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Local hiring to go on: Cognizant president tells techies fearing layoffs

Company to re-skill around 100,000 employees by year-end

Gireesh Babu  |  Chennai 

Cognizant allays layoff fears, says local hiring to continue as before

Technology Solutions' has reached out to employees saying the firm is not planning and has dismissed concerns among engineers in India that they were being eased out in favour of hiring more resources in the US.

In an internal letter to the employees, Rajeev Mehta, president of Cognizant, said that in line with industry best practices, the company conducts performance reviews each year to ensure it has the right associate skillsets to meet client needs and achieve its business goals.

"Resulting actions are performance-based and generally consistent year to year. Our performance management is based on having the right skill mix to succeed in the digital economy, globally. We are committed to being a meritocracy. We believe that’s good for all our associates around the world," he wrote in the mail seen by Business Standard.

"You may also have seen media reports that associates are being counselled out of to allow us to hire more US-based associates in line with US government sentiment. This is not true. We have been ramping up our recruiting efforts in the US for a number of years. Likewise, we continue to hire in local markets around the world, including in India," he added.

Mehta's outreach to employees comes against the backdrop of reports that is trimming its workforce as it sees business slow down for legacy IT business and growth shifts towards digital.

The unions alleged that several employees of who were asked to resign have reached out to them, to fight against the company. The Forum for IT Employees (FITE), which has been organising protests against forced resignations at IT services companies, has approached labour departments in Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Maharashtra against NDLF IT Employees Wing has said that it is forming a union in the Tamil Nadu offices of and Wipro.

In his letter, he also added that the Voluntary Separation Programme (VSP), recently offered to D+ associates in India and the US, is for the first time happening in the company while its peers regularly offer separation packages to their employees in exchange for their resignation.

"As its name makes clear, the VSP is voluntary. No one is required or even asked to participate. We believe this programme benefits Cognizant, our associates who opted in and others looking to grow their careers," wrote Mehta.

The company has retrained and reskilled tens of thousands of employees in 2016, and expect to have about 100,000 employees retrained by the end of this year in specialized digital competencies including Data Science, Big Data and Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

It has hired several thousand professionals globally, including top campus talent and experienced people. The company is executing its profitability targets and the changes it began implementing last year, including the C2020 reorganisation, are delivering results, he added.

"Looking forward, our pipeline is extremely healthy, we are maintaining a solid win rate and we continue to win large transformational deals across our three lines of service," wrote Mehta.

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