Cognizant has stepped up its hiring efforts for both freshers and lateral hires in the country and expects the number of new recruits in the March quarter to be "more than ever before", Cognizant India Chairman and Managing Director Rajesh Nambiar said.
The US-based company, which has over two lakh employees in India, expects to hire more than 23,000 fresh graduates this year in the country.
"India has always been and will continue to be a very important part of what we do in Cognizant. At nearly 2,04,500, our India headcount at the end of 2020 was Cognizant's highest ever in the country. We continue to be one of the top recruiters of high-quality engineering, science, management and other talent in India," Nambiar told PTI.
He added that the company hired more than 17,000 fresh graduates from campuses in calendar year 2020, and expects to hire over 23,000 fresh graduates in 2021 - 35 per cent more than in 2020.
"Our campus commitment is all about us skilling up and these campus hires will complement our lateral hires. In fact, we're on track to bring in more new hires in Q1 of 2021 than ever before as we ramp our hiring capacity to accommodate our growth plans for 2021 and beyond. India will continue to be one of our key hubs for talent acquisition," Nambiar said.
He noted that the company continues to heavily reskill and upskill its employees.
"We reskilled more than 1.3 lakh employees in digital skills in the last 18 months alone. In addition, we have also been running one of the industry's most scalable internship programs. Last year, we got 5,000 for internship within Cognizant," he said.
This year, the programme is being expanded to accommodate 10,000 interns, he added.
There are reports that the company has set up a USD 30-million "retention fund" to hold back top performers and digitally-skilled employees.
While Nambiar did not comment on the development, he said the market for skilled digital talent is intensely competitive, creating demand-supply imbalances for certain skills.
"In key digital areas, there are more open positions than qualified persons to fill those positions. We are therefore heavily focused on maintaining a competitive and appealing employee environment where every person is inspired to achieve, driven to perform, and rewarded for their contributions," he said.
Nambiar stated that a vital aspect of this is sustained investment in engaging high-performing talent, enhancing pay-for-performance approach, and reinforcing the career path opportunities created by growing momentum.
"Given our strategic, operational and commercial progress, and a strengthening demand environment, we have entered 2021 with great confidence and are 100 per cent focused on attracting and retaining the right talent. We aim for our employees to feel motivated, engaged, and empowered to do their best work through careers they find meaningful," he said.
Cognizant had seen its December 2020 quarter revenue decline 2.3 per cent to USD 4.18 billion from the year-ago period, while the topline was marginally lower for full-year 2020 at USD 16.65 billion.
However, the company had exuded confidence about growth in 2021 on the back of a strengthening demand environment.