Many lost jobs in 2022, but IT sector will pull through
The pandemic heralded drastic changes in work practices and execution, perhaps forever.
BENGALURU: 2022 was blessed with dipping Covid-19 cases, which reignited economic engines, reopened travel and encouraged people to reimagine better times. However, the year was marred by certain unprecedented events that pushed businesses into stormy seas.
The Ukraine War’s far-reaching ramifications stretched over world polity and economy. Likewise, impending recession fears, with a decline in global spending and economic activities, hit sectors, markets, and the lives of common people. Even the resilient IT sector could not shield itself from the tremulous situation that best describes 2022.
While the IT sector braced itself during the pandemic, the shaky 2022 created hurdles of its own, especially with project execution, in turn hitting revenues, prompting executives to reallocate resources, replan strategies and rethink hiring. Amid recession insecurities, especially in the US, layoffs have mounted in the tech sector globally, with large corporations such as Microsoft, Twitter and Meta reducing workforces, and Amazon and Apple going slow on hiring. The trend is similar in India.
According to tech information platform Inc42, as of December 8, 17,989 employees were laid off by 52 Indian startups, while globally, 1,35,000 employees were affected globally.“India’s technology sector has been hit hard by the effects of the global economic downturn. Tech funding slowed down, hiring in technology declined, the market faced layoffs and salary hikes were corrected after last year’s (2021) inflated numbers,” Quess IT Staffing Chief Executive Officer Vijay Sivaram says.
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The pandemic heralded drastic changes in work practices and execution, perhaps forever. While work-from-home became the norm then, it transcended into hybrid work models and flexible options later. “With life returning to normal, employees are demanding continued flexibility and work-from-home options. But concerns over loss of productivity in such an environment has forced employers to request their staff to return to office full time, while some continue to offer hybrid options with a minimum of three days in office,” explains Sivaram.
The pain point of moonlighting led Wipro to fire 300 staffers and Infosys to warn its employees against having “double lives”. Karnataka IT-BT Minister Dr CN Ashwath Narayan called the practice “cheating”.
On the brighter side, however, significant disruptions worldwide have made India realise that it must diversify its technology partnerships and develop more home-grown capabilities, which will boost its growth trajectory. This is likely to create a surge in hiring demand for the industry.
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“Though there have been layoffs, specific sectors like IT have had both sides. Cost optimisation has led to certain segments reducing the workforce, but the incredible number of startups working on niche products have hired people possessing next-gen technological skills,” says AscentHR Vice-President (Growth Initiatives) Prabhakar S.
“The industry has been instrumental in strengthening India’s digital capabilities through strides in deep tech, AI and AR, offering an entirely new gamut of opportunities in terms of jobs and value creation. Despite experiencing phenomena such as great resignation and quiet quitting, businesses are on their way to breaking the code, with a 2 per cent improvement in total employee experience in the IT/IT-BPM sector over the previous year. Despite global IT businesses’ large-scale employment cuts and hiring freezes, the Indian IT sector is expected to buck the world trend and continue to hire next year, particularly in specialised digital skills,” concludes Yeshasvini Ramaswamy, Serial Entrepreneur and CEO, of Great Place to Work India.