Monday, April 01, 2013

Lack of entry-level talent worries IT companies like Infosys and Wipro

Indian companies are increasingly complaining about the lack of quality talent at the entry level and more so in the IT/ITeS (Information Technology / IT-enabled services) space which recruits fresh graduates in huge numbers. According to a research conducted by a consulting firm, the findings of which were exclusively shared with TOI, only students from tier 1 engineering colleges, like the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology)and NITs (National Institutes of Technology), which constitute 4.5% of the overall engineering graduates, are fit to work in software products firms like Microsoft and Google given the kind of skills these companies need.

On the other hand, 45% of students from tier 1, 2 and 3 colleges are employable by IT/ITeS services companies like Infosys and Wipro, reflecting the hiring challenges these technology firms grapple with in a fastchanging industry. Overall in 2012, nearly 5.1 million students graduated in India, out of which 45.7% were from the arts stream, said Knowledgefaber, a Bangalore-based research and consulting firm.

Engineering and technology graduates made up 356,000 of the overall talent pool at the graduate level. However, Knowlegefaber's research found that there are huge regional imbalances in the availability of engineering graduates. Four states (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra) together have more than 70% of these graduates. To add to this concern is the question raised on the quality of engineering schools in India and the quality of graduates coming out of these colleges, said the research.

"Customer needs are changing and technology developments are placing greater demand on the industry. Outstanding interface skills, deeper domain knowledge and awareness of the business context has become a 'must have' for today's professionals. Not all colleges that churn out students have been able to build these skills into their curriculum, thereby necessitating companies to bridge the skill gaps and bring about standardization of capability, among students hired from different parts of the country," said Hari T, chief people officer at IT services firm Mahindra Satyam.

This is the reason why companies will have to hunt for talent beyond the IITs and NITs. "Across industries, companies are looking to hire from tier 1 engineering colleges but the competition is very high and it represents less than 5% of the overall talent pool. We feel it is best recommended to look at talent in tier 2 and 3 cities," said Amit Goel, CEO, Knowledgefaber.

Computer science and IT accounts for nearly 32.5% of the fresh engineering talent in India while electronics and mechanical stream comes in second and third with 21.8% and 17.7% of students opting for these streams, respectively.

Sangeeta Lala, Senior VP & Co-founder at TeamLease Services, said, "IT graduate freshers are not usually skilled with new technologies like cloud computing, making them a less preferred option for companies. These companies would then look to internal scaling or experienced candidates who are readily deployable with the knowledge of new technologies." Many IT firms have set up huge training facilities to help these graduates scale up, which experts say is the way forward. Also, they have facilitated tailor-made courses to bring about the right talent on board.

"Through new hybrid models, corporates are sponsoring academic institutionspecific courses, selecting the students as per their needs, providing the content and course material related to their industries and business, which is actually increasing the possibilities of employment for students," said Sunil Goel, MD, GlobalHunt India, a recruitment firm.

Source: The Economic Times, April 1, 2013

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