Human Resources-Time To Spruce Up

By : |July 31, 1999 0

Different statistics have been proposed by various
government and semi-government agencies about the dynamics of human capital in India’s IT
industry, but few have been backed by survey data. Dataquest presents a overview emerging
from the Top 20 survey of the human resources deployment in Indian IT. Since the dynamics
of the domestic and export IT industry are dramatically different we have analyzed the
data along those lines.

The Indian IT industry is brimming with intellectual
capital. While a medium-sized software development organization in the USA talks of tens
of programmers, its Indian counterpart talks of hundreds and thousands. According to our
estimates, the average employee size of an Indian software and services export
organization is 1,880. However, a western organization employing professionals on this
scale would be a industry leading behemoth.

The average size of a software exports company has grown by
25% over the year which means that we have recruitment levels at 25% in the software and
services export industry. Both profitability and average revenue have also grown between
30% and 50% but the marginal increase in productivity has not gone up much at 12 to 15
lakh per employee, or $35,000 per employee per year. They seem to be operating on
economies of scale rather than value creation. With the Y2K money drying up soon that will
separate the chaff from grain.

A closer look at human resources trends

The software export companies averaged a whopping 5,500-plus days of training per
organization in an year. However, when averaged across the employees of these
organizations, it amounts to six days per person per organization, only a few days higher
than their domestic counterparts. The domestic companies averaged five training days, and
though they spent on only 1,400 training days, because of their smaller average employee
size, they have a comparable average. In terms of specific training needs, domestic
companies spent more on management and seminars and software export companies spent more
on skills development.

Software export companies have a large number of employees qualified as
post-graduates and engineers. This population constitutes 67% in software export
organizations but only 50% in domestic companies. Domestic companies have another
comparable segment of graduates and diploma holders who constitute 42% of their total
employees. Software export companies also have more doctorates and higher qualified
employees on rolls than domestic companies.

Work Experience
Both domestic and software export companies have almost similar work experience deployment

Recruitment and Attrition
Very often we hear, ‘Our company has a lower attrition rate than the industry, we have
only 18%, they have 15% attrition, the industry has 12%…and so on.’ So what’s the
official figure? We look at the human resources turnover in the IT industry as the result
of two components. The first is vacancies resulting from expansion and growth and the
second through attrition. The industry combats the result of both issues at the same time.
For coping with growth, both domestic and software exporters took on 15 to 16% additional
employees in a year. In terms of attrition, the domestic industry appears to have a larger
battle at hand, combating 18% losses in a year. In comparison, the software export
organizations face only 10% attrition in a year. The net results for both are a numbing
34% for domestic companies and a lesser 27% for software export organizations. However, in
terms of sheer numbers, software export organizations recruit almost twice as many as in
the domestic organizations. An average software export organization recruits 250-plus
employees in a year, in comparison to a domestic organization’s 113 employees.

Employee Strength
A safe conclusion is that there is a much higher percentage of software export
organizations in the 100 and 1,000 above employee bracket levels. Domestic companies
mostly fall into the below-100 employee bracket.

Job role deployment
There are two distinct areas of difference between the domestic and software export
companies. First, software export companies have little need for sales and marketing
employees and they constitute less than 6% of the populace. In comparison, sales and
marketing personnel for domestic companies stand at 18%. Second, software export companies
have a large number of employees called the product and project developers and they
constitute the single largest segment of employees at 48%. In comparison, domestic
companies have only 21% of developers. For the remaining types of job roles, like
implementation, support, R&D and Quality Control, employee deployment is almost the
same for domestic and software exports organizations.

Concern Areas
The average domestic IT organization appears to have downsized, with the number reducing
from 425 employees in 1997-98 to 384 employees in 1998-99. The new entrants in the DQ Top
200 are probably leaner and smarter than their older counterparts. The effective
deployment of IT applications replacing top-heavy manpower enrollments. Reflecting the
somber corporate sentiment, the average domestic IT organization has grown by only 10% in

Also, while the productivity of domestic companies is
higher than their export counterparts, the latter is more significant because it reflects
the actual global value of the country’s intellect. And the value is much too low by any
global benchmark. Indian intellect is both being under utilized and under valued.

An attempt has also been made to estimate the total human
resources employed in both the domestic and software export industries. These are based on
extrapolations from the average figures of employment and estimates of the total universe.
In the last one year the total numbers employed in the Indian IT industry (both domestic
and export) has gone up from 350,000 to 408,000. While the total number of enrollments
from private IT training institutes in 1998-99 exceeded 800,000, we estimate that the
remaining number are either absorbed by end-user organizations or migrate overseas. The
average figures presented here reflect the trends across the top 150 domestic companies
and top 50 software exporters. For extrapolation, much lower averages have been assumed
for the rest of the industry.

In future, with IT deployment increasing in Indian
enterprises, and software and services export organizations attempting to move up the
value chain, monitoring these human resource parameters will provide early evidence of the
advancement of maturity into our local environment.

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