IT Career - Pitfalls to avoid



It is very humbling when a youngster walks up to us and says “Thanks for helping me get my first job”. While we are delighted at one end, we are worried at the other. Why? Because, most of the time a fledgling mind does not see the disaster ahead!

Yes, we mean disaster – 75% of IT professionals of 2011-2014 batches will be unemployed 20 years from now. And this is assuming IT industry does well !! Looks unlikely? Read on to know more.

Indian IT industry has employed around 7,50,000 professionals from the four batches (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014). An estimated 1,50,000 of these will leave the Indian IT industry to pursue higher studies and never come back to work for the same industry. That leaves us with 6,00,000 professionals who will be in the industry for long. The question is: How long? Being highly paid with around 20 years of experience, in the year 2030, companies would want them to take larger responsibilities and oversee at least 100 professionals under them. Summing it up, these 6 lakh professionals should have 6 crore professionals below them. Assuming IT industry grows at 10% per annum for 20 years (caution - it may already be slowing down), the whole industry will be just 1.2 crore strong. That means at most 1.2 lakh senior professionals will be needed. What would happen to the rest 4.8 lakh professionals? They would, of course, be unemployed.

Difficult to digest? In 1995, there were approximately 11,000 software professionals across all levels. Nearly 50% of them are now citizens of another country or earned enough money from the exponentially growing market (nascent market then) growing market to retire, appropriately called VIP (vested in peace). Another at most 15,500 professionals of the same era migrated into IT industry from other industries (like SAP consultants, Supply Chain, Financial professionals). So that is a conservative 21,000 senior professionals in the whole of Indian IT industry. Many of these who lose a job today struggle to find another suitable profile (20 Yrs of experience) and this is when growth rates in this period have been over 25%. You can see it happening for the current 40+ year old professionals!!

Now you have a lingering doubt – could there be something wrong in the projections? Yes !! But it is unfortunately on the negative side. What if the industry grows slower than 10% (may be another bad patch of no growth for 2-4 years). What if automation makes many more jobs redundant (now in IT itself, think about it!)? Last but not the least, another country taking away jobs from India (like China did in manufacturing)?

A tell-a-tale from not very long ago is the textile mills of Bombay. They were teeming with activity and nothing could go wrong for them in 1970s and early 1980s. It could only get better as population was growing and people’s ability to spend was increasing. These very mills today are malls!! It can be argued to be a ‘crowding out’ phenomenon, surely not applicable to sunrise IT industry. Or maybe it is visible only in hindsight !!!

What are we doing at eLitmus to help the cause?

  1. We are pushing companies not to lower the entry barriers. We have found that immediately after a slow down year, quality and quantity of candidates improve. Quantity ok, but how quality? You call it competition, you call it lowered demand or call it buyers market. So if companies can adopt the quality principals in this period, why not in growth phase as well. It will help students also. We strongly believe a youngster`s ability to adapt and evolve is much higher than an older person. So push them today rather than tomorrow. If you remember your grandparents had the fitness and ability to walk kilometres at their old age (not spoilt by automobiles when they were a child)

  2. Educating students that the easy path out, though rosy for short term, will destroy them. We want them to go that extra mile. That explains our rigorous question paper which tests fundamentals and concepts. We want them to earn their job rather than get it. In the process their ability goes up. Few students who wrote pH test in the initial years of eLitmus have founded their own start-ups.

  3. Ensuring start-ups and companies with great work environment do not struggle for lack of talent. Most of these engagements are loss making. We survive thanks to the fact that most of our colleagues at eLitmus are passionate about what they do and work at a fraction of their market salary!!

We are committed to “making India competitive” and we hope we have challenged the young reader of this blog to go the extra mile. As Steve Jobs once quoted the Whole Earth catalogue “Stay hungry, Stay foolish!”

Aseem Marwaha photo Aseem Marwaha
Aseem heads Corporate Sales at eLitmus. He started his career with a brief stint in paper industry post which he worked with Infosys and iFlex and developed custom software in the banking and enterprise domains. After that, he worked as an adviser in recruitment strategy to companies like Synectics (now Logica), eCredit and Quidnunc. He was also the founder of Browse Consulting, a highly successful recruitment firm in the software industry.