India still adding IT jobs despite recession

The largest gains came in the IT services and business process outsourcing industries, where 487,000 jobs were added last quarter

India added 487,000 jobs in its IT and BPO (business process outsourcing) export industries in the quarter ended Dec. 31, despite the global recession, according to a Quarterly Quick Employment Survey by the country's labor bureau.

The survey was conducted to assess the impact of the economic slowdown on employment in India.

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The results, released Thursday, found that of a total of 638,000 jobs added across the economy, 580,000 were in the exports sector. IT services and BPO exporters led the pack.

Besides Indian service providers, a large number of multinational companies like IBM and Accenture have set up IT services and BPO operations in the country, that service both the Indian market and markets abroad. Most of India's IT and BPO exports go to the U.S. and the U.K.

In January this year, a large number of Indian outsourcers, including the largest, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), and the second largest, Infosys Technologies, reported plans to increase hiring in anticipation of improved business conditions.

TCS, for example, added 7,692 positions in last quarter of 2009, taking the total staff at the end of the quarter to 149,654. The company plans to hire about 8,000 trainees and about 3,000 experienced staff in the current quarter, it said.

India's software and services exports are expected to grow at 5.5 percent to $49.7 billion in the Indian fiscal year to March 31, 2010, Minister for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot told Parliament on Thursday.

That growth rate for software and services exports is well behind the 16.5 percent rate in the year to March 31, 2009, and 29.5 percent in the previous year.

However an expected uptick in business later this year is driving new hiring by the IT and BPO sector. The National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) said in February that India's exports of software services and BPO are likely to increase by 13 to 15 percent in the fiscal year to March 31, 2011.

Some companies have also indicated that they will increase staff salaries soon. Raises were cut down or held back last year after the recession hit the industry.

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