HCL beats peers in utilisation rate of employees

Written by Debojyoti Ghosh | Bangalore | Updated: Jan 22 2013, 07:49am hrs
Even as the countrys fourth-largest IT-services exporter, HCL Technologies, continues its power-packed growth rate, the company has also topped its peers in terms of employee utilisation during the October-December period.

The Noida-headquartered software-services company posted 81.9% utilisation rate during the quarter, edging past Indias largest software-services company TCS, which recorded 81.7%. However, TCS with an employee base of 2.63 lakh, is three times the size of HCL Technologies.

In comparison, the Bangalore-based IT company, Infosys, had an utilisation rate of 73.2% during the same period. Wipros utilisation rate for the quarter stood at 74.8%.

Prithvi Shergill, chief human resources officer, HCL Technologies, told FE that the companys utilisation rate is very healthy.

We continue to look to improve it maybe a little further. Those are levers that we will continuously look at. We are at a healthy number right now, if we can make further improvement that will be good. However, we dont have a specific number that we are targeting, Shergill said.

With foggy visibility on future business volumes, countrys IT companies have been struggling with rising non-billable employees warming their seats. Despite the rising concern about increasing bench strength in the IT sector, HCL Technologies has managed to keep its utilisation level, including trainees, at 75.6%, ahead of TCS, which had 72.1% during the quarter. For Infosys, utilisation including trainees stood at 70.1%.

Bench is important when you are a growing organisation. You need to have a right composition of the bench to be able to support growth. Organisation needs to manage that closely to support growth, said Shergill.

HCL Technologies, which had a total headcount of 85,194 people at the end of the December quarter, is currently in the process of updating its recruiting technology system.

We have decided to upgrade our recruiting management system. Currently we are in the process of updating it. Mining information from various networking sites and social media platforms becomes a very important recruiting tool. Using social platform to expand your employee referral programme is something we are exploring, Shergill added.

On its hiring plans in the US and Europe, the Noida-based IT services firm said that it continues to hire in its largest markets. We continue to grow the delivery centres in various parts of the US and invest in people. Our business is led by demand in the US and Europe region. Europe continues to be an important continent for us and we continue to look for people in that region. We are growing our presence in Nordic, UK and Germany as well as the US. We dont share geography specific headcount, Shergill said.

However, the HR chief pointed out that there is a shortage of talent in the US. The skill footprint and the kind of people we need is clearly declining in the US. Number of people pursuing science and technology and engineering as a career is very few, he said.

IT-trade body Nasscom had previously raised concerned on skill shortage in the technology space in the US. The body had acknowledged the shortage of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professionals in the US and has supported expanding the visa programme to help companies.