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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Benches to sit and learn

Sanjeev Jain
Wednesday, May 3, 2006
Sanjeev Jain
Imagine you have just been hired by a big IT company to work on a huge international project and you seem very ecstatic and happy. You tell your friends an IT behemoth has hired you. You look forward to your challenging assignment. You wait and wait and wait. You don’t get news about your project. You get disheartened.

You don’t need to. There are thousands of engineers like you that have been hired in advance by IT companies and get paid for sitting on the ‘Bench.’ Bench or in common parlance known as sitting ‘idle’ has been on the rise in India over the last many years as IT jobs increase.

Consider this. The five big domestic IT services companies will hire about a lakh new engineers this year. The biggest of them all, the Tata owned Tata Consultancy Services would hire about 30,500 engineers during this year while competitor Bangalore based IT giant Infosys will add another 25,000 new people this year. Contemporaries Satyam and Wipro too said they would add 12,000 and 15,000 respectively this year.

Now consider this. IT companies including MNCs like IBM with around 40,000 employees and Accenture with 20,000 employees are on a hiring spree despite employee utilization rate of just over 75 percent. Currently the technology industry in India employs over 6-7 lakh engineers and according to Gautam Sinha, CEO, TVA Infotech, a Bangalore based recruitment firm, if the same trend continues, the IT industry will employ about a million people by 2008.

A million people are too much if one considers that a quarter of them will be virtually on the ‘bench’. Good talent pool creation practices result in a highly qualified, well defined, and a readily available group of candidates. By avoiding the need to hire on a case-by-case basis for so many positions and projects, IT companies realize a significant efficiency gain. However one must understand that it is both the job market and the expected future orders that are fuelling the fire to hire. Companies do not want to scramble for talent in the last minute when a big deal comes through.

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