Indian IT industry is still handicapped talentwise

Date:   Monday , March 05, 2012

Neelam Gill Malhotra, VP - HR, CSC India, shares her insights on employee development programs which could help them learn practicalities of working in an organization.

The industry is at a very interesting phase currently. What is interesting is that, while we are seeing a slowdown in the global economies, it does not seem to be impacting India. This was not the case a few years ago. The moment there was a rain in the U.S., temperatures would go freezing in India.

Indiaís growth story seems to be on the upside today. We are not seeing a galloping growth that was there a few years ago, but, I am positive about the rate at which the Indian IT industry is going. This is definitely good news from an HR point of view. Though the numbers are slightly lower than what we expected at the beginning of the year, we have not encountered much in terms of salary cuts, pink slips, bonuses cut and so on. Hence, the impact of the global economical slow down has not been impacting us largely. How did this translate into ongoing management of people?

Firstly, salaries are settling down to a level which are getting realistic. One of the fears a lot of us in the HR industry have is that if India is going to out price itself in terms of our increase in salaries in a macro level. Things are settling down and this is good news for the larger IT industry. As far as attrition is concerned, it also seems to be settling down.

Companies now are focusing on development which is very important. Development could be Managerial development, Leadership development or getting focused on training of employees.

Hence, we are creating a space where we are engaging with the employees in many more different ways.

One of the things we have discovered is that our workforce is very young. When managers who are also young, handle a similar young workforce, they need people management skills which are vital for the smooth running of an organization. Hence, any investment in development of people management skills is just not enough. The key to our industry today is really the people. This industry does not have machinery or a factory. Hence it is all about what and how people deliver the work.

Therefore, the investment is very important in managing the employees. This is where the investment in managers becomes important.

The quality of the talent becomes an important factor when considering all these above said statements. This is linked to the quality of education that students get from educational institutions. The way in which all the engineering colleges are mushrooming in the country is very interesting. While Iím totally supportive of privatization of education, I do find that there is a dip in the quality of education. This in turn reflects on the students that come out of these engineering colleges. This is where we come to the factor of investment in learning and development.

Matter of fact, it is not the studentsí fault because thatís what they are taught in their schools when they graduate. Here is where organizations like ours come to picture in helping them learn practicalities of working in an organization.

If we look at it in a macro level, the challenge per organizations becomes more as the responsibility of helping these students increases. Hence, the investment in maintaining a certain quality of workforce for organizations is increasing. The talent is available, the quality is definitely in pockets but as an organization we have to make sure that the quality at which we deliver our service to the customers do not suffer.

Therefore we need to provide with the best possible learning and development programs.

(As told to Vishwas Nair)