To attract talent, L&T Tech hikes fresher salary 25% to about Rs 400,000

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L&T Technology Services has raised salaries of freshers by 25 per cent to about Rs 400,000 per annum in a bid to attract fresh talent, though entry-level compensation has remained at the same level for many years in the information technology (IT) services industry.


At other firms, such as Infosys, TCS and Wipro, starting salary has remained at Rs 300,000 to Rs 325,000 per annum for the last 10 years, with the supply of talent exceeding the demand and new-age technologies — robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence and machine learning — taking a toll.


L&T Technology Services is not a mass recruiter like TCS or Infosys. But, the higher salary it is offering is likely to set a trend in the industry.


For 2017-18, L&T Technology Services had announced it would hire 2,500 engineers including 750 freshers. The company is on track to meet its recruitment target.


It is yet to take stock on how many employees it would need in 2018-19. But, Paneesh Rao, chief human resources officer, L&T Technology Services, said, fresher hiring could easily exceed 1,000.


“The average salary to freshers is between Rs 300,000 and Rs 325,000. Last year (2016-17) itself, we were paying Rs 360,000. This year, we have increased it to Rs 400,000,” said Rao.


He added this was done as the company had decided to hire the best talent from the top 40 engineering colleges in the country. In this fiscal year (2017-18), the company had for the first time hired 15 graduates from IITs (Bombay and Kharagpur).


The purpose of this hiring was to strengthen the office of the chief technology officer (CTO), to commercialise about 20 platforms, including Internet of Things, energy audit and smart campus. L&T Technology Services gets revenue of $3 million through these.


“The IIT graduates will be part of the recently created CTO organisation. They will work towards laying a proper road map for the various versions of the platforms, adding newer functionalities and help in commercialising those in a larger scale,” said Keshab Panda, chief executive officer and managing director, L&T Technology Services.


He added, “We believe in a year, some of them can go to sales. So that’s an experiment we are doing and investing a lot of money.”


In November last year, L&T Technology Services had hired former Tata Elxsi vice-president and head of the automotive business unit, Ashish Khushu, as CTO. The CTO organisation has about 70 engineers. It will take end-to-end responsibility of the platform business, from development, enhancing to sales.


“The CTO is taking the responsibility of the platforms. He is going to add functionalities where we can take it faster to the market than now,” added Panda.


In the quarter ended December, 2017, L&T Technology Services reported $151 million (Rs 96.9 billion) — sequential growth of 8.3 per cent and year-on-year growth of 25.6 per cent. The company currently employs about 12,000 people across 15 global delivery centres.


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