Cognizant Technologies, whose quarterly attrition rose to 31 per cent in the quarter ended June 30, said it is looking to hire 100,000 lateral hires, along with thousands of people at the graduate level this year.
In the second quarter (Cognizant follows the January-December cycle) the company said that its voluntary attrition touched 29 per cent on an annualised basis and 18 per cent on trailing 12 months basis (LTM). The company stated in its analyst call that it is ramping up its hiring and skilling mechanism.
However, Rajesh Nambiar, President-Digital Business & Technology and Chairman, India at Cognizant, agreed attrition is higher than it should be.
"We have doubled down on our hiring...we anticipated this whole imbalance and exits in the industry. In addition to investing in our own people, we will also making record hires to ensure that we will have a very robust talent pipeline. So we are going to be hiring 100,000 lateral hires this year. And then we will train roughly about 95,000-100,000 people in new digital capabilities. The third bucket is our graduate hires, 30,000 new graduate hires (have been) onboarded already for financial year 2021. We have also given offers to 45,000 new graduate hires this year so they will be onboarded next year, in 2022," he told Business Standard.
In addition, the company is also taking steps to retain talent.
"This includes targeted salary increases and promotions and shifting to a quarterly promotion cycle for some of the associates," said Nambiar.
Cognizant has also increased internal engagement and effort to further invest in people, job rotations and so on. It has also hired hundreds of recruiters to help meet the hiring targets.
"We also do a lot of job rotations, we have introduced some higher education programmes for our junior associates, which means that if they want to do any education, they could continue to work with us and still do the higher education. Merit cycle that we have announced (is) something which will be (implemented) from the first of October...you know from our results that attrition hasn't really slowed down our top line growth," Nambiar said.
The Nasdaq listed IT services major revised its financial year guidance to 10.2 per cent to 11.2 per cent or 9 per cent to 10 per cent on a constant currency basis. It had guided for a growth of 5.5-7.5 per cent for CY21 in Q1.
For the second quarter, it reported revenue growth of 12 per cent in constant currency, surpassing its guidance. It had guided for a growth of 8.9-9 per cent in Q2 CY21
The company has a significant employee presence in India.
Most IT services firms have seen an increase in digital-based deals post the pandemic, and that has led to a rise in demand for the right kind of talent.
Nambiar said, "Things have really been very, very solid, we are seeing a significant uptake on the broader (business). I believe that we don't really have a demand issue, there is a 12 per cent growth in the bookings, so that gives us confidence. The fact is that we've been able to execute really really well."