Pune: Recent layoffs and slack recruitment may create the impression that the IT sector is expecting a slump in fortunes, but new opportunities await those willing to diversify their skill-sets, said industry experts.
Software industry body Nasscom, officials of the Software Exporters' Association of Pune (SEAP), IT students and HR consultants all agree that the IT sector in India may well look up this year. More so because, among Indian cities, Pune has emerged as the second largest exporter after Bangalore.
Ashutosh Parasnis, SEAP's president, said, "We read reports that the IT industry is expected to grow. However, we need to also acknowledge that there are technology shifts happening which challenge some companies while presenting new opportunities to others."
Parasnis sees a positive in changing consumer behaviour. As online shopping gains in popularity, B2C (business-to-consumer) firms and e-commerce companies are hiring IT professionals aggressively, he said.
Similarly, firms dealing in SMAC (social media, mobility, analytics and cloud) are looking to hire, provided the available talents are complemented by necessary skills and relevant experience.
But the gap between industry's changing needs and computer education's tilt toward a particular segment of the IT universe that is fast becoming obsolete, is a cause for concern, said Parasnis.
Kuldeep Singh, a recent IT graduate, concurs. "It was getting tough to even land an internship."
Computer science students will probably relate to Singh's plight. For instance, Gokul Nair, a final year student of computer science at Fergusson College in Pune, believes the road ahead seems uncertain for many like him.
"Job options are limited now as fewer companies are hiring on campus. Employers now prefer walk-in interviews as they can pay much less there. Foreign companies have not visited campuses for hiring this year. Salary offers have halved compared to last year," said Nair.
Agrees Murali Sarad of Cosmos Consultants, a firm that offers hiring services to IBM in Pune. "Since a year-and-a-half, hiring has slowed down as outsourcing has reduced substantially."
But Smita Jogdand of Resources and Ladders, an HR consultancy, believes the next quarter will open up new avenues. She, however, doubts if freshers would land well-paying jobs.
Sarad thinks there could well be a link between the current dismal employment scenario and the forthcoming elections. "There has been some downsizing at large corporations, but this is IT... it will recover soon after elections. A stable government and new policies would improve the current scenario."
Prashant Pansare, who is on the ‘National Knowledge Committee of CII’, serving VP of SEAP acknowledges the slowdown however elaborates on the local scenario rather than a global one. "In the last couple of years, Pune has done far better than before. The IT and ITES sector here will grow at 12-15% in 2014, and is amongst the top 3 preferred cities for jobs in IT and the auto sector."
Pansare says reported IBM layoffs ought to be viewed against big-scale hiring elsewhere. "TCS recently has hired 20,000 fresh graduates from all over India. Wipro is optimistic about adding more talent to their crew as well. Campus scenario has been better compared to last year, with around 70% placements coming from the top 10 colleges in engineering and management education."
Moreover, many conferences and international delegations have been showing interest in investing in India. So, mass layoffs must not been seen in isolation, said Pansare. "Industry bodies such as Nasscom are projecting that IT industry is set for growth. Companies may be facing certain challenges, but the outlook is optimistic."