Indian IT giant Infosys has revealed that it will put 10% of its workforce to work on developing internal systems, such as human resources and invoicing systems, in order to keep them busy despite slowing demand.
All the Indian IT companies have a significant proportion of their employees ‘on the bench’ at any given time. In December 2008, for example, Infosys had as many as 25% of its 100,000 strong workforce ‘on the bench’.
This supposedly gives them the ability to scale up customer projects very quickly, although cynics might suggest it also allows them to withhold talent from competitors.
However, the recession has made this situation graver. Some customers, including US financial institutions, have simply disappeared, while many others have scaled down their IT spending.
This puts the Indian IT companies, who hire and train thousands of graduates every year, in a tricky situation. They are faced with significantly adding to their employee base despite already being overstaffed. Most companies delayed their ‘on-boarding’ process as the scale of the recession became clear.
Infosys, however, has been the first to complete ‘on-boarding’ for the year and has, it says, honoured all 20,000 job offers it made last year.
Putting excess staff to work on its own systems will maintain their skills, the company’s HR head told Indian website livemint.com. “You can’t have [employees] waiting for one year on the bench, they would forget all that they have been trained on,” said Nandita Gurjar.