Fired IT professionals now opting for low-paying jobs

Bangalore,IANS:

Till a few months ago, IT professional T V George (31), earned Rs 70,000 per month, plus perks. But after losing his high-paying job and being unemployed for three months, he has started giving tuitions in Mathematics and Physics to aspiring engineering students in his neighbourhood.

“Now, I am earning Rs 15,000 per month. It has been hard. I had been married for just a few months when I lost my job, and I was in a difficult situation. Thankfully, I had some savings. With those savings, I pay for my rent, and a few other necessities,” said George, who was employed with a top US IT company.

“After losing my job, I tried my best to get a new one. But I remained unlucky. So to help run my home, I decided to conduct coaching classes for aspiring engineering students.”
George is not alone. Recession has hit the IT sector in Bangalore, with scores of techies losing their jobs. Some have been forced to take up low-paying jobs as they wait to bounce back when the recession ends.

Dipankar Dutta (27), who was working with an Indian IT company as software engineer, lost his job almost eight months ago. Today, he has a job, but as a content writer in a tech firm.

“Thankfully, writing has been my forte. So, I landed this job of a content writer. Otherwise I would have been in a soup. Since I cannot afford to stay in Bangalore without a job, I compromised and settled for a new one with a much lower pay package,” said Dutta.

Scores of IT and ITES professionals in Bangalore have lost their jobs in recent times, an effect of the global economic meltdown. But there is no precise count of the numbers.

Highest attrition rate

According to the latest employment and business outlook report by Bangalore-based staffing firm Teamlease, at 23 per cent, the attrition rate in the City is higher than that of any other city in India.

The report was based on interviews with HR heads, CEOs and senior executives of 495 companies in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune.

“The city accounted for the highest attrition rate. IT accounts for over 80 per cent of the city’s total labour pool. The attrition rate was 23 per cent in the last quarter, against the previous quarter’s 16 per cent. Much of the attrition could be involuntary attrition (or layoffs),” Teamlease general manager Surabhi Mathur-Gandhi said.

India’s Silicon Valley has seen thousands of people getting pink slips in recent months. And many more are under the threat of losing their jobs. “It’s painful to lose your job, in today’s expensive world. Those who have lost their jobs are desperate now, thus, they are settling for low paying jobs,” said Karthik Shekhar, general secretary of UNITES-Professionals, an unrecognised union of IT/Call Centre/BPO employees.

Moving on

“Every day we meet young men and women who have lost their IT jobs recently. All they want is a job. But getting a job in the IT sector is very difficult. So, they have no option but to settle for jobs outside their fields, and that too, with low paying packages,” Shekhar added.

“It is encouraging that today’s youth are ready to move ahead in their lives. Instead of waiting for the economy to revive, IT professionals have started exploring other fields, and this is a positive sign,” said B N Gangadhar, professor of Psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans), Bangalore.

Mohammed Khan, a trained software engineer, said, “Initially it was difficult, but I am happy with my choice. After losing my job with an IT firm, now I am working as a sales executive. I am hoping the economy will recover soon and all the techies who have lost their jobs will get new jobs in their field.”

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