NEW DELHI: Indian information technology employees want the government to step in and make it easier for them to leave their jobs, at a time when they face the prospect of poor salary increases and slower job growth.
Over 28,000 professionals have signed an online petition asking the ministry of labour to stop IT companies from holding workers to a three-month non-negotiable notice period.
“It is unrealistic for anyone to plan that far ahead for their future actions and resign in advance not knowing state of the issue in next three months,” the petition said. IT employees say the petition is gathering support across WhatsApp groups and other messaging platforms.
TCS BSE -1.82 %, Infosys BSE -1.87 %, Tech Mahindra BSE -0.17 %, HCL Technologies BSE -0.23 %, Capgemini, Accenture and IBM have three-month notice periods.
The problem for the 3.9 million Indian IT employees is one of job mobility. “Three-month notice is clear exploitation,” said an employee at an Indian IT company, who did not want to be identified.
“The IT companies try to stop employees for three months, but the next company is not ready to wait for three months. So mostly people go jobless for a couple of months and then look for a new post,” he said.
For IT employees — expected to receive low single-digit wage increases for the next financial year — the situation is onerous.
Tech Mahindra has suspended the salary revision process for employees with more than six years of experience, pending a management review. National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) has also postponed setting a target for industry growth until May as the industry battles slowing growth and regulatory hurdles in the US, its largest market.
Human resource experts said the three-month notice period is being used as a tool by IT companies to combat high attrition rates. While these rates vary, most Indian IT firms face attrition rates of between 13% and 20%, according to industry estimates.
The extended notice period acts like a hidden retention policy forcing employees to think twice about leaving, while making it hard for a prospective employer to wait that long. “Many candidates are not able to apply for a new job as prospective employers are not willing to initiate the hiring process because of this clause,” Alka Dhingra, assistant GM at recruitment firm TeamLease, told ET.
In the IT services sector, employees are billable resources and it is likely that a company will lose money if a suitable replacement is not found, forcing companies to adopt every method to retain employees.
“In the services business, companies are almost entirely structuring the arrangement with the client on the basis of the individual employee,” said Anandorup Ghose, partner-talent & rewards at Aon Hewitt Consulting. “A two-three month notice period ensures a contingency plan,” he said adding that it is common across industries.
A longer notice period also gives IT firms a chance to find replacements and this is particularly true for employees with niche skills. Industry seniors are of the view that the issue has been exacerbated by high demand for specific skills like data analytics or user experience “If (employees) doesn’t have good skills or (are) not critical to a project, chances are (companies) will let them leave,” said a senior executive at an Indian IT firm.
“But skilled people will need to serve the notice period because they are hard to replace,” the executive added. However, he added that companies cannot have separate notice period for different employees.
IT companies say they do offer flexibility on the threemonth notice clause.
“We have a three-month notice clause to ensure a smooth project transition as well as to encourage a professional handover. We feel that this is desirable considering the long-term nature of client engagements,” Infosys said in a statement to ET.
“However, we do provide flexibility to our employees in case of personal exigencies or when there is minimal impact on our projects or business continuity.”
(Note: This Story has been completely carried over from http://economictimes.indiatimes.com and NewsToday.Buzz has not edited the content)