Hire-Train-Deploy: Strategy of mid-sized IT companies to beat high attrition levels.

Mid-sized Indian IT firms are pulling out all the stops to attract talent amid record-high attrition levels that affect even their larger rivals.

L&T Infotech (LTI), Persistent Systems, Mindtree and Coforge, and other IT companies are working on their branding to attract freshers and lateral hires from Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, and Wipro.

In the second financial quarter ended September 2021, the software industry recorded an attrition rate of 20 percent, significantly higher than the previous quarter of the ongoing fiscal year. However, freshers are the only way out of the talent crunch for mid-sized companies.

Previously, LTI has announced to hire 5500 engineering students during the current financial year. Additionally, it is putting in place a plan to hire non-technical people and put them through a six-month training to meet the demand for specific skills.

“We are hiring another 1000 people on a hire-train-deploy basis,” said Sanjay Jalona, CEO and MD of LTI.

On the other hand, Pune-based Persistent Systems is tapping into traditional engineering talent.

Sandip Kalra, CEO of Persistent Systems, said, “There are people who are engineers by training who work in other industries. They are seeing their peers in tech receiving higher salaries, and they are good in their work.”

“These are the kind of people we are searching at in some ratio to train into the skills that we need and deploy,” he added.

He believes hiring from other IT companies is a zero-sum game and not the correct way to tackle the talent crunch.

The rise in demand for digital transformation is driven by the Covid pandemic and caused increased deal wins for India’s 45 billion USD IT Services industry and a talent crunch.

The supply of software professionals trained in advanced technologies like AI/ML, Blockchain, Low Code, No Code fell woefully short of demand. It has forced IT companies to look for traditional engineers and non-engineering graduates to fill the gap.

Recently, Mindtree announced the Edge Program, where it takes on BSc and BCA graduates and helps them earn a Master’s Degree in software engineering from BITS Pilani.

“We are upskilling our employees and have to find the other ways to increase the talent supply,” said Debashis Chatterjee, CEO of Mindtree.

Compared to its peers, Coforge has had lower attrition levels in the past two quarters. It intends to hire at least six times the number of freshers it hired two years ago.

“Our academy program, where we offer six months of training and actual work experience after onboarding freshers, has been a great success, in areas like low-code development and digital process automation,” said Anuradha Sehgal, Chief Marketing Officer, Coforge.

Coforge has taken its freshers hiring program global, including North America and Europe, along with expanding into smaller towns in India.