The ongoing economic meltdown has affected the IT sector in the country immensely. With delayed projects, hiring freeze and no promotions, the IT sector faces a bad phase but if experts are to be believed the worst is yet to come. Hardnews will run a series on how economic slowdown is hurting ordinary people
Akash Bisht Delhi
Naved Sheikh has been waiting to start working in the company he was recruited in Septemeber 2008. He was recently told that the project he was suppose to be taking care of has been delayed and they have to either resign or go on leave without pay till the project starts. Since then has been running from pillar to post in search of a job that could help him sustain his modern lifestyle. The lifestyle he adopted while working as a business analyst for General Electricals with a handsome pay package. He developed a fetish for cars and high-end gadgets. But he missed his family more than he enjoyed these pleasures and decided to go back to his hometown Dehradun convinced that he would find a job. True to his belief he had a job after the first interview he appeared in and was offered to lead a team with descent package in a small town of Dehradun. "Not excited but content was my state," Naved says. He started the training period and it was during this phase that news of recession and global meltdown were all over . Since then his project has been delayed and his ordeal has just turned from bad to worse as his hunt for jobs in getting tougher and tougher. "There is job drought in the market," he remarks.
The recent economic meltdown that has taken the IT and BPO sector by storm, irrespective of most companies, barring few, have acknowledged the impact that is bleeding the Indian IT and BPO sector. Pankaj Singh, a 23-year-old IT professional, recalls several rumors of company's huge losses and an inevitable lay-off phase. "Everyday new rules and provisions are being introduced in wake of cost cutting. There are hardly any new recruits and there is an unevitable insecurity that it's just a matter of time before we are shown the door," he opines.
Experts believe that the BPO sector cannot avoid the ongoing financial crisis as BPO sector worth USD 11 billion gets most of its business from the US. They speculate that more than 2,50,000 jobs could be lost in the first half of 2009. Additionally, S Gopalakrishnan, CEO and MD, Infosys recently in a press conference announced that the IT industry will also feel the heat and will grow 15 per cent lesser as compared 2007. He also mentioned that India's IT sector will surely be affected by the ongoing economic activities. Sources claim that the BPO industry has even asked for a fiscal package from the government asking for extended tax relief.
Ravi Sharma, owner of Wavesurf consultancy, says, "Most of the IT and BPO companies have put the hiring on hold and are instead looking for job cuts. The demand for manpower has gone down by 75 per cent because most of the business of these companies comes from US and UK and since these markets are the worst sufferers hence it will definitely have impact on the Indian markets." He also mentioned that in some BPO's and KPO's, employees have fired most of the team members and are asking the remaining employees to double and even triple their productivity making the employees slog for more people and hours. "They have no option but to work and there are plenty others who are ready to do to take their place," Sharma quips.
Sources in the industry told Hardnews that this is not a new phenomenon and has been around for more than 6 months. "It is only now that media is paying attention to it. It has been getting worse with passing time and we have no option but to wait and watch the saga unfold," says Gaurav Bhugra, an HR Executive with Videocon Digital Services.
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