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In healthy Indian job market, developers want it all

By , IDG News Service
October 28, 2004 09:33 AM ET

IDG News Service - As hiring picks up in Bangalore, India, the city's software professionals are again acquiring the spoiled-brat image they had in the late 1990s, when the dot-com boom increased staff requirements at Indian outsourcing companies.

Demand is highest for software professionals with two to four years of experience, and many change jobs frequently for a hike in salary of over 40%, according to Bijay Sahoo, vice president for talent engagement and development with Bangalore's Wipro, India's third largest software outsourcing company. Wipro added 3,300 software developers in the third quarter alone.

Software development companies in other Indian cities like Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi are also facing a shortage of suitable engineers. Kenexa Technologies Pvt., the Hyderabad subsidiary of Kenexa, a Wayne, Penn., provider of recruiting services and software, recently plowed through 500 applications to fill six positions, according to Raghuveer Sakuru, managing director of the subsidiary.

The quality of applicants was poor and there were a large number of fake resumes, according to Sakuru. Not only must companies like Kenexa offer raises of as much as 70% to new hires over their current salaries, but retaining staff means giving salary increases of at least 10% at each six-month review. "If you give anything less than 10% at a review, they feel insulted," Sakuru said.

Kenexa plans to set up a facility in Bangalore by year-end. "You get better software developers in Bangalore than in Hyderabad," Sakuru said.

Large scale hiring of staff by multinationals such as Accenture and IBM for their Indian software operations created a shortage of experienced engineers, particularly in Bangalore, which has emerged as India's IT hub. The engineer shortage is expected to get worse as local outsourcing companies increase hiring to meet an outsourced services serge.

Software developers are often willing to wait until they get a job with a salary that matches their expectations, said Gautam Sinha, CEO of TVA Infotech Pvt, a Bangalore recruitment firm. "They know that they don't have to wait very long," he added.

Although staff are currently focused on maximizing their monetary benefits, other demands are being honored. "We had a case of a software engineer who insisted he would join a company only if his girlfriend was also accommodated in that company," Sinha said.

The opportunity to travel abroad with a job also attracts employees because they gain from the international exposure, according to Sahoo.

As Bangalore's infrastructure deteriorates under the weight of the growing technology industry, software professionals are also getting choosy about work locations. "If there is more traffic on the roads and it takes them more time to reach the office, you may find some resignations because of that," Sahoo said.

Companies prefer to hire experienced engineers from other top businesses, which contributes to the Indian staff crunch, according to Sinha. "Companies do campus recruitments as well, but they need people who are productive fast, and it takes at least six months for a campus recruit to become productive," he said.

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