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Cognizant plans to hire around 28,000 freshers from campuses in 2021

Cognizant has announced that it is planning to hire 28,000 freshers to meet the surging demand in the country according to media reports.

The company has increased its revenue growth prediction to 7-9% for the current year, or 5.6-7.6% in constant currency terms. The company expects 10.5-11.5% growth in the second quarter. The New Jersey-based company follows a January-December financial year.

“We have upped (campus hires) to 28,000 plus. That's what we offered in 2021,” stated Rajesh Nambiar, chairman and managing director of Cognizant India. “We remain very confident in Cognizant standing as a magnet for skilled talent and a great place to build a career.”

Nambiar has stated there had been a significant growth in the company’s brand perception recently, primarily in the talent market.

“Our campus acceptance rate amongst all India's top engineering colleges has risen more. And now it's roughly about 81%. It's up 10 percentage points since 2019," Nambiar warns that the major problems faced by right now is not attracting the right talent but losing them.

“Today, we do not have an issue in terms of attracting talent, but we're also losing talent, which is the biggest issue," he stated.

The company’s total attrition rate was at 21% in the January-March quarter and 19% in the last quarter. Voluntary attrition was at 18% in the first quarter, the company revealed in a statement.

The reason behind the company’s high attrition rate is due to the increase in competition in the market for digital talent, Nambiar added, that since it is helping build that talent pool, the company is now a 'target' for rivals. However, the marketplace will get back to normal as the present situation is temporary.

“Our Q1 attrition rate was actually within the historic range," he stated. “It wasn't too off the charts. Our daily resignation trend has actually increased in the past quarter. We peaked in March. But on a positive note, our resignations slowed down significantly in April, and it continues to slow down.”

The company is stepping up internal initiatives also making investments in employees via training, job rotation, as well as targeted salary hikes and promotions, Nambiar said.

“We're also shifting to a quarterly promotion cycle to all the billable associates and ramping up our hiring capacity by adding hundreds of recruiters,” he added.

However, there is an imbalance in the demand-supply for talent across hyperscale, AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, as well as digital engineering - such as full-stack engineers, or in the data science domain with artificial intelligence and machine learning, he said.

The work-from-home environment that is currently prevalent does not develop a sense of community, and can also be seen as the reason for the high attrition rates, he added.

“We entered 2021 with a very strong backlog, our pipelines continue to be strong. What it also means is that when the pipeline is strong, our backlog is going to be strong. Booking actually grew by 5% year over year and that's a very nice indication,” Nambiar stated.

“And what is also interesting is that within the 5% in booking, if you look at the digital portfolio, and broadly our priority areas are what we call digital background, that is actually outperforming the total company booking,” he added.