Look where IT companies are poaching talent from

Published By : The Times Of India

BANGALORE/HYDERABAD: In tough times such as these, when software companies are extremely choosy about hiring, there is one area where the demand for professionals far exceeds supply — data analytics.

The consequence is that large information technology companies are aggressively poaching from small, specialist data analytics companies and driving up salaries for those with skills in this niche. Analysing vast amounts of data to help corporations make more informed business decisions is an emerging opportunity that software services companies are eager to tap into.

While smaller firms such as MuSigma, Fractal Analytics, Manthan Systems, Opera Solutions, AbsoluteData have been early birds in the space, larger companies like Tata consultancy Services, Cognizant, Infosys and Wipro, who were late to the game, are now scrambling for talent.

Rahul Kumar, an engineering graduate who refused to join typical IT companies for an annual salary of Rs 4-5 lakhs, is now being offered jobs that pays as much as Rs 7-10 lakh after he did a specialised data analytics course that trained him in the tools of the trade. Not much different is the case of Ashish Jain who works in the analytics practice at Infosys and is getting job offers with a promise of up to 50% raise.

“As traditional IT services firms try to ramp up their big data and analytic services, places like Manthan systems become a good source of trained talent,” said Atul Jalan, chief executive officer of Manthan Systems, which helps retail chains understand their customers better to be able reach out to them with right products at the right time.

“The only way to combat this trend of poaching is to provide the analysts with good opportunities and challenges.” The Bangalore-based analytics firm, which has seen a recent spike in employee attrition and looking for ways to improve employee engagement, is maintaining a “bench” of employees to shield itself from the impact of attrition .

“Instead of enforcing a bond on them, we reached out to our employees to understand their needs,” said Jalan. Industry analysts estimate that big data and data analytics firms are witnessing employee churn levels of between 15% and 20%, compared to broader IT industry attrition rates of 9% to 14%. “When the need comes, companies are ready to take the talent at any cost.

They make a lucrative offer in terms of salary, global exposure and role, which is difficult to say no to,” said Gaurav Vohra, founder and head of Jigsaw Academy , a Bangalore-based institute that offers specialised training in data analytics. The rush for talent is fuelled by the rapid rise in demand for analytics services.

Industry body Nasscom estimates analytics to be a $7.5 billion opportunity—including domestic demand and exports— by 2020 for Indian companies. The smaller, niche firms that are bearing the brunt of this tug-of-war for talent are investing in different strategies to be able to retain talent.

A report by Crisil said small Indian data analytics firms are investing heavily in infrastructure and other office facilities to create an employee-friendly environment. Some companies try to offer stock options as a means of ensuring employee loyalty.

“We obviously need to pay our people fairly and over the last four years, our increments have been a few percentage points higher than the IT industry,” said Srikanth Velamakanni , cofounder and CEO of Fractal Analytics that offer predictive analytics solutions to financial services, insurance and consumer goods clients.