Hyderabad: The year 2017 was nothing less than a nightmare for techies in Hyderabad as the IT sector witnessed large-scale layoffs and growth in unemployment. More than 5,000 employees were shown the door in Hyderabad alone. Big companies like Cognizant, Tech Mahindra, Wipro, Infosys and Verizon resorted to layoffs, leaving thousands of employees jobless.
Earlier this year across the country, Wipro sent out about 600 employees, Cognizant more than 6,000 and Infosys reportedly 9,000. Towards the yearend, Verizon fired more than 900 employees and Bank of America turned out more than 100. While some companies sent away their staff citing performance review, others like Verizon employed bouncers to implement its sacking programme. Mr Kiran Chandra from ForIT, the forum for IT employees, said, “It was definitely not a good year for the IT workforce, especially with the sense of precariousness going very high in the industry. The way in which the managements have resorted to all kinds of inhumane treatments is unanticipated.”
However, 2018 is also not expected to be a cakewalk. According to Experis IT Employment Outlook Survey in October, “The collective number of layoffs that the IT giants are contemplating is way higher than what the Indian IT industry has ever witnessed and this trend is likely to continue for the next 6-12 months.”
It also said that techies in India would have decreased job opportunities till March, due to automation and digitisation reducing traditional works. Mr Sundeep Kumar Makthala, global president of Telangana Information Technology Association (TITA), said, “The trend of laying off employees during performance review is likely to continue in 2018 as well and techies have to adapt to new tools. Owing to reducing manual intervention, people who cannot upskill themselves will be shown the door.”
However, Mr Chandra had doubts on whether automation had already taken off, or whether companies were using it as a cause to retrench employees. He said, “Automation will have an impact on the IT industry undisputedly and job losses will be high, but has it already begun is a serious question. More than automation taking the toll, using it as cause, IT companies are on a wage restriction spree. Tech Mahindra has remo-ved so many people and now most of the same portfolios have been made available on portals with lower wages.”
On the other hand, employees like never before reached out to the labour department and courts. While the labour department closed the plea of Cognizant in favour of the employees, it gave a deadline of January 3 to the company to reach an amicable solution. “In 2018, with tough challenges ahead, techies need to organise themselves effectively and ensure that labour rights are protected,” Mr Chandra added.