Bangalore: US-based Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. has handed out promotions and salary hikes to its senior management team at a time when the New Jersey-based company is struggling to match its high growth rates of the past five years and starting to see some top-level exits.

In an email sent out to senior employees earlier this week, Cognizant handed out what was its second round of promotions and hikes this year. The first tranche of bonuses and hikes was announced in the first week of July for employees up to managerial levels.

All the hikes and promotions have been made effective from 1 July, a Cognizant spokesperson said.

“The average salary hike for offshore associates is around 10%. Those who are exceptional performers and have niche skills that are in high demand will get more than 10%," Cognizant said in an email.

Onsite employees, who oversee software development projects at client locations, have been given single-digit hikes, Cognizant said.

“We do not disclose the number of promotions. We remain confident in our long-term prospects. We have promoted around a third of our programmer analysts to ensure that our people grow with the company. At higher grades, promotions are anchored around performance, potential and consistency," said Cognizant, which has most of its employees in India.

Since Cognizant just about met its revenue growth target in 2013, all its top-level managers will be eligible for 85% of their total bonus payouts. In a regulatory filing earlier this year, Cognizant had said chief executive Francisco D’Souza and other top employees would receive 85% of their payouts if the company met revenue targets.

Cognizant’s average salary hikes compare favourably against those given by peers such as Infosys Ltd and Wipro Ltd. While Infosys gave hikes of about 6-7% to offsite employees and about 1-2% to onsite employees, Wipro hiked pay by 6-8% for offsite and 2-3% for onsite employees.

“This year’s salary revisions are designed to be market competitive, differentiate niche and critical talent, and reward high performance. Our salary increments are at the higher end of the industry range," Cognizant said in the email.

The salary increments and promotions for senior employees come weeks after Cognizant warned of the slowest revenue growth in its 20-year history. On 6 August, Cognizant cut its guidance for the third time in the past six years and said revenue would grow by 14%, instead of the 16.5% it had forecast earlier in the year.

The guidance cut surprised investors, who pulled down shares of Cognizant and those of other rivals such as Infosys and Wipro and are now paring down their expectations from the software services sector for this year. Industry lobby Nasscom has forecast software export revenues to grow by 13-15% during the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Cognizant also has seen some top exits during this year, including those of former innovation head Sukumar Rajagopal and social, mobility, analytics and cloud computing head Mahesh Venkateswaran, who used to report directly to chief executive D’Souza.

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