While the $60-billion information technology industry is recovering from the impact of global recession, companies are increasingly hiring non-engineering graduates with an aim to tame attrition and minimise costs.
Headhunters and industry veterans reckon that as the job market opens up, the demand for non-engineering and other non-technical students is expected to be more than that was seen in the previous years.
Companies such as Wipro, Infosys, TCS, Cognizant, ITC Infotech and KPIT Cummins among others are hiring more of science (BSc), computer science (BCA) graduates and even diploma holders for testing, support services and managing IT infrastructure of clients at lower wages.
Infosys, for example, has about five per cent of its total workforce from non-engineering backgrounds. In the 2010-2011 financial year, the company hired 705 BSc and BCA graduates, and the number is expected to go up this year. Infosys has already made offers to 1,000 non-engineering candidates.
“This year we hired approximately 14,000 engineers and about 700 BSc graduates. The compensation package offered to candidates with non-engineering background is Rs 2.18 lakh per annum,” an Infosys spokesperson said. The company, however, offers an annual package of Rs 3.2 lakh to engineering graduates.
“We hire non-engineering graduates from BSc, diploma and BCom streams. We have seen that these graduates have got a strong sense of aptitude which is why we are trying to harness their technical knowledge. Our non-engineering graduates work alongside with software engineers in software design and development," said Priti Rajora, Global Head (Talent Acquisition). She said non-engineering graduates comprise about 40 per cent of their fresher hiring.
The company gives a stipend of Rs 11,000 per month (about Rs 1.32 lakh per annum) for those taking up the WASE programme during the first year of the programme. However, fresh engineering graduates are offered a compensation package in the range of Rs 3.25-Rs 3.75 lakh. “This has also helped us in reducing the attrition level in our IT business,” Rajora added.
Similarly, ITC Infotech, a mid-tier IT services firm, is planning to hire 20 per cent of its freshers from non-engineering backgrounds. The company intends to deploy them in testing and managed service practices.
According to industry sources, TCS is hiring commerce graduates for software development. The company has even reconstructed coding which are analytical in nature so that some parts of the work can be done without engineering knowledge, with minimum cost.
Experts opine that the increasing attrition is also another reason why IT firms are concentrating on non-engineering graduates. “We are getting more requests from IT firms for non-engineering graduates. This gives companies huge cost benefit,” said Kamal Karanth, MD of Kelly Services, an IT hiring firm.