Wipro chairman Rishad Premji
Rishad joined Wipro in 2007 and has held various positions before assuming the role of Executive Chairman in 2019 I File photo

Large companies can learn a lot from startups: Wipro’s Rishad Premji

With 30 to 40% of the employees in an organisation joining in the last two years, the Indian IT industry is facing a “perfect storm” in terms of talent issues, Wipro Ltd executive chairman Rishad Premji has said.

He also said large companies can learn a lot from startups.

Premji made these remarks at an event organised by the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC).

Also read: TCS attrition rate rises to 19.7%; headcount crosses 600,000

“People living in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune have gone back to their hometowns (tier II and III cities) with no active interest in necessarily coming back to big cities,” Premji said.

According to him, this is a big challenge for the IT sector.

In recent times, the IT industry has reported high levels of attrition rate. Tata Consultancy Services’ (TCS) attrition rate rose to 19.7% in Q1FY23 on a last 12-month basis, and it was the highest in the last six quarters. Wipro’s attrition, for the quarter ending June 30, was 23.3%.

Premji said Wipro is focused on driving connectedness and a sense of belonging in the organisation. He said people either leave jobs for a dramatically different compensation or a lack of connectedness.

Also read: Infy, TCS register record recruitment and attrition rates in FY 22

With regard to the technology services industry, Premji said, “People came to India essentially for cost, they stayed for quality and now we’ve become a true talent destination in the world. The technology industry in India was $1 billion in 1997. We’re $227 billion today as an industry.” While the industry is partly to blame for some of the chaos that exists in big cities, it has come a long way in the last 25 years, he added, according to a Money Control report on Wednesday (August 10).

On startups, he said, “I think the startup community will do for India — in terms of brand building, in terms of wealth creation, in terms of job creation — what the technology services industry was able to do over the last 20 years… I think large companies can learn a lot from startups, they can learn the ability to be decisive, to be bold, to be fast, to be agile.”

“People get a little bit too focused on valuations as opposed to building valuable businesses. We should focus much more on building valuable businesses and valuations will come. Focus on attracting the best teams, best people, people who are infinitely better than you and get them to work as a part of your organisation,” he added.

Also read: Infy, TCS register record recruitment and attrition rates in FY 22

For the tech services industry, Premji said India has the unique advantage of talent.

“There’s a disproportionate mismatch between the availability of people and the need for people. If 20 years ago, people were coming to India for cost, today they’re coming to India because talent exists and it’s a very profound but fundamental change. People are not coming to India anymore, because it is cheaper. People are coming to India because that’s where the talent is available. And so there’s a tremendous opportunity for us to capture,” he said, the report added.

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