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Tech Mahindra is talking to the Indian Academy of Sciences-Bangalore, IIT Bombay and IIT Hyderabad to co-develop courses in cyber robotics and predictive analytics. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Tech Mahindra is talking to the Indian Academy of Sciences-Bangalore, IIT Bombay and IIT Hyderabad to co-develop courses in cyber robotics and predictive analytics. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

IT firms seek to ensure talent pool to tap SMAC technologies

Companies work with academic institutions, set up in-house institutes to groom talent as they move to social media, mobility, analytics and cloud technologies

Mumbai: It’s back to school for India’s information technology firms, working with academic institutions and setting up in-house institutes to groom the right talent as these companies move to social media, mobility, analytics and cloud, or SMAC, technologies.

Tech Mahindra Ltd, India’s fifth largest software services exporter, is talking to the Indian Academy of Sciences-Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay and Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad to co-develop courses in cyber robotics and predictive analytics, said a company spokesperson.

In 2013, Tech Mahindra had set up the Mahindra École Centrale in Hyderabad along with École Centrale Paris university of France to train students in contemporary industry practices. In 2014, it started a programme similar to Infosys Ltd’s campus connect programme that allows fresh recruits to interact with the management once a month.

Tech Mahindra’s infrastructure management services academy set up last year has inked partnerships with five universities—Chandigarh University, JSS Mahavidyapeetha in Mysore, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology in Bhubaneswar, Karpagam University in Coimbatore and Dr. Mahalingam College of Engineering and Technology in Pollachi—to hire students trained on a co-developed curriculum.

The company will shortly form partnerships with other colleges also, the spokesperson added. Similarly, in 2013, Hexaware Technologies Ltd, a mid-tier software services firm, set up Hexavarsity in Chennai.

Persistent Systems Ltd, another mid-tier software services firm, launched the Persistent Computing Institute on 11 November 2014 in partnership with two colleges in Pune for training in new digital technologies, said Sunder Sarangan, chief marketing officer.

Meanwhile, industry body Nasscom has launched pilot programmes at 8-10 engineering colleges and IT services companies to create a curriculum that capture 64 unique entry-level job profiles identified by the IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, through its National Skill Development Council.

“While work is in progress, we hope to see these unique courses go mainstream within the next two years," said Sangeeta Gupta, senior vice-president of Nasscom.

The need to train fresh graduates in new skills and ensure that they remain employable is important since the $118 billion Indian IT industry added about 180,000 new employees in 2013-2014, 70% of which were fresh hires, according to Nasscom.

Though seven out of ten candidates from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are employable, only 55% are ready for their job, said Harpreet Singh Grover, chief executive officer and co-founder of Co-Cubes, one of India’s largest assessment and campus hiring firms, in a National Employability Analysis Report released 18 November.

“Training requirement still exists to develop the required skillset for the rest 15% of IIT graduates. When it comes to the National Institutes of Technology (NITs), the number falls to 35%, with only 22% readily employable and the remaining 13% training requirements. Assessments and online proctoring are fast becoming the go to tools for corporates and educational institutes," Grover said in the report.

IT services companies are also resorting to innovative hiring methods.

HCL Technologies Ltd, India’s fourth-largest software services firm, launched Hiral Videos (which stands for “hire" and “viral"), a recruitment campaign through videos with select job profile descriptions to find the right talent. The company says it has received over 9,000 job applications through this route within a month of its launch.

“In the coming year (2015), social media, virtual networks, campus connect engagements and employee references and networks are just few of the tools recruiters will use to find the right talent," said Prithvi Shergill, chief human resources officer, HCL Technologies.

“Hiring quality talent will be a focal point, and the use of non-traditional methods for recruitment like mobile technology will be one trend to look out for in 2015. Also, we will see a move towards hiring for particular skills as opposed to capacity or just numbers," said Richard Lobo, vice-president and head of human resource development units for Infosys.

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