TCS Layoffs: India’s largest IT services exporter says it is not considering job cuts and is hiring affected startup employees

MUMBAI, Feb 19: Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is not considering layoffs as it believes in nurturing talent for longer careers once it hires an employee, a senior official said. The country’s largest exporter of information technology services is also seeking employees from startups that have lost their jobs, its chief human resources officer Milind Lakkad said in an interview with PTI.

The comments came from IT companies, including major tech giants, from around the world laying people off for a variety of reasons. “We don’t do it (layoffs), we believe in nurturing talent within the company…(there will be) no layoffs,” Lakkad responded to a specific question about whether there will be layoffs or involuntary departures. Boeing Begins Layoffs to Cut 2,000 Finance and Human Resources Jobs; Outsourcing of employees hit hard at TCS.

He said many companies have been forced to take such a step because they hired more than they wanted, while the “cautious” TCS believes that once an employee joins, it’s the company’s responsibility to make them productive and to achieve value. TCS does not lay off employees; Freezes pay rises to deal with the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.

In cases where it sees a gap between the required skills and what an employee possesses, it focuses on training the employee by giving them more time, Lakkad added. He said the company, which employs over 6,000 people, will announce increases similar to those of previous years.

With a number of startups shedding employees, particularly in sectors like educational tech, Lakkad said TCS will seek to hire such affected workers.

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“It’s a very big canvas, we’re doing exciting work in different industries with different technologies. I think all of this takes phenomenal talent to come in and be a part of. We obviously get it from startups, people who have actually done a good job at those companies and have short-term career challenges,” he said.

Specifically, talent is being sought in user experience design, artificial intelligence, many aspects of the cloud, and product experience, Lakkad said.

When asked if TCS would review its stock option programs, given that startups attract a lot of talent because of such offers, Lakkad said it continues to evaluate this aspect as it believes that both loyalty and performance play a significant role.

When asked whether the decrease of over 2,000 employees in the December quarter’s total headcount was a one-off, Lakkad declined to say whether the March quarter will show an increase or continue with a decrease.

He explained that over 2,000 people were hired last year, including 1.19,000 trainees who are still entering billable projects, and hence the slowdown in hiring led to a decline.

In the next few quarters, the company doesn’t see any “significant additions” from a net-employee perspective, Lakkad said, noting that it’s now leveraging its earlier investments.

That will cause the overall occupancy figure to spike before it begins to decline as the more than 40,000 trainees expected to be hired in FY24 arrive, Lakkad said.

The company is also open to hiring people from the US Indian diaspora who have lost their jobs with the tech majors and may be on the verge of being forced to return home due to their visa requirements, Lakkad said. Currently, 70 percent of its US employees are American, Lakkad said, adding that it would like to reduce the number to 50 percent because it also wants to offer global opportunities to its employees in India.

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He also said there was a need for faster appointments and approvals for both business and H1 visas in the US, its top-selling market. Regarding undeclared work by employees, Lakkad said TCS is taking action and collecting data on potential violations.

Currently, nearly 40 percent of employees work from offices three times a week and 60 percent come in twice a week, Lakkad said. “I expect those numbers (of those working from offices) to increase. By Q1 (FY24) it will rise significantly. By Q2 FY24 we will decide how to proceed,” he added.