These companies – Facebook (Meta Platforms), Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix and Google (Alphabet) -registered a 90% drop in active job postings in India in 2023 compared with the previous year, according to data put together for ET by specialist staffing firm Xpheno.
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The cohort remains at its lowest action point, with current active hiring numbers down by more than 98% to 200 compared with its typical active hiring volume in India.
This comes at a time when the tech industry is grappling with the global economic slowdown, as reflected in the uncertainty around pipeline conversion, project ramp-downs, sluggish revenue growth and a cautious approach by clients.
“The low to no hiring action maintained by the cohort over the year will continue to impact tech talent movements, especially in the experienced lateral layers,” said Prasadh MS, head of workforce research at Xpheno. It will be a signal for smaller companies to stay cautious, he said.
“Maintaining the status quo requires replacement hiring action, with no significant net talent additions recorded,” he said.
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Even as of December last year, the active demand from the big tech cohort had already dropped by 78% compared with July 2022, reflecting a near 18-month low for the cohort, shows the data.IT analysts and industry experts said this careful approach is expected to persist for the next two quarters and hiring will remain subdued in the near term, with a focus on improving employee utilisation amid weakened demand.
The total number of active listed openings globally is currently under 30,000 across the Big Tech players and their affiliates. Globally, Big Tech companies, including Microsoft, Amazon and Google, have cut hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“There has been a noticeable decline in the demand for talent across all levels. Industry leaders are adopting a cautiously optimistic stance and taking a more measured approach in their investments,” said Vamsi Karavadi, director at Deloitte India. “This caution is reflected in the decrease in net new hiring numbers for the leading technology players in the country. This careful approach is expected to persist for the next two quarters.”
The Big Tech cohort currently employs a little less than 150,000 people in their core operations and captives in India.
Rishi Jhunjhunwala, senior vice-president covering IT at IIFL Securities, said, “Hiring should slowly start picking up in 2024 as some of the over capacity got rationalised in 2023. While the growth outlook is yet to improve, there is hope that it should start improving slowly.”
An IT analyst at a large Indian broking company, who did not wish to be named, said, “Unless definitive interest rate cuts are announced by the US Federal Reserve, technology majors across the board will continue to maintain the status quo on demand.”
Though the sentiments have turned positive for the sector, no major changes will happen with the cautious investment strategy until at least March, when the first round of rate cuts is expected, the person said.
Experts said the IT services sector works closely with the Big Tech majors on a large set of requirements and an uptick in big tech spends will have ripple effects throughout the sector.
Earlier in the year, the continuing slowdown in the Big Tech cohort prompted many senior executives to scout the market for new jobs. However, experts said that has stabilised now.
“A huge number of ex-employees from big-tech companies were on the lookout for jobs in the market from early to mid-part of 2023,” said Karthik Sridharan, co-founder & CEO, Flexiple. “However, as the market has stabilised, this movement has stopped. The big-tech companies have once again stabilised their workforce and are still the preferred employers in the market.”
Prasadh said, “With attrition coming under control across the sector, and the bellwethers having already optimised their headcounts, the volume of talent coming into the market and seeking alternative options has shrunk.”
Prashant Singh, country manager, Brunel India, a recruitment agency, said, “Within the next couple of quarters, the churn across the top management of both the IT services and global MNCs in India is likely to stabilise. We can expect a trickle-down impact of big tech hiring on IT sector talent demand within six to twelve months of the former picking up.”
However, inflated salaries and innumerable offers are a thing of the past.
“Big-tech and even other companies are now able to have their pick and hire in a more rigorous fashion than a couple of years before,” said Sridharan.
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