Talent may be the biggest challenge for many technology companies in the current red-hot job market but not so for TCS, one of India's largest job providers. According to its COO N Ganapathy Subramaniam, the company’s move to train people from the ground up and promote them based on competencies instead of hiring expensive people is paying off, at a time when its rivals are struggling to retain talent.
With five lakh employees, TCS is one of the largest recruiters in the country. It hired 40,000 freshers in FY21 and is likely to hire in similar numbers this year. In addition, the company's attrition rate continues to be one of the lowest at 8.6 percent for the quarter ending June 2021.
In an interview with Moneycontrol, Subramaniam said, “I would agree that there is a great demand for talent. But talent supply is not constrained in India. It's free, it's available and most IT companies, took it upon ourselves to train people and essentially hold ourselves accountable for the skills that we all need."
“Two years ago, we just took it upon ourselves and said that we are not going to go and acquire people. We are going to train our people ground up, upskill because there are no legacy people but only legacy technologies,” explains Subramaniam.
The company has been hiring 40,000 freshers over the last two years and is set to hire similar or more numbers this year as well from campuses. There are a couple of things TCS focuses on to ensure that they not only have the talent trained but also the ability to find the talent on-demand.
TCS’ National Qualifier Test (NQT) comes into the picture here. Close to 2 lakh people had registered for the test and the company had selected only 40,000. The company can select more people when needed from the pool of talents it has access to.
“Why did we go for NQT? It is not that we just go and hire people based on their CV. Everything is digitised and we exactly know this person took this much time to answer this question. This module one performed well and this module he didn't perform well. So we could actually paint a picture of your quotient map for all people who took our tests,” explained Subramaniam.
Through this database, the company can gauge modules people performed well and those they have not and suggest training programs available for them. “I think that the demand-supply situation is still good. It's not alarming. I think at the entry-level, we will have absolutely no problem in hiring the talent that we need,” he added.
To ensure that employees are skilled in new-age technologies, it has introduced ‘T Factor’ criteria to encourage employees to be broad and deep in certain areas of their domain and also technology. All these steps help the company keep employees relevant and skilled.
“If you really look at it, in an employee pyramid, we continued to add fresh talent from the universities at the bottom. Then we keep promoting people based on their competencies, and then some middle-level skills, I think we have enough in the middle level and we had all the people close to about 40,000-45,000 people join this, you know, both at entry-level and lateral.”
He further explained that this would give the company supply in the middle level, which is where the demand is and companies are going after. TCS’ employees too are not an exception, and according to Subramaniam, the employees are getting a lot of opportunities and are getting lured.
“Retaining them is about giving them good work, which is first. Second is, how do you make sure that they work with good people and also the environment. Third thing is, giving them reasonable money. It (retention) is a combination of all the three. We are not a fly-by-night operator. People recognise that so we are able to retain a reasonable number of people,” he added.
The company’s focus continues to be investing in people, training them, and giving them an environment in which employees, their peers, and colleagues are challenged all the time, with a competitive salary, he added. On the fresher salary front, which has been a constant, Subramaniam said, “there will be some increases here and there”. But did not share the details.