for Just in Time hire! only after the contract comes thru).

    There are issues like taking advantage of a person, giving him/her low designation with no hikes from previous jobs, at times even promising onsite trips (how untrue!) and they fall for it.

    I remember a person in Bangalore with a bigger IT co, joins a smaller co while on 2 weeks leave to test out the new co. Doesnt like them, and returns back to work. I dont think such things would be possible today, that HR folks call employees at their desk to verify!


  2. On the contrary, I've been trying to find employment with some of the India majors in preparation for our R2I later this year and none of their websites seems intuitive to work with. I even blogged about how Infosys' "contact us" section has email addresses that don't work.
    IBM on the other hand keeps emailing me about openings in Tivoli and other infrastructure openings whereas I'm more of a mainframe/.net/BI guy. One wonders who wrote this skillset matching software.

  3. Ram,
    Do you know that these grads are being hired and offered while they are in the III year of B.E/B.Tech itself.A few corporates are doing a parallel course for them while these grads do the IV year like soft skills etc,etc. I think these are good initiatives to tackle employability issues with fresh grads

  4. Some initiative was spoken from NASSCOM for authenticity of employees database, but no news after that

  5. Vijay
    Don't know.. but don't think the situation is any better.. I think it has gotten only worse..

    There is nothing like 'networking'.. Work your channels.. people of hiring at kind of levels..

    That's is good initiative.. much more of it needed.. NASSCOM db.. sounds like a neat idea..

  6. Hi Ram

    I am not sure, whether you worked in India during 1990s then went to USA and returned back? (I did ;-) )

    Today the co I work for, ensures, that the hired folks, pay for themselves for the training at Rs 40K, thru a 3rd party EDGE and adds it to the salary to around 3L, ensuring the initial bench (global resource pool) time is lower than 4 months! Voila! more ROI.


  7. Vijay
    Yes.. little longer but the time line is about the same..
    Hmm.. that's interesting.. get the employees to pay for their training.. I feel more needs to be done in this area though.. right from the college /school period..

  8. About 15 years ago Body Shops, a place where people are rented to overseas companies, for a price were popular in India. Such Body shops paid a pittance to the employees. Such employees who came to U.S really struggled and got their way up in life.

    Now churning out computer engineers and software engineers has become an institutionalized profession through out India. While IIT graduates never have trouble finding a high paying job in India or overseas, those who, with the intent to fetch a job some how get a University degree. They lie in the bottom of the totum pole and if they have to progress income and perqs they have to change jobs frequently. There are so many unscrupulous software outsourcing businesses in India who take undue advantage of the youngsters by paying low salary but work them to death. This is why there is so much turnover in software industry.

    Can someone suggest an answer to this malaise in our employer community?