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2019 likely to be a cold year for tech jobs

Bengaluru: Tech hiring outlook for 2019 will remain muted throughout the year as companies have not shared any people addition mandate with their human resources (HR) heads and people officers.

Low single-digit, need-based, lateral hiring may take place across Indian technology landscape. But companies in general will stay extremely low-key on hiring, especially when there is uncertainty (of a slowdown) in their key marketplace, the USA.

HR head at a tier I technology company said, “Until a few years ago, we used to spent as many as 10-12 hours a day in hiring and induction-related activities. With jobless growth being the new business mantra, hiring is no more the key function of HR today, instead the focus is on training, skilling and re-skilling to equip employees for digital and emerging technologies.”

Tech hiring was in the 20-25 per cent range until some five years ago, before it dropped to single digits, first to 7 per cent, 4 per cent and then to 2 per cent, and now to almost nil in some cases. Hiring intentions and mandates are almost missing among enterprises, say experts in the recruitment industry.

BS Murthy, chief executive officer of Leadership Capital, a Bangalore-based tech hiring firm, said, “Hiring is almost off the horizon and this scenario is likely to continue for the next 2-3 years. Job situation in India will get more alarming as Western markets may be heading towards a slowdown.’’

Said Pallavi Nair, a Chennai-based independent tech recruiter, “I get a sense that most lead technology companies in the country are confident of growing without hiring in the next 2-3 years. Companies have enough people and the focus is on training and making as many people billable as possible under digital engagements.’’

Shine CEO Zairus Master, however, argued that with cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning becoming more and more integral to business operations in the IT/ITES sector, the demand for professionals with evolved, tech-led skill sets are likely to increase in 2019.

“Expertise in areas like data compliance and cyber security will also be much sought-after, given how critical data privacy and information security have become in the global business discourse. With rapid technological advancement paving the way for a high-growth, high-value jobs ecosystem, we can expect continuous learning, unlearning, and relearning to become the motto of the new-age workforce,’’ Master remarked.