IT companies look for niche skills in tough market

Written by Debojyoti Ghosh | Debojyoti Ghosh | P P Thimmaya | Bangalore | Updated: Sep 7 2013, 19:04pm hrs
IT JobsIndian IT industry, which once hired from multiple streams of engineering, is now steadily veering towards professionals who have skills that would match their future requirements.
In a job market thats proving to be difficult for a once sought-after skill such as writing code, expertise in niche areas or specialised domains like analytics, mobile apps, cloud and big data, could well turn out to be the answer.

Staffing companies that FE spoke to pointed out that the Indian IT industry, which once hired from multiple streams of engineering, is now steadily veering towards professionals who have skills that would match their future requirements. These emerging technologies have become even more lucrative for tech professionals, commanding premium remunerations, in an otherwise dull job market.

We see that candidates with a good knowledge of web technologies, analytics, business intelligence, social media technologies are highly sought after due to increasing focus on innovations and opportunities in the mobile and online space, Randstad India president (staffing) Aditya Narayan Mishra said.

According to a Bangalore-based recruiter, an IT professional with expertise in mobile technologies was recently offered a package of over R1 crore, well above his compensation of Rs 60 lakh, by a leading MNC company.

Indian software-services companies see these emerging technologies as key differentiators to their business and it becomes imperative for them to get the right skill sets. Companies also realise that their future business model will rely less on human resources and more on technologies.

Hiring in the IT sector is on only in specific domains and skills. Besides analytics and mobile apps, there are traction in areas like SAP and enterprise resource planning. According to our recent surveys, close to 60% of recruiters feel it is difficult to find people with specialised skills. Even in the current market it is tough to hire people with niche expertise, executive VP and national head (sales) V Suresh said.

The top four Indian IT majors, who together account for a combined workforce of over 650,000, are now focusing on lateral and specialised hiring even while recruiting fresh graduates. Even in routine tasks like application development and maintenance, testing or infrastructure management services, the focus is to look for candidates who have upgraded their skills. Recruiters feel though Java is a commonly used language among IT professionals, firms look for those who have done advanced courses.

Despite overall muted hiring scenario, the silver lining is that if any IT professional has got the wherewithal to adapt to new technologies then that individual will grow, hiring firm Vati Consultings CEO Amitabh Das said, adding, The era of bulk hiring is over.

According to a recent study by Gartner, India has the potential to lead the world in the adoption of social, mobile and cloud information, but it would require a number of technological and socioeconomic shifts.

By 2014, India will have more than 1 billion mobile subscribers. India will see a significant rollout of new IT infrastructure during the next five years in both public and private sectors, the Gartner study said.

On the question of IT companies focusing only on specialised skills, Kelly Services India MD Kamal Karanth said, The answer would be an yes or no. Companies are looking at specialised skills like mobile or big data, but at the same time there is still demand for professionals in areas such as SAP or Oracle as these technologies still dominate the IT systems.

However, companies are finding it challenging to hire such professionals due to supply constraints. Added to this, majority of engineering colleges or universities do not cater to these technologies. Some firms are recruiting directly from the IITs and NITs. A IITian or NIT graduate has the ability and aptitude to quickly grasp and learn new technologies, said a recruiter.

Though IT companies bank on traditional recruitment channels for mass recruitment, for niche skills they bank on HR partners who have the experience to tap into the niche candidate pool across the country, Randstad Indias Mishra said.