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    3.0.1            The IT revolution is sweeping the world, particularly the western world in for nearly a decade now, creating enormous employment opportunities in this area. India joined the bandwagon well in time and smoothly though it is yet to entrench itself strongly in terms of corporate identity and significant share of global revenues in IT.

    3.0.2             Our main contribution seems to be in the less glamorous areas of value addition, maintenance, Y2K, quality assurance and customisation of existing packages. The sudden eruption of opportunities in this area left no time for development of human resources in a planned manner and also software solutions which tended to be more ad hoc than being assured of quality.

    3.0.3            With the enormous opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship with low capital investment and low gestation period for turning profitable, higher returns per employee and large return on investment/EPS, sustained encouragement from government, a very large number of organisations - large, medium, small - have been established. Correspondingly a large number of training establishments and cyber cafes have come up, most of which are in the cities and towns to cash in on the enthusiasm of the urban middle class.

    3.0.4            A number of higher level courses have also been started mainly through private organisations besides the existing government (State/Central), university and autonomous institutions. There are about 500 private engineering colleges besides IITs, RECs, universities, colleges offering courses such as MCA, M.Sc., M.E., and M.Tech. In view of the apparent demand that appears to be exaggerated, most of the programmes (barring a few by government institutions and IITs) are very expensive, almost beyond the reach of a middle-class student. Yet candidates and their parents strain themselves financially to pursue the courses hoping to get an attractive job (financially) which remains a mirage by and large. The problems are further compounded by a lack of proper teaching faculty in most colleges and franchises.

3.0.5               Except in well-established institutions, job-placements are poor. Even those trained in reputed institutions find their jobs monotonous, leading to depression. Jobs offered by the software industry have demonstrated the above factors as they are able to carry out the projects with persons of any background and levels of attainment, but with a few months training either prior to employment or a short training during probation.

3.0.6                Despite these deficiencies, students prefer software jobs mainly with an eye on the pay-package and urban locations. The employee- retention period even in good companies has been shrinking and is found to be three to six months. The companies also try to devise methods to make their employees almost captive with surety bonds, bank guarantees, employee's stock option (ESOP) and housing facilities, among others. The employees, for their part, resort to innovative methods to wriggle out of their contracts. There does not appear to be any respectable ethics even among companies as well as the employees in this type of free for all market. To go abroad and become rich has become the motive of most of the employees even if the job does not offer any intellectual satisfaction. The manufacturing and hard-core engineering sector has also shrunk in terms of job opportunities and attractiveness.

3.0.7                Even those software professionals, who are offered good financial packages, spend their earnings on expensive lifestyles, vehicles, and credit card syndrome and find themselves disenchanted on all fronts including the intellectual front. It should also be a cause for concern to project beyond the present software boom as to what happens to all these if the opportunities decline. The scenario appears to be quite fluid with a predominant western bias in all the activities concerning software profession with scores of Indian boys getting lured and sucked into the vortices created by the opportunities in this area

3.1           MAIN PROBLEM AREAS

3.1.1               The significant problem areas which may be contributing to the present scenario and can be addressed can be identified as given in the succeeding  paragraphs.

3.1.2               Recruitment process :-Without going into the deficiencies of the present practices, the following suggestions are made to improve the process in terms of efficiency, availability of manpower and equity to all the aspirants irrespective of the fact where they got educated. The various steps of the proposed approach are as follows:

i.          Aptitude tests could be conducted by reputed institutes like IITs/ private organizations/HR agencies for prospective professionals preferably ``on-line'' like GRE, GMAT etc. or physically at regular intervals and scores are given. If it is no on-line, the periodicity can be a month or two and the validity can be for an year or so which can also be fixed based on general agreement.

ii.         Based on scores and preferences of the candidates (career counselling), companies can ask for a video clip for subsequent interview if required. Interviews can also be conducted simultaneously either physically or over the phone or by video conference and selections completed.

iii.        Once selected and the candidate joins the organizations, all member organizations should adopt a code of conduct such that the candidates stays at least for a period of one year.

iv.        Small companies can form some kind of a cooperative society wherein software professionals' services can be tapped and steer clear and manpower shortage (less than critical mass levels).

v.         The selection can be conditional that he acquires certified skills in the required areas either through training in house or through approved training agencies and establishments. This will also avoid the unnecessary expenses for (which are high) the candidates, who are presently spending lot of money with a hope of employment. This will also ensure that there is a focus on proper training and optimal deployment of time, effort and finances.

vi.        The selection process can thus be continuous and commensurate with the requirements thus avoiding idle inventory.

vii.       There can be general norms of pay packages depending on the reputation of the companies (classifying them as A, B, C, D by any reputed management institute like IIM etc.) with the ratio of maximum pay within reasonable and realistic limits.

3.1.2             Post employment care:- The companies/organizations should take adequate interest in the career development of the employee by suitable HRD approaches which should include the following:

i.             Opportunities for creative work in the first phase particularly for those who are bright, and have an aptitude and come with a good pedigree say from IITs.

ii.            Opportunities to lessen the monotony and improve interpersonal relationship and mixing and group activities.

iii.           Periodic rotation of the rolls and jobs if possible.

iv.           Opportunities for retraining and upgrading the skills.

v.            Conducting effective career development programs regularly.

vi.           Incentives like ESOP, lucrative assignments and challenging projects, opportunities of higher education.

vii.          Make the employee more versatile with wider perspective and flexible for easy deployment in areas needing strengthening.

viii.       Encouraging simplicity and excellence.

3.1.3              Advantages:- The suggested processes in 4 and 5 above can be expected to have the following significant advantages:

i.             Cost effective and efficient process.

ii.            Proper deployment of skills optimally.

iii.           Idle employment can be minimized.

iv.           Retention can be improved.

v.            Particularly useful for small firms which can also operate in the cooperative society mode.

vi.           The candidate's skills are moulded to suit the needs of the job and need not waste time, money and efforts.

vii.          Equitable opportunities to all aspirants irrespective of location, pedigree and background.

viii.         Reduces the mushrooms of training shops with inadequate faculty.

ix.           This may also give the manufacturing and core engineering sector jobs reasonable chance to attract willing and bright candidates.

x.            The process is ideally suited for candidates to plan their careers with adequate preparation in core areas.

xi.           The process also enables a realistic assessments of needs and demands regularly and meeting them even at short notices.

xii.          The aptitude tests can become richer and more representative over a few years and as the question bank becomes larger and random on-line questioning can be introduced which is more objective like GRE, GMAT

3.2                  LONG  TERM   PERSPECTIVE

3.2.1                 These tests can be conducted at the end of 10+2 level or B.Sc. level also and train the candidate with or without stipend in courses where he could get admission for his degree. This will help in decreasing the pressure on engineering education as otherwise the skills acquired by the candidate at a great cost in branches other than computer sciences are wasted and lost for good if employed by the software industry.

3.2.2                 It may be a good idea to have a National Test for Software Talent similar to science talent test which can be sponsored by NASSCOM and such other interested groups

3.2.3                 The idea of forming a cooperative society by small firms may prove to be beneficial as the facilities and manpower can be shared optimally. While otherwise they may face the problems of lack of adequate manpower (below the critical mass level) because of less attractive pay and perks they are able to offer.

3.2.4                 Renowned organizations like IITs, IIMs and MNCs, and can play a catalytic roll in streamlining the processes for an efficient HRD in this vital area of software manpower which is a national resource.

Find the 2nd Chapter ....................HR TRENDS IN IT INDUSTRY

Find the next chapter .................... IT SECTOR COMPENSATION METHODS

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