Saying IT with a Namaste

by Sreejith Pilassery

Aug 19,2020
Everyone, India, Talent, Information Technology,

Indian woman at a computer smiling at a colleague

Around the globe, businesses have struggled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the vast majority of Indian IT firms have reversed the narrative by registering a solid operating profit. What’s more, India’s largest corporations (above $10 billion in annual revenue) have enjoyed significant growth in the last few months. How have these companies been able to bypass the global downturn? Let’s take a closer look.

Growing bond with global markets

First things first — I’m not referring to the recent $15 billion contribution pumped in by U.S. firms to support Jio Platforms. This year alone, US foreign direct investment (FDI) flow to India was north of the $40 billion mark.

In fact, most of this incoming cash flow is earmarked to build future IT infrastructure for organisations. While the U.S. is leading the charge, Middle Eastern and East Asian companies have added their investments to the table.

It’s all about offshore R&D centres

Foreign investments aside, India’s economy has continued to grow during the pandemic due to its infrastructure of over 1,300 offshore R&D centres — the largest concentration in the world. These IT centres employ nearly 800,000 people.

In recent months, this sector has seen a plethora of investments and a frenzy of activity to acquire a larger slice of the IT talent pie. In July, Medtronic, a premier medical equipment manufacturing firm, announced plans to set up its largest offshore centre outside the US in Hyderabad, while Amazon leased 2.8 million square feet of office space in Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai. Finally, Google recently pledged to invest $10 billion in India for future IT centres and start-ups.

The recent ban on H1B visas will further strengthen the domestic IT industry as companies increasingly rely on offshoring to complete critical IT projects.

Which fields have the highest demand for Indian IT talent?

Talent continues to drive the love affair that global firms have with the Indian market. It’s no secret that India is home to a massive segment of English speaking, cost-competitive IT talent — and their technology skills aren’t too shabby either. Here are four areas where we’re seeing a huge demand for talent.

Automation (AI, cloud and big data): Within the next decade, half of the jobs human do today will be changed by automation. Don’t worry — this doesn’t mean that humans will be replaced by machines. Automation can help build systems that provide behavioural data modelling and predictive insights. In a nutshell, AI can help companies reach customers before they reach out.

Digital: Three out of four Fortune 500 CEOs are looking to increase their digital investments and accelerate their technological transformation. With this in mind, companies must make it a top priority to enhance their digital footprint.

Infrastructure technology: Across nearly every industry, there is a growing demand for strengthening, enhancing and migrating infrastructures. With 5G cellular networks around the corner, the conventional ways of doing business are changing. With around 400 million smartphone users, it’s no surprise that some of the fastest-growing $10 billion unicorns have emerged from India’s fintech sector.

Cybersecurity: With business growth and development comes the looming threat of cybercrime. Around the world, a growing portion of the workforce plans to continue working from home even after the pandemic ends — making it especially critical for companies to invest in secure network systems. Today, businesses are laser-focused on protecting their applications and building trust with customers.

IT hiring trends in India

Talent is becoming more and more global. Across the country, technology institutes have become key stakeholders in this transformation, and are revamping their curriculum to give IT students an early exposure to corporate environments. From mini project delivery to innovation groups to hackathons, classroom projects are designed to foster interaction with industry leadership and hiring managers.

These efforts have created a real opportunity for students to get hired by massive firms as soon as they graduate — the talent is flying off the shelves! As companies invest in upskilling and reskilling, they are focused on helping employees brush up on their soft skills: critical thinking, creativity, communication, authenticity and empathy.

India’s post-pandemic hiring outlook

Following the ease of lockdown restrictions, recruitment in India has increased by 35% between early April and the end of June. What’s more, hiring intent — aka the percentage of employers who are likely to recruit employees during this period — has jumped to 18% for the period up to September 2020. This number is higher than the hiring intent in the U.S. (8%), Europe (9%), and the Middle East (11%).

The expectations of today’s IT employers and the overall industry outlook are rapidly transforming. The resume is dying and the recruiting process involves a great deal of technology adoption. Many companies have incorporated technical assessments into their hiring processes, and you likely won’t be able to pass your interview if you aren’t able to demonstrate the skills you list on your resume.

With that being said, the future is bright for India’s IT talent. If you are a technology professional, now is a great time to reach out to a specialised staffing firm to learn what skillsets they’re looking for and what opportunities they can throw your way.

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