Layoff survival guide for mid-level IT managers
In Bengaluru, a project manager working with an IT services firm is in constant anxiety. His firm has laid off many employees and he is worried that his job will be axed as the company further cuts down on its expenditures.
"I'm at a relatively higher salary level but am probably perceived to be among the most dispensable. We are the ones who will be affected the most by automation," said the project manager on the condition of anonymity.
He has approached many seniors in the industry to seek advice on further enhancing his skills but is also worried that he is too settled in his life now and is cutting on family related expenses consciously.
This is the crisis being faced by numerous middle managers like him who have considerably invested time in their profession and are now realizing that their job roles will take the hardest toll as the industry switches to newer technologies like automation.
"There is a lot of pressure on middle managers, which they can deal with by upskilling themselves. Unfortunately, 40-50% of them don't want to change," says Manmeet Singh, president at Experis, ManpowerGroup India.
"They want to stay people managers because traditionally career progression has been measured by the number of people they managed. But times are changing, and without upskilling, many will end up losing their jobs,''adds Singh.
India comprises of about 1.4 million mid range employees in the IT industry with about eight to 12 years of experience and with a package of INR 12-18 lakhs per annum. The number of such professionals is expected to soar further.
IT firms in India hire thousands of engineering graduates from across the country every year and these young professionals subsequently become team managers and in this process many of them also lose core technical expertise. With the rapid changes in the technologies being adopted by the industry, keeping themselves consistently updated has come as a major need for managers.
"Due to the emergence of automation and artificial intelligence-based processes across industrial sectors, the need for managing people is expected to reduce dramatically," said Sanju Ballurkar, CEO of staffing company Magna Infotech, a division of Quess Corp.
"Mid-level managers are often in a confused state due to their inability to keep pace with the changing scope of their clients' needs, particularly in IT services, where technology or scope of work is constantly changing," said Arif Khan, chief HR officer at Sasken Technologies.
"Today, it is expected that mid-level managers should partner with the client and consult them in all aspects of the delivery process. They should also make suggestions for the future road map and always be equipped for change,'' he added.