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Wipro tells freshers a job awaits - if they accept a lower salary than first offered

Entry-level hires were IT services giants' answer to enormous staff attrition rates. Now they're being squeezed

Last week, top performing entry-level hires waiting to onboard at IT services giant Wipro were given four days to decide if they wanted to take a 46 percent salary cut in exchange for immediate work placement.

Wipro requires new hires to undertake a four-to-six-month training program called "Velocity". Top-ranked graduates of Velocity earn "Turbo" status, which makes them eligible for a 6.5 lakh (US$7,800) annual salary instead of the 3.5 lakh (US$4,200) offered to those whose marks are ranked as "Elite" - a rung down the ladder.

But last Thursday, Turbo candidates received an email that included an option to take a project engineer role at the Elite wage rate beginning from March 2023 - and given just the weekend to think it over. Those who opted for immediate employment would have all previous offers voided.

“Like others in our industry, we continue to assess global economies and customer needs, which factor into our hiring plans,” said the email seen by The Register.

“We encourage you to grab the opportunity as it is time bound,” added Wipro. According to Indian IT industry job tutorial YouTube channel,Algo Authority [VIDEO], declining the opportunity could result in a delay of employment for anywhere between five months to years.

The reduced offer went out to more than 4,000 freshers and new hires that went through the assessment and interviews between September and October of 2021, according to IT labor rights org Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES).

According to a letter NITES sent to India’s labor ministry on Wednesday, Wipro has changed requirements and timeline for onboarding since February 2022.

“The joining of these employees was supposed to be completed in August 2022 but the company kept on postponing the joining or onboarding date,” states the letter seen by The Reg. NITES claimed many of the employments have rejected offers from other places waiting for Wipro to make good on its offer.

“The decision to cut the salaries of the employees without prior consultation and negotiation is not only unjust but also goes against the principles of fairness and transparency,” NITES told The Register. NITES called on Wipro to “engage in meaningful dialogue with the union to find a mutually beneficial solution.”

Around this time last year, the India’s IT outsourcers were scrambling for talent to hire. Attrition rates were high and business was booming. By May 2022, one in five employees at TCS, HCL, Infosys and Wipro had left in the prior twelve months.

But the outsourcers then turned the screws, clawing back bonuses and clamping down on staff who had side gigs. Some started to enforce non-compete clauses.

Hiring thousands of entry-level freshers was eventually advanced as the answer to the industry’s worker shortages.

“Volume has to be through freshers, there is no other source of volume,” said Infosys CFO Nilanjan Roy said last spring.

As the atmosphere has turned from favoring workers to swingeing layoffs, revenues and the pipeline for the Indian IT services biz has remained rosy. The attrition problems, however seem to have somewhat subsided.

HCL CFO Prateek said in the company’s latest earnings call that his company was reducing the size of its "bench" of under-utilized workers while Infosys CEO Salil Parekh said reduced hiring to replace departed staff would have a positive impact on margins. ®

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