In the midst of massive lay-offs and hiring freeze in the global tech sector, Indian tech companies are increasingly relying on upskilling existing employees to bridge their talent gaps, finds the 2023 Hiring Survey conducted by Scaler (by InterviewBit), one of India’s fastest-growing edtech start-ups. The survey reached out to over 100 start-ups, product multinationals, IT services and Global Capability Centers (GCC) in the country, revealing that nearly two-thirds of the respondents were paying for their employees’ upskilling programs to overcome their skill gap challenge.
In what could be described as a tell-tale sign of latent demand (and skill gap) for higher-end skills in the Indian tech sector, more than 7 out of 10 survey respondents believe employee referrals to be the most reliable source for fresh hires. Further, recruiters across the board (39.3%) said finding the right talent for the right job continues to be their biggest challenge, a trend that needs to be fixed to ensure the continued growth of the $245 billion Indian tech sector.
Key Findings of Scaler’s Hiring Survey 2023
- 61.6% are paying for their employee upskilling programs with product MNC, IT Services and Start-ups displaying greater inclination to invest in their talent;
- 72.02% said Data Science/Algorithm is the skill they are looking for the most;
- 91.02% are looking for candidates with a problem-solving mindset;
- 38.3% believe the shortage of skills to be the most formidable challenge in the tech sector;
- 31.06% feel the role of back-end engineers is getting challenging to fill;
- The average hike % most (60.5%) respondents are willing to give is between 20-40% depending on role and previous experience;
- 76.02% of respondents said they are encouraging a hybrid work model in their respective organisations.
- 71.9% said employee referrals are the best source of new hires.
- Nearly 62% of the respondents are bridging the skill gap through ‘quiet hiring’ instead of fresh hires by paying for employees’ upskilling programs.
- Right hiring continues to be the biggest challenge in India’s tech sector.
- Employee referrals reigned as the number one source of fresh hiring.
- A problem-solving mindset trumps a degree in the new order of qualifications employers seek in recruits.
While primary job qualification (e.g., coding skills) and a college degree are given their due weightage, employers are particularly keen on hiring people with a problem-solving mindset. An overwhelming 9 out of 10 respondents believe that in the larger scheme of things, employees’ ability to solve problems trumps education, though the latter seems to be used as a basic filter to shortlist candidates when hiring.
Abhimanyu Saxena, Co-Founder of Scaler & InterviewBit, said, “Shortage of the right skills for the right job is definitely a growing concern for our tech sector. This has been a challenge for a long while now. But we have every reason to be optimistic about the future, given that employers are looking at upskilling or quiet hiring as the primary means to bridge their internal skills gaps, and a majority of them are willing to pick the tab for the same. Further, given the ever-changing demand for the type of skills in the sector, building an edtech sector beyond traditional institutions like engineering colleges is imperative because the upskilling needs can be largely met only by the former. Another positive outcome we see from trends picked up by Scaler’s Hiring Survey 2023 is that this is perhaps the best time to upskill and build the foundation of a promising career in the Indian tech sector. With a vast majority of traditional companies looking for tech talent to help them transition and grow in this increasingly digital age, the next few years are critical and ripe for opportunity.”
He further said that the prospects for building an industry community look promising and bright with employee referrals reigning as the most preferred source for new talents. “From our own experience, I can say with confidence that Scaler alumni in the tech sector display a strong proclivity to reach out to fresh Scaler pass-outs to fill roles in their respective organisations. Close to ⅓ of job offers and referrals are currently coming from our alumni pool,” he added. Today, more than 5,000 Scaler-trained professionals in the tech sector work across diverse organisations, including employers like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Meta, Uber, Ola, Swiggy, Zomato, Paypal and others.
Scaler’s 2023 Hiring Survey approached a vast spectrum of respondents with eight big questions to capture the emerging big picture of how tech companies are dealing with skill gap challenges. It also captured other significant trends like expected average salary hikes, working model (work from home, hybrid, etc.) in the post-pandemic world, skills in demand and general hiring outlook. Interestingly, less than 16% of the respondents said there is a complete freeze on hiring, while 38% said only replacement hiring is on, especially in start-ups followed by product multinationals. While MAANG companies continue to be incredibly prudent and conservative in their tech recruitment, young and early-stage start-ups are hiring aggressively and are offering competitive salaries.
Earlier in the year, Scaler launched Scaler School of Technology, a 4-year residential UG program in Computer Science with its first campus to be in Bengaluru that will offer high-quality computer science UG programs capable of delivering world-class career prospects to millions of young and ambitious software engineers and to create a perennial pipeline of highly qualified skilled workforce for the global technology sector.
The in-house survey was conducted among 100+ partner companies across sizes and sectors, including IT Services and Staffing, Product companies, Startups and MNCs, to gain insights into the current hiring trends across the tech landscape. The findings are based on the interactions with CHROs, Talent Acquisition Heads and CXOs from organisations like Walmart, Adobe, Zomato, Infosys, InMobi, Samsung, Razorpay, Xpressbees and others.
Launched in 2019, Scaler is India’s leading edtech startup that upskills tech professionals. Scaler’s industry-vetted curriculum provides solutions to real-world challenges addressing the changing dynamics of the technology industry through two flagship programmes: Scaler Academy and Scaler DSML. Scaler believes in creating real-life impact by focusing on ‘impact-driven’ tech talent. Enrolled learners are mentored and taught by leaders and subject-matter experts working with leading organisations, including MAANG companies. Scaler has generated enviable career outcomes in a short period, and on average, its learners see a 4.5x RoI (return on investment) and salary hike of approximately 126%. To further redefine tech education, Scaler has launched Scaler Neovarsity, an online university that offers an outcome-focused Master’s Programme accredited with ECTS and Scaler School of Technology, a 4-year residential UG program in Computer Science. Scaler is also the only edtech player in the country to establish ‘Scalerverse’, a distributed campus to add to its Neovarsity vision for learners, teachers, and mentors, encouraging holistic learning and development.