Noida-based IT major HCL Tech
will hire close to 12,000 freshers for FY22 as the company is looking at a robust deal pipeline with demand recovering, said VV Apparao, Chief Human Resources Officer.
In an interaction with Moneycontrol on Wednesday, Apparao said: “We are now doing a bottom-up exercise in terms of the amount of fresher intake that we have to do (for next year). We are going through that review process. I think it would take four weeks before we can finalise that.”
“But it won’t be less than what it is this year. We will maintain the 10,000-12,000 count for next year as well,” he added. So far, the company has on-boarded 3,000 freshers, and expects another 9,000 to join in the next two quarters.
Its peers TCS and Infosys hired 40,000 and 16,500 freshers, respectively, for FY21.
COVID-19 concerns and bounce-back
HCL Tech's hiring cycle is from January to May. The company could not finish student hiring before May as the pandemic hit and universities closed.
Some IT companies had suspended lateral hiring and deferred fresher on-boarding in Q1 FY21 due to the uncertainty over the pandemic. This resulted in a net decline in headcount of IT firms to 9,000 in Q1.
However, starting Q2 FY21, companies have witnessed demand returning to pre-COVID-19 levels, with deal pipelines reflecting the same. TCS signed deals worth $8.6 billion in Q2 and Infosys worth $3.15 billion, its highest deals in a quarter.
, too, reported the highest-ever deal pipeline for the quarter ending September 2020, with a 20 percent increase compared to the previous quarter. The company will continue to chase more projects in the coming quarters as well, Apparao said.
This translates to a need for more talent for these projects, especially, digital. So there is a need more lateral hiring as well, he said.
Lateral hiring plans
Lateral hiring will be a mix of niche skills in new-age technologies and generic skills. Generic skills include basic knowledge of software development like coding and testing, without any specialisation that some roles require.
HCL Tech did not disclose the number of lateral hiring intake planned as it changes, depending on the deal pipeline to be executed.
Explaining about the lateral talent landscape, Apparao said: “Generic skills are available in the market and you don’t have to train them. It could be entry level, mid-level and slightly above junior level at competitive price points.”
“What is not available in the market is the Mode 2 (new generation services) kind of skills in the areas of digital, analytics, cloud, cybersecurity, IoT (Internet of Things),” he pointed out.
According to him, these skills, even when available, come at a very high price and take more lead time to join the firm, costing them project opportunities.
This is a challenge when companies are looking to win projects and need to show clients that they have the talent pool to handle them.
So the company has accelerated its reskilling programme since the pandemic to address this issue and that helped improve the internal fulfillment rate. “Our internal fulfillment rates in FY21 (new skills area) compared to FY20, if I see, has almost doubled,” he added.
Reducing the dependency has given the company more control and tap into the new-age opportunities that will otherwise be lost to them, he added.