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India’s top software services companies have resumed hiring and offered salary hikes and bonuses to staff as the pandemic accelerated clients’ focus on digital transformation projects, leading to robust Q3 earnings.

On Monday, HCL Technologies Ltd announced a 700 crore one-time bonus for its nearly 160,000 employees globally after the company topped the $10 billion revenue mark. All employees who have completed a year of service will receive the bonus, which will be equivalent of 10 days’ salary. The company also plans to hire 15,000 freshers in India and 1,500-2,000 employees in client locations in 2021-22.

Top IT firms have resumed hiring and have lined up bonuses for staff, boosted by higher revenues and profit in the December quarter
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Top IT firms have resumed hiring and have lined up bonuses for staff, boosted by higher revenues and profit in the December quarter

IT firms have recently won several large contracts that will require significant manpower additions as clients speed up their digital and cloud projects to enable remote work and leverage the digital capabilities to serve customers.

“The demand recovery is not a one-time event, but part of a multi-year technology upgrade cycle, which requires a skilled workforce that can sell and deliver digital transformation projects. Given the scarcity of such skills in the market, a war for talent is inevitable–which is why firms are announcing salary hikes and promotions and hiring fresh and senior digital talent," said Nitin Bhatt, technology sector leader, EY India.

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS), India’s largest software services company, was among the first to roll out salary hikes for its 450,000 employees from 1 October last year. Infosys Ltd and Wipro Ltd have also announced promotions and salary hikes in January. Infosys is fully paying out the variable component of salary to employees for Q3.

“As announced earlier, we are initiating salary increases for employees, which will be effective 1 January 2021. And we are expanding our promotion cycle across all levels in this quarter," Salil Parekh, chief executive officer and managing director of Infosys, said in a conference call with analysts in January.

Infosys will also hire 24,000 college graduates in the country in FY22, up from 15,000 this fiscal.

Wipro has already initiated salary increases for all eligible employees in the B and B3 bands and below, effective 1 January. Bands up to B3 form about 80% of the company’s workforce, which translates to about 145,000 employees out of its total headcount of more than 180,000.

Wipro has also announced 100% variable pay-linked to business metrics for all employees for both the December and March quarter.

Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., which has over 200,000 people in India, expects to hire more than 23,000 people in 2021, a 35% increase from a year earlier. “They will complement our lateral hires. The emphasis will be on hiring new talent in our digital priority areas – cloud, data and artificial intelligence, digital engineering, and internet of things – and other strategic areas such as cybersecurity, Salesforce and business modernization technologies," said Brian Humphries, CEO of Cognizant.

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