BENGALURU: For better or worse, automation is the new buzzword in the IT industry. More and more companies are quietly reducing their workforce - especially the lower rung - as many of the processes are getting automated.
The IT and ITes industry which employs an estimated 35 lakh people maybe looking at a serious downsizing as companies are looking at delegating many of the repetitive jobs to automated systems.
“Areas like testing and call centre management are undergoing rapid automation. A company like IBM for instance has 35,000 people maintaining their 200,000 servers. These things can be automated. For now, any skill that requires high order thinking or application of logical mind will require manual intervention, but automation for that may come in the future,” said Balakrishna Adiga, who is an advisor for several large companies and worked with IBM earlier.
For companies, the move is welcome as it saves them cost, while boosting efficiency at the same time. The automation of course has hit entry-level workforce the hardest, but it is not as if senior and middle rung employees are spared either. “When a company gets a new project, senior level employees are immediately moved on to the project to put the best face forward in front of the client. But as time goes on, the revenues will not match up and they take the seniors out first as they cost more and bring in the freshers,” Adiga explained.
This is where senior employees take the hit. Many employees post 40 find themselves unemployable and have to be extremely good or equipped with a specific skill set to get a job. Otherwise, companies find it easier to hire three freshers for one tenth of the senior’s salary and willing to work 16 hours a day.
Mergers and acquisitions
The hard truth is that layoffs are inevitable during mergers and acquisitions. Whether a company is merged or bought by another, shedding of divisions, verticals are inevitable and employees along with it. Sometimes, companies are acquired for specific technologies leaving those working on other projects out in the cold.
Y2K, SAP, .com boom are some of the has-beens that anyone with basic idea of IT knows. Re-skilling has now become so necessary that anyone who does not acquire new skills on their job become quickly redundant. Cloud-based models, Internet of Things, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, 3D Printing are some of the areas that IT sector is moving towards. IT professionals agree that if employees do not re-skill, it becomes very difficult for the company to keep them on.