The letter to employees came amid news of massive layoffs in the IT industry

Cognizant has not done any layoffs believes in meritocracy Companys President to employees
Atom Tech Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 18:03

As news of layoffs across IT companies continue to spook the software industry, Cognizant President Rajeev Mehta has written to its employees in an attempt to address their concerns.

In an email written to employees, Rajeev first spoke about the company’s quarterly performance and its ‘solid’ outlook.

“The IT industry is undergoing an unprecedented transformation towards digitization and automation. Along with our peers, we are making changes to ensure we have the right business model and talent to succeed in the new era. These changes are triggering headlines in the media and in some cases inaccurate reports, leading to concerns and questions.  I’d like to provide you with some clarity on these issues,” the email stated.

Cognizant has not done any layoffs, Rajeev said in his email. “Each year, in line with industry best practices, we conduct performance reviews to reflect on the work of last year and ensure goal for the subsequent year are clear. We are being committed to being a meritocracy. We believe that’s good for all associates around the world,” the email added.

There were several reports that Cognizant may lay off 6000 employees this year due to skill mismatch and for being underperformers. And not just Cognizant, Wipro and Infosys also are allegedly laying off hundreds of employees.

IT firms have been under fire from employee forums for these alleged forced terminations. In fact, a group representing workers in the IT sector had earlier submitted a petition to the Tamil Nadu government accusing Cognizant of illegal termination of employees.

Speculation is that these measures are being taken after H-1B Visa rules were being tightened in the US, due to which these IT firms are having to hire more locals in the US.

“You may also have also seen media reports that associates are being counseled out of Cognizant to allow us to hire more US.-based associates in line with US government sentiment. This is not true. We have been ramping up our recruiting efforts in the U.S. for a number of years. Likewise, we continue to hire in local markets around the world including in India,” the email stated.  

Also addressing the Voluntary Separation Program (VSP), Rajeev said that while many of its peers regularly offer separation packaged to its employees in exchange for their resignation, this is the first time Cognizant has done it. But he emphasized on the fact that the program is voluntary and that no one is required or even asked to participate.

“As we pivot to digital, the VSP allows us to optimize our structure and skills mix; participants have the opportunity to explore other opportunities; and the VSP makes way for the next generation of leaders to step up,” Rajeev said.

Automation in the IT industry is being seen as another major reason because of which lower-end jobs have been becoming redundant. In this regard, Rajeev also told employees to make the most of the re-skilling programs that the company is organizing in the areas of big data, machine learning, Adobe stack and data science.

“We retrained and reskilled tens of thousands of employees in 2016, and expect to have about 100,000 employees retrained by the end of this year in specialized digital competencies including Data Science, Big Data, Pivotal Cloud Foundry, Machine Learning Adobe stack and Advanced Web Frameworks, as well as in niche skills across IOT, AI and cognitive computing,” he said in the email. 

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