Traditional sector employees are facing a tough challenge as increasing use of the IT sector has snatched the jobs of these semi-skilled employees.
These are bad times for mid-level staff at India’s information technology (IT) companies. The sector is being redrawn by new-age trends such as automation, artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Emerging technology poses a big threat to traditional business of the companies so that they are forced to look for employees who are conversant with the new technological trends.
While the companies rationalise workforce, hire freshers with new-age skills at high salaries, finish certain jobs and retire employees early, the most vulnerable group is the mid-level employees. If you are a techie around 40 years of age and not in step with swiftly changing times, your professional future could be bleak. But now a ray of hope has emerged for such employees.
The companies have been trying to retrain their staff, but retraining does not work always. However, Infosys has found a novel way to retrain its staff. It is upskilling employees which will help it cut attrition and acquire future-ready workforce. Infosys is doubling pay packages for employees who successfully complete its new bridge programmes.
These help staff to shift from their existing job to one that demands higher skills. The company expects this will also reduce attrition at junior levels — the rate has been high in recent times at over 20% — and give young employees more career options, TOI has reported. Other IT companies, including TCS and Wipro, too are coming up with novel methods to reskill employees in fields like consulting, automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and to make them stay for longer durations.
Infosys has developed more than half-a-dozen bridge programmes. The bridge-to-consulting programme, which it started this year, targets young employees who, on average, have spent three years with the company.
That’s the time period after which many look for jobs in rival companies for a promotion and a fatter salary, or pursue higher studies, preferably an MBA. The programme aims to move employees to the consulting side of the business, and includes a test and a three-month curriculum. After that, the employee has to spend six months interning in a consulting project and, upon completion, the role changes and the new salary structure kicks in.
“We are focused on creating a flexible internal market place for our talent to grow instead of their leaving to join, say, an MBA course. These programmes provide people with alternative career growth opportunities,” Krish Shankar, head of human resources at Infosys, told TOI. Infosys said that employees who go through the programmes have seen their salary rise by 80-120%. Some 400 people have been trained in these programmes till date.
The company declined to disclose the base salary on which the increases have been provided. But considering that a fresh engineering graduate starts at about Rs 3.5 lakh per annum and assuming an average hike of 10% for three consecutive years, a bridge programme could take the salary close to Rs 9 lakh, similar to what an MBA graduate may receive.
“The demand for these skills will rise as we scale, and these programmes give us flexibility,” said Shankar. The bridge-to-consulting programme is also part of the company’s effort to focus more on consulting as it looks to ramp up a segment that is dominated by the likes of IBM, Capgemini, Accenture and Deloitte.