$14 billion worth Cognizant, which was hailed as India’s 3rd largest employer of IT professionals, the company which overtook the mighty TCS to become 2nd largest Indian IT company in 2012, has activated the layoff mode, rather sharply and vehemently.
As per various reports coming in from the IT giant, it has been found that close to 6000 to 10,000 employees of Cognizant will be terminated this year. This amounts to 2.3% to 5% of their overall employee base globally.
In India, there are 1,88,000 employees, whereas globally, there are 2.6 lakh employees.
It hasn’t been revealed yet that out of 6000-10,000 employees, how many belong to India.
How Serious Are The Terminations?
In an average annual period, around 1% of employees working in Cognizant usually leave the company (attrition), or are asked to leave after performance reviews. In 2015, 1% of their employees left the company, whereas, in 2014, 1-1.5% had chosen another job.
However, this year, the figure of 1% has increased to 2.5-5%, which is a pretty serious number. Up to 10,000 employees would be terminated, thereby creating a massive imbalance in the IT eco-system.
As per a report in ET, these terminations across various divisions of Cognizant has been mainly triggered by the invasion of automation and changing digital landscape.
Their report said, “Cognizant is said to be looking to cut roles that have become redundant due to the impact of automation on lower-end IT jobs..”
Cognizant Management Says This Is Normal
Interestingly, via their various statements issued, it seems that the management of Cognizant has played down these terminations and has expressed that it is a normal thing to do for such a large company.
In a statement issued, the company said, “As part of our workforce management strategy, we conduct regular performance reviews to ensure we have the right employee skill sets necessary to meet client needs and achieve our business goals. This process results in changes, including some employees transitioning out of the company,”
Downplaying the massive numbers of 6,000 to 10,000 employees getting axed, the company spokesperson has defined it as a ‘bounce of percentage here and there’.
The statement further said, “In any given year, the numbers may bounce a percentage here and there, but resizing our employee base is a part of our standard practice…”
Is Automation The Reason For Firing?
It seems automation and increased usage of AI in delivering their projects looks to be a major reason for the termination of up to 5% of Cognizant employees.
Karen McLoughlin, chief financial officer, Cognizant had hinted about automation removing redundant jobs when he said few days earlier: “.. And we will aggressively use automation to drive the optimisation of traditional offerings such as applications, infrastructure and process services. Some of these efficiencies will be offset by critical investments in building new digital capabilities, as well as potential pricing pressure in some traditional lines of service..”
Meanwhile Francisco D’Souza, CEO, Cognizant had said, “As agile development and the pervasive influence of technology increases, the value of colocation and a consultative approach also goes up,”
Will other IT firms also follow Cognizant in slimming down their employee-base due to automation? We will keep you updated as more details come in..