Jun 02, 2017

Murthy tells IT honchos to take less salary and avoid layoffs

BYPankaj Mishra

Seeking to allay fears of a slowdown in the Indian IT industry affecting jobs of techies, software major Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy on Thursday advised executives to take home less pay and avoid layoffs in the middle and lower rungs.
“IT firms can protect jobs of their middle rung and junior level employees if their executives take a salary cut and pass it on to them to protect their jobs,” said Murthy in an interview to business news channel ET Now here.
Noting that slowdowns and layoffs were not new to the industry, he said many IT firms went through such ups and downs in the past, especially in the post-2008 global financial crisis and technology meltdown in 2011.
“There is no cause for anxiety as our industry had gone through similar crisis in the past only to bounce back and grow. As we have lot of smart and experienced leaders at the helm of the companies, I am sure they will find solutions to the problems the industry is facing,” he said.
Murthy’s observations came in light of software majors like TCS, Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro, Tech Mahindra and HCL mulling layoffs in thousands on the basis of “non-performance” and disruptive technologies like automation, artificial intelligence and cloud computing making many of the processes redundant.
Citing his experience as chairman and chief executive of Infosys in dealing with the issue of layoffs, Murthy told the news channel that his company protected jobs of its employees in hundreds by making its executives take salary cuts.
“It is possible for us to protect the jobs of youngsters if the senior executives make adjustments by taking salary cuts,” he reiterated.
He recalled how his company’s senior management decided to make some sacrifice to protect the jobs of its youngsters when the tech market shrunk in 2001.
“We had offered jobs to 1,500 engineers at a time (2001) when other IT firms were postponing the joining day of their new employees. We said let us not do that, let us demonstrate the commitment to youngsters by senior people taking salary cuts based on the disposable income as we go down the hierarchy and welcome those 1,500 engineers,” he said.
He also hoped that the $150 billion Indian software industry would identify new areas of business and train their employees to adopt emerging technologies for adding value to their company and look out for another job if they fail to deliver.
“It is not fair to send somebody home and then let them become anxious, because they may have families depending on them. They may have children, parents and spouses. So it is incumbent on the industry leaders to find reasonable solutions to the layoff issue,” added Murthy.

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Pankaj Mishra is a writer of FactorDaily.