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India's IT sector sees revival in contractual hiring

By Staff Writer ,

Added 10 May 2024

The interesting trend is that the IT sector today offers a range of roles that are resilient to economic downturns. Profiles like DevOps, Cybersecurity, AI & ML, and Data Science, among others, are poised to maintain high demand in the coming 2-3 years.

As of FY23-24, India's technology industry employed 5.39 million individuals, a testament to its significant workforce contribution. However, driven by multiple factors like economic slowdown, automation, restructuring, and decreased discretionary spending, in the past few quarters, IT companies have experienced a decline in headcount. Interestingly, amidst these challenges, on the positive side India's IT sector is witnessing quite a resurgence in contractual hiring.

Notably, sectors such as IT, consumer durables, ecommerce, GCCs, and retail are experiencing significant demand for contract positions with a 40-50 per cent increase in these positions between 2023 and 2024. The most sought-after skill sets in the technology staffing domain encompass Google Cloud, data analytics, AI/ML, application development, ERP, networking, GenAI, and cybersecurity. Additionally, there is a nearly 30 per cent average demand for UI/UX designers, data scientists, data analysts, etc.

While these roles will continue to flourish, some traditional roles like Computer Programming (C/Java), Web Development, Mobile Development, Cloud Computation, Web/Application Development, and Cloud Architecture are likely to be redefined. 

Another interesting trend is that the IT sector today offers a range of roles that are resilient to economic downturns. Profiles like DevOps, Cybersecurity, AI & ML, and Data Science, among others, are poised to maintain high demand in the coming 2-3 years. Furthermore, recruitment for tech roles within non-tech sectors such as telecom, banking and financial services, insurance (BFSI), retail and e-commerce, and healthcare is anticipated to surge at a minimum 10-12 per cent average.

As AI continues to accelerate disruption at an unprecedented pace, the imperative for continuous workforce upskilling becomes increasingly evident and consequential. Over the past decade, there have been many initiatives like industry-academia collaborations, government's Digital India and Skill India interventions, corporates prioritising upskilling etc., which have been instrumental in driving the skilling agenda.

However, we also still have the largest cohort of tech professionals equipped with traditional skill sets that are witnessing declining demand due to the disruptive forces of AI, robotisation, and evolving skill requirements. Considering this evolving landscape, there is a critical need for interventions like effective upskilling, retention strategies and succession plans.  Organisations must adopt a deliberate and proactive approach towards fostering skills and capabilities, particularly in the realm of AI, to effectively navigate this transformative era.

Commenting on the IT sector hiring scenario, Sachin Alug, CEO, NLB Services said "Despite the recent turbulence in the technology ecosystem, the resurgence in contractual hiring and the surge in talent demand for emerging tech roles, both in tech and non-tech companies, heralds a new dawn for the sector. As we navigate through the disruptions brought by AI and automation, organisations, educational institutions, and governing bodies need to collaborate in tandem to foster opportunities and create a robust pool of skilled talent for the future."

 

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