Bengaluru: Despite denials by government officials, the threat of automation to people's jobs is real. Infosys on Friday said that it has released 3,600 people during April-June quarter.
“We have been disclosing the number of people that we have had to release because of automation. We have released more than 3,600 people this quarter,” said Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka, while announcing the company's quarterly financial results.
The term 'release' is routinely used by technology companies for referring to retrenchment of employees.
To drive home Infosys' focus on automation, Mr Sikka arrived at the Infosys campus in Bengaluru in a driverless cart that was built indigenously at the company's facility in Mysuru.
While the cart was built by Maini Industries, Infosys had developed the autonomous driving technology used to drive the cart in association with IIT, Delhi.
“This is one of the examples of the training we provide to our employees. We have built that autonomous system in the car to teach our employees how to build autonomous driving technology,” said Mr Sikka.
In fiscal 2016-17, Infosys had fired 11,000 employee as an increased use of automation makes human effort redundant.
In addition to posing a threat to existing jobs, automation and artification intelligence has also reduced to the number of employees a company requires to run its business. “The rate of growth in hiring is slowing down. However, we continue to add more people to the company,” Mr Sikka said.
Despite hiring 8,600 people during the quarter under reveiw, Infosys’ net headcount has “decreased slightly”.
With the advances in automation technology, the Infosys CEO feels that more and more of commoditising jobs have been vanishing. “There is a need for companies to move towards next generation jobs and exploring new areas of opportunities,” he said.
In the last quarter, he said the company trained over 3,000 people on AI technology and of this 2,100 people were trained on Infosys's next-generation AI platform, Nia. The IT giant has also trained more than 1.40,000 employees on Design Thinking.
While the increased use of automation is good for shareholders as per capita revenue has risen due to lower costs, it is expected to cause a huge upheaval in the Indian job market as thousands of employees are still unprepared to weather this onslaught.
Speaking about the increase in the of rate of attrition in the April-June quarter, Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka said that it was due to employees leaving the company to pursue opportunities in higher education.
He, however, said that he was satisfied with the overall attrition and continues focus heavily on high performer attrition.
The company has been increasingly hiring in the US not just because of the visa regulations but also to match the nature of work that's changing and how clients are expecting transformative technology ton take place....