Sep 25, 2023
To deal with the talent shortage, HCLTech is breaking the traditional path by adopting a long-term vision strategy focusing on the entry-level workforce. The TechBee initiative not only offers financial independence to students but also an opportunity to pursue higher education and an assured job after the completion of training.
If a professional degree cannot offer what the industry demands, there’s definitely a systemic issue with the present education modules. In a poll of global tech leaders conducted by MIT Technology Review Insights, 64 per cent of respondents say candidates for their IT and tech jobs lack the necessary skills or experience. Another 56 per cent cite an overall shortage of candidates as a concern.
Subbaraman Balasubramanyan, Senior Vice President, HCLTechIf a professional degree cannot offer what the industry demands, there’s definitely a systemic issue with the present education modules. In a poll of global tech leaders conducted by MIT Technology Review Insights, 64 per cent of respondents say candidates for their IT and tech jobs lack the necessary skills or experience. Another 56 per cent cite an overall shortage of candidates as a
According to Subbaraman Balasubramanyan, Senior Vice President, HCLTech, talent shortage comes primarily because skills keep changing and the talent that’s required to acquire new skills and deploy to a
productive workforce in the shortest possible time is not available in plenty.
“In the case of the IT industry, the new technology keeps coming every two to three years. Thus, what we need is the right kind of talent that has a natural flair and advantage to be a part of the technological change that happens in the shortest time and implement these in varied business situations,” Balasubramanyan says
To deal with the talent shortage, HCLTech is breaking the traditional path by adopting a long-term vision strategy focusing on the entry-level workforce. A statement from the company says, “By relying on the same talent pools the tech industry has always drawn from, organizations risk stagnating and missing out on unrecognized brainpower. This is where early-career programmes can make an impact.”
TechBee is an HCLTech’s early career programme that was conceptualised way back in 2017 to help students kickstart their careers early. The programme includes 12 months of classroom plus online training culminating in a paid internship at HCLTech. The programme participants, including those from non-traditional
backgrounds, can develop the exact skills in the tech industry, and get employment ahead of their college education. “This experiment has been giving us some success as an organisation and we are able to acquire skills that are new and upcoming. We select candidates right after their twelfth grade and we skill them to what we want for a year. Post the internship, they get converted into full-time employees and they are asked to join the universities partnered with us,” Balasubramanyan says.
The currently partnered universities with HCLTech are Sastra University, BITS Pilani, Amity University, IIM Nagpur, IIT Guwahati and Koneru Lakshmaiah University. The universities offer courses like BSc, BCA, BBA, integrated MBA, and so on. Most times, the candidates have the freedom to choose the course based on their academic interests. But in some cases, the universities have their own eligibility criteria which include the candidate’s performance.
Making a significant remark, Balasubramanyan says, “What’s being taught in engineering schools is sometimes 10 years behind the current tech landscape.” The point of building a workforce at the entry level is that the twelfth-pass students can be productively engaged in the business context. The students learn contemporary software development lifecycles, computer science, coding, security and compliance protocols, and other skills not typically taught in school. They also get ‘soft skills’ training to bolster their professionalism, communication and understanding of corporate structures.
Over the years, thousands of students have joined this programme. Balasubramanyan says, “It is a win-win situation for students with the entire package of early career, paid internship and higher education. Barring a few exceptions, where students are unable to clear our assessments or have to withdraw from the programme for health or personal reasons, we find a very high 98 per cent and above conversion rate.”
“We have been in the industry for more than 40 years now and whatever is required for that job alone is taught in this one-year programme. This is helping us bring a diverse workforce to the company. And, the ability to solve customer problems gets enhanced because of the strategy that we have. We believe we are more up-to-date and abreast with where we want to be on people function culturally within the organization,” he says.
HCLTech is also running similar programmes across countries like the US, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. These programmes are in different stages of evolution as each geography has its own requirements, and modifications are made in the programmes adhering to the law of the land, local business and skilling requirements.
“We invested in new talent at HCLTech, ramping up our entry-level hiring from 5,911 in FY19 to 22,859 in FY22. In FY23, HCLTech hired 26,734 freshers, with a good portion of people (over 18%) recruited through its unique TechBee programme. This initiative involves hiring the best high school graduates worldwide and providing them with relevant skills to perform assured entry-level IT jobs within HCLTech while enabling them to pursue university education through partner institutions,” concludes Balasubramanyan.