Bangalore back from recession with job-hopping boom

Outsourcing workers voting for pay hikes and perks with their feet

There is also the problem of quality control and, in long-term projects, the issue of continuity.

But attrition is a reality that is staring companies in the face. Headhunter Pravin Shastri, who recruits for outsourcing firms such as Cognizant Technologies and LG Soft, says multinational technology firms which have begun recruiting in big numbers are providing the trigger for the job hoppers. "It is a bonanza phase once again, the beginning of a cycle," he says.

The bulk of Bangalore's labour force is made up of young educated workers, averaging between 20- and 30-years-old, some of them just out of college, who skip from employer to employer, sometimes shifting a job every year. In this once-sleepy city, lifetime employment has become a myth and employers say they can only expect loyalty to the profession and not to the company.

Logica's Fernandes says job-hopping is unbridled because Bangalore offers all types of jobs ranging from product development to services, from BPO to IT support. Between job types, salaries and job fulfilment aspects are closely monitored and dissected by employees, he says.

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Bangalore is booming again
Photo credit: Saritha Rai/silicon.com

Jobs are on offer at marquee name companies which young workers covet on their resume. Friends who work for different firms often live or socialise together. Over beer or biryani, there is much bragging about the brand they work for, the money they make or the work they do. Such comparisons invariably trigger the job-hopping cycle, says Fernandes.

The wage differential between Bangalore and Boston, according to industry figures, is still eight to 10 times. But for Western outsourcing customers, excessive job-hopping is seen as robbing Bangalore of some of its competitive edge, overriding the payback from lower wages.

Before 2009 technology workers had been pampered through a six- or seven-year cycle of unprecedented growth and all-round prosperity. So the recent recession came as a rude shock to most of them, says Ma Foi Randstad India CEO E Balaji. "Now that the good times are here again, restless workers are voting with their feet," he says.

"They see [moving from one company to another] as normal," he adds.