Local Economy Backed Top Level Engineers In Hot Demand: Nagarro HR Director
Nagarro has added close to 1700 people, approximately 30 percent of our workforce last year itself: Mukund Nair, Director HR, Nagarro
IT consulting firm Nagarro is in its expansion mode and would be hiring around 2000 IT Professionals pan India in the coming year. With their main office located in Gurgaon, they have already expanded their operations to Pune and Bangalore and now they are planning to open a new office in Noida.
Mukund Nair, Director of HR, Nagarro talks to BW People about the changing business requirements, hiring engineers with relevant skills and opportunities in the IT sector.
How requirement or business changes influence your hiring plans for current FY?
Organizations need to pivot their entire business to be not just technology enabled, but actually be technology driven to stay relevant. In such an environment, companies like us in the business of thinking breakthroughs for our clients, there is a very strong demand all across the globe to partner with us and help companies in their technology-led innovation journey. Meeting this explosive demand business requires considerable scaling up of our hiring operations, in fact, we have more than doubled it year on year. This means significantly scaling up hiring operations using AI, automation and intelligent assessments while ensuring there is no compromise on the quality of hire.
How difficult is it to hire engineers meeting your skillset requirement?
Hiring high-quality engineers to meet our requirements is a typical problem of “Paradox of plenty”. We tend to get a large number of applications, but for laterals, approximately 5 percent actually get selected, while at the fresher level the selection ratio is less than 0.5 percent.
At the fresher level, the challenge is the quality of education being quite poor and engineers with very weak programming skills while lacking industry ready soft skills. For laterals, unfortunately, the way the Indian IT industry has progressed over the years, the majority of the work performed is low complexity. These engineers are therefore not able to exhibit the potential needed to execute the high complexity work our clients demand of us.
In addition to the technical skills, we also place great emphasis on attitude, where people are self-driven with a high sense of ownership, with the ability to quickly and intelligently respond to any challenges while embracing ambiguity as an exciting environment to be in. Considering most engineers tend to be very binary in their approach and seeking direction rather than leading from the front, they don’t really meet our exacting requirements. To help ensure our very high benchmarks of quality are met, we use varied forms of selection methods like IQ tests, programming tests, technical skills based online assessments as well as multiple rounds of interviews to identify the right fit.
What is the diversity ratio in the organization? How do you plan to increase the ratio going ahead?
Approximately one-third of our workforce is women today, and we would like to increase it significantly through a slew of initiatives to help increase women representation across all levels. We ensure through a nomination process that all formal and informal meetings at senior levels have at least 33 percent representation of women. We have a daycare facility within our office premises to help parents keep their loved ones in a safe environment, encouraging integration into the workforce for women joining back post maternity. To help break stereotypes as well as drive technology leadership, we run a program Young lady architects, where women in technology are mentored and trained to become world-class software engineers. We are also going to increase women participation in the senior management group of the organization. Finally, we are investing heavily in a variety of skills testing platforms to help make recruitment and promotions as objective as possible and help reduce bias in the selection process.
Is the IT sector fully back on track? How are employment opportunities shaping up?
In this extremely dynamic and closely interconnected global business environment, it is extremely risky to make predictions, however, the Indian IT sector has rallied well to move up the value chain in the global technology services landscape. In addition, a strong local economy has also helped create demand and hopefully, the complete dependence on global markets will start to reduce a bit, as consumption of IT services grows in Indian organizations. While 2017 and the first half of 2018 was a bit dull, employment opportunities have improved dramatically since then and at least the top-notch engineering talent market is quite hot.
What are the recent developments in Nagarro? How do you plan to fund an additional office space to cut down on travel time? Does it also help cut down the attrition rate?
Nagarro has been growing at breakneck speed and has been expanding across the globe adding close to 1700 people, approximately 30 percent of our workforce last year itself and expect these numbers to grow significantly this year too. With this rapid expansion we are also on the lookout for top-notch talent and true to our mission statement, we want to make distance irrelevant between intelligent people. This means setting up ourselves to be able to work with a globally distributed talent base. Our internal data has identified that relocation is a major cause of attrition and our ability to work across multiple locations definitely not only helps attract new talent but also works in retaining them.
How long is an engineer’s term as an employee on a general basis?
In the industry today it is becoming increasingly difficult to retain high-quality engineers. In a booming market, which is what has been the case for the majority of the last decade, there is so much movement that even if one is not actively searching for opportunities, there are organizations constantly looking to attract high-quality engineers. The trend we have typically noticed is, between the 1 to 3 year period is when engineers are most vulnerable. The ones who stay longer than that tend to do so for the exciting growth path they are on and this is the reason why the majority of our senior leadership is homegrown, having spent anywhere between 5 to 15+ years in the organization.