HCL to double workforce in smaller towns; allow staff in larger cities to move back to hometowns

NEW DELHI: HCL Technologies is planning to double its headcount in its centres in smaller towns such as Lucknow, Nagpur, Madurai and Vijayawada over the next two-three years, a top official of the company said. These centres already have close to 10,000 people and chief executive C Vijayakumar told ET in a recent interview that the capacity expansion will be a mix of both existing employees moving back to their hometowns along with fresh hiring.

“In the light of COVID-19, we have been able to leverage some of these locations very well to tide over local pandemic flare ups. So having more people in smaller locations have been very helpful.” Vijayakumar added that a lot of employees felt safer being in their hometowns and close to their families which is a positive aspect for the company.

The country’s third largest software services company HCL had embarked on this strategy of opening large campuses in mini-metros towns in 2016 with an aim to stem attrition and bring more stability to its operations. While the first centres came up in the cities of Nagpur and Lucknow, Madurai followed soon with a centre in Vijayawada opening last year.

“Having centers in smaller towns has definitely helped us. And the core element of the strategy was to create a more resilient global delivery network for us. So from business continuity perspective and location derisking perspective, it has been of great help,” said Vijayakumar.

He added that the company is planning to increase its headcount in these locations which are called as New Vistas, which would probably double over the next two years or three years.

“Expansion will be a mix of both; some people from prime (locations) will move to the “New Vistas” locations and we will also hire freshers in these locations who will come into the workforce,” he added.

Nearly 90% of the 4.3 million technology workforce in India have shifted working from home since the Pandemic began. Many engineers who migrated to metros such as Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai, have relocated to their hometowns and smaller cities, while delivering the projects remotely, thanks to better data availability and secure practices.

HCL, which has been outperforming its peers lately said earlier this week that it will grow 3.5% in constant currency in the quarter to September on the back of better execution and growing business from clients in key sectors.

“Good Booking momentum continues this quarter, led by Life Sciences & Healthcare, Telecom & Media and Financial Services verticals,” HCL said in a statement. “The pipeline continues to look healthy across service lines, verticals and geographies.”

Indian IT firms have seen a business recovery as clients globally look at investing more on technology and automation to drive their business. Since the lockdown, companies have seen clients invest in technology to enable remote working and ensure that their data is secure. They have also stepped up shifting applications to the cloud generating better business opportunities for Indian outsourcers.

”We forecast roughly 2% growth per quarter in the next three quarters as a guidance. If I take a slightly longer-term view, while the pandemic has slowed economies globally, it has not impacted the tech sector so much. We are in the midst of what I would call the most intense period of technology and digital proliferation in the history of digital or global commerce,” HCL CEO C Vijayakumar told ET in a recent interview. He added that the he expects the industry to grow faster in the coming five years than it has in the previous five years.

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Tech-Economic Times

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