The Indian IT industry has undergone a transformative hiring change over the past year. Despite the pressures and disruptions, leading organizations across the technology spectrum are adopting new ways of attracting and supporting their workforce. Following the same trend, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), one of India’s leading IT giants, recently announced that it will follow a 25/25 model; i.e., only 25 percent of its workforce will operate from the workplace premises by 2025.
With such tectonic shifts in the working of the industry, we were keen to take a closer look at how hiring has changed in line with this evolution. In this article, we will dissect some major trends in the Indian IT recruitment landscape.
Amped up hiring activity
Nearly all job market indicators show that hiring activity has picked up pace over the past few months and is expected to continue to show healthy growth through 2021. As per the Michael Page Global Survey, 53 percent of the organizations in the Indian IT industry plan to increase their headcount this current year, whereas 60 percent are supposed to hand over increments.
As the economic activity stabilizes, most organizations have rolled back cuts in salary and bonuses. To support its growth goals this year, IT By Design (ITBD), a global IT Infrastructure management company, has put into place a comprehensive hiring plan. The organization expects to attract quality talent by offering best-in-class compensation, a healthy work environment, equal employment opportunities, and year around-employee training and learning opportunities.
Holistic hiring processes
Over the past year, hiring managers and recruiters could not interact with candidates in person. This means that the opportunities to gauge a candidate’s communication abilities, confidence, and other soft skills diminished significantly. To make up for the lost interpersonal interaction, organizations are increasingly adopting holistic tools that put candidates through rigorous evaluation processes. These include AI-powered psychometric evaluations, VR and AR-driven simulation tools to test skills, and smart video interview tools to measure and capture behavioral aspects of a candidate’s profile.
Lately, there has been a great emphasis on measuring the human side of a tech candidate. These include evaluating intangible factors such as cultural fit, desire to learn, soft skills, and teamwork. End-to-end virtual hiring tools have helped IT organizations source, screen, assess, engage, and onboard candidates in the virtual environment. Furthermore, the focus on providing candidates with the right experience has also become a top priority in the last few months.
A Distributed Workforce
As remote work gains prominence in the IT industry, a very evident relocation and decentralization of talent have also become a reality. Free from the limitations of geography, IT organizations have turned to smaller towns and cities to scout fresh talent. Talent from groups and communities previously overlooked by recruiters has also become a focus over the past year.
Adhering to the same recruitment philosophy, IT By Design follows a diversity-focused hiring approach to ensure that there is greater gender, racial, religious, and ethnic diversity in each department of the organization. All recruiters and HR professionals are trained to identify and avoid unconscious biases while evaluating all candidatures. As a result of following the best Diversity and Inclusion hiring practices, ITBD has built a truly heterogeneous workforce that includes individuals from different sexualities, generations, geographical locations, cultures, and socioeconomic statuses.
Higher demand for freelance workers
After a turbulent 2020, the gig worker community in India is now looking to the future with hope. With favorability towards remote working and demand for cost and time-efficient employment, gig workers and freelancers in the IT industry are expected to witness a resurgence in their services. This is becoming possible because organizations have warmed up to the idea of remote work and are willing to engage freelancers on high-value projects.
A NASSCOM survey saw 70 percent of the respondents from the IT industry expecting higher availability of remote work and a boost in the gig marketplace in 2021. Being the second-largest market for freelancers, India is likely to witness the increased engagement of gig workers in the digital operations of banking, healthcare, education, and entertainment industries.
Leadership and mentorship skills are in demand
Soft skills (such as communication, time management, conflict resolution, teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving) have always been in demand in the Indian IT sector. However, over the last year, leadership and mentorship skills have become coveted because of the permanent changes in work structures and processes. To help navigate these volatile times, organizations are hiring managers and leaders who are willing to train and mentor younger employees.
At ITBD, dedicated training and learning programs help employees at all levels build both soft and technical skills. All leaders and managers are trained to handle the expectations and aspirations of their team members by providing them personalized career development plans and learning opportunities.
Focus on cybersecurity and cloud computing
Alongside data analytics and machine learning, cybersecurity and cloud computing have become the top in-demand skills for tech organizations. Their demand has been spurred by the increase in the use of SaaS cloud-based products and services.
Many small and medium IT organizations have already invested in upskilling their teams in these competencies. With increased pressure on private and public data centers, building a robust security framework, reducing vulnerabilities, training non-technical staff on Threat Intelligence, and ensuring the confidentiality of business data on remote endpoints have been every IT giant’s top concern since mid-April last year.
As the Indian IT industry continues to evolve against the backdrop of the COVID-19 aftermath, one can expect newer trends to emerge in months to come. In times when the business landscape is changing at an unpredictable pace, the key to success is to be responsive to the needs and requirements of the changing times.
In such talent market dynamics, all organizations must prioritize the physical, emotional, financial, and emotional well-being of their employees to build a truly agile workforce. This aligns with what Sunny Kalia, Founder and Global CEO of IT By Design, told People Matters in a recent interview, “Companies with people focus will win in the long-run.”