Hikes, hirings and a visa workaround: Three cheers for Infosys amid Covid gloom

Despite an uncertain business environment, Infosys has begun to get things moving on salary hikes and promotions, CEO Salil Parekh told ET Now in an interview. Plans are also afoot to start massive recruitments in many parts of the world including in India soon, he said.

The software major had frozen hikes and promotion in April for over half of its 2.4 lakh employees amid the unprecedented Covid turmoil.

While suspending hikes and promotions, Infosys had said that it would honour the job offers already extended. Keeping that commitment, the company has now begun onboarding fresher in the June-September quarter.

According to Parekh, the company had a high variable number due to the “hard work and dedication” of the employees. It plans to continue with that approach, he added.

Global rivals with a large Indian presence such as Cognizant and Capgemni have already given hikes and promotions to staff.

Infosys is adding another 12,000 employees to its US headcount of 13,000 to handle an increasing number of projects, Parekh revealed. These hirings are expected to be completed by 2022. This essentially means that the company could find itself better placed to get around visa-related hurdles regardless of whoever comes to power in the US following the November elections.

Recruitments by the company are all set to pick up in other geographies too. “We are still massively recruiting in other parts of the world as also within India. Going ahead, there will be recruitment in different geographies in addition to the large recruitment in India,” Parekh said.

Infosys has built a business and economic model that creates a full pyramid of recruitment from the college level all the way up to senior levels in India and elsewhere, Parekh explained. This model is likely to continue to work efficiently, he added.

“All of that will be looked at through this year as the economic environment around us both worldwide and in India starts to see improvement. We will make sure it is done in conjunction with that so that all the employees’ hard work and efforts are also rewarded,” he said.

Top Indian IT firms are expected to hire over 1,00,000 people locally this year, with TCS alone likely to hire around 40,000 employees. Staffing firms say that the IT hiring scene has been hurt further because a huge number of full-time roles have been replaced by gig workers.

In the past few months, hiring freezes and layoffs have been rife in India’s IT sector as company after company has been forced to cut costs amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Some like Cognizant, IBM and Accenture have also laid off thousands of technology professionals so far. More are expected to be laid off in the coming months.

Yet, IT leaders see a swift turnaround in the offing.

IT will continue to remain an attractive job market for the youth, and demand for talent will only increase with technological innovations going forward, according to TCS CEO Rajesh Gopinathan. “In absolute terms, Indian IT’s employment potential will continue to be quite strong and will relatively keep growing in pace with where we see the opportunity,” Gopinathan said at a webinar organised by LinkedIn.

Even though the sector has reported a drop in sequential revenues in the first quarter, a strong deal pipeline has kept performance better than initially expected. “My view is that through different industries, some of these large transformation partnerships will emerge. We feel we have a good pipeline. The thing to watch out for is at what pace they come,” said Parekh.

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