Even as Indian tech companies have sent out positive signals on hiring this year, several multi-national tech companies in India are in hiring-freeze mode, while also letting go of employees in sizable numbers or repatriating them into divisions that are not being shut down.
On Wednesday news emerged from global IT giant IBM of several hundred jobs being cut at its India centres in the last few days. Several posts at Alliance@IBM — a global union website for IBM employees — reported “a massive layoff at IBM India in Bangalore”.
“Just heard from a colleague in Bangalore that job cuts there have begun. Workers asked to leave on the spot. He claims six out of 23 people in his department,’’ said one post at the union site.
“Job cuts in India STG announced today including managers. Asked to return laptops within two hours and leave premises,’’ said a post at the site that claimed to be from Bangalore.
Sources in IBM India said the company had been primed for a massive job cut in April last year but the lay offs were not effected and employees were told that they would not receive hikes in salaries till December 2013.
“Earlier employees who were leaving the company were not being held back and employees who were being asked to leave were being given three months time to find jobs within the company or outside. What is happening now, over the last two days, is that people are being just asked to leave. It is a little bad now,” sources in IBM India said. Sources, however, said that the layoffs were not massive as described in the posts.
IBM India is the biggest development unit of IBM and employs nearly 84,000. The post on Alliance@IBM suggested that as many as 40 per cent of the jobs in India were being slashed, but sources in IBM India said the numbers were much smaller.
Many IBM employees, who were contacted, said they had not heard of the layoffs.
Speculation about the company carrying out a “rebalancing of resources’’ has been in the air every time the company has reported poor growth over the last two years.
At least two other major MNC tech companies have restructured its workforce with silent layoffs and shut down of non performing units over the last two months.
In January, president of Intel India Kumud Srinivasan had stated that the company was instead re-assigning roles from low priority areas to high priority areas. “We are getting to reduce our own head count, we generally see about 4 per cent attrition every year anyway. This is bit of a stress over and above that,” she said.
Srinivasan said that the company was looking at measures like voluntary retirement to achieve the target of an ideal headcount number. “We don’t know what the impact on India will be. It is not going to be exceptional,” she said while acknowledging that there would be a hiring freeze in 2014 fiscal.