According to a top Infosys official, unfazed by the recent upheavals at the board, the company will continue to hire about 6,000 engineers annually over next 1-2 years, same as last fiscal.
The hiring process has been ramped up by Infosys in the US and European markets as it looks to tap opportunities and tide over visa-related issues. While speaking at an investor meet last week, Infosys interim-CEO and MD U B Pravin Rao said “We continue to recruit. This year that just concluded we had a net addition of 6,000 and we expect similar kind of additions over the next 1 or 2 years, depending on the kind of growth you see in the market."
The Bengaluru-based firm has been in the eye of a storm over the past few months, with the founders and former board members clashing over alleged corporate governance lapses and irregularities in Infosys’ USD 200-million Panaya acquisition.
The spat, which often spilled over into the public domain, led to the then CEO Vishal Sikka as well as former Chairman R Seshasayee and three other board members quitting. Co-founder Nandan Nilekani was named the non-executive Chairman in a move that was seen as the company bowing to the demands of co-founders and large institutional investors.
After Sikka’s exit, Rao assumed the additional charge as interim CEO and MD. Rao said over one million graduates pass out each year, which may look like a large number but only 20-30 per cent of that is quality talent. “(This is the number that) we and our competitors focus on...It is a question of doing more with less, how can one be more productive,” he said while answering a query on whether increasing automation would result in job losses.
At the end of June 2017, Infosys had a total of 1,98,553 employees on its payroll. The company does not provide country-specific headcount. During the said quarter, Infosys hired 8,645 people at a gross level but its overall headcount was lower by 1,811 people on a net level (which factors in attrition numbers).
Earlier this year, there were reports of layoffs across the IT sector. With Infosys stating that it was stepping up hiring in international markets like the US, there were concerns that it could impact the company’s recruitment plans in India. Infosys had, at that time, stated it planned to hire 20,000 people (gross) this year.
Infosys has stated that it is in favour of a healthy mix of local and global personnel, even though hiring locals in overseas markets often pushes up operational costs for IT outsourcing companies.
During the investor meeting, Rao said Infosys is also looking at increasing localisation of its workforce and is recruiting about 10,000 people in the next few years and setting up development and innovation hubs in the US. “We have already started the process and we will only accelerate,” he added.
The US, which is the largest market for Infosys, much like its peers, accounted for over 61 per cent of its topline in June 2017 quarter. Europe accounted for 22.4 per cent of the company’s USD 2.65 billion (Rs 17,078 crore) revenue during April-June 2017 quarter.
To a query on the company’s India business, Rao said Infosys continues to be selective about projects in the country. “We continue to be very cautious about India...there are pricing challenges, sometimes getting payment is a challenge,” he said.