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India’s HCL to hire 1,000 tech professionals in the UK

Indian IT suppliers set to create thousands of IT jobs in the UK, which supports their intention to have more staff based closer to customers

Indian IT services firm HCL has followed announcements by its fellow India-based IT giants and announced plans to recruit 1,000 tech professionals in the UK.

Between HCL, Tata Consultancy services (TCS) and Infosys, there are plans to recruit 3,500 UK IT staff overall.

HCL’s new UK recruits will be based in London and Manchester, will focus in digital transformation, cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and cyber security.

This announcement takes HCL’s total UK workforce to 4,500, and followed a virtual meeting between prime minister Boris Johnson and HCL senior executives, including CEO C Vijayakumar.

HCL has had a presence in the UK for almost 25 years. Vijayakumar said the UK has played a key role in HCL’s growth and success journey: “It is home to some of our most prestigious clients and is a hotbed of IT talent. By creating new local jobs in the region, we want to reaffirm our commitment to catalysing innovation and building competitive digital talent pools in the region.”

The announcement follows a similar commitment from TCS and Infosys, at a time when the UK is negotiating a new trading relationship with India.

In February, TCS said it would create well-paid jobs, including project delivery roles, and will be distributed across the UK. Earlier this month, Infosys said it will create 1,000 technology jobs in the UK over the next three years, with recent graduates and experienced professionals targeted to take roles across the country

Boris Johnson said India and the UK are two countries on the forefront of IT innovation. “Thanks to companies like HCL Technologies, we can continue to lead the way together – creating good, skilled jobs and helping both countries to build back better,” he said.

Peter Schumacher, CEO of management consultancy The Value Leadership Group, said that while trade deals may have a part to play, the announcements are more a reflection of the success of the Indian companies and “their aggressive business agenda”.

He said Indian suppliers want to increase the number of staff that are in close proximity to customers. “They want to embed themselves deeper to take advantage of opportunities at customers digitally transforming. It is no longer ‘lift and shift’, but about helping customers with their transformation agendas. They are no longer big machines in India carrying out predetermined work,” he added.

Schumacher said subcontractors are often contracted to be close to customers in countries such as the UK, and the Indian suppliers want to reduce their reliance on them. “Subcontractors and freelancers are expensive and can often work for different suppliers,” he said.

The creation of thousands of new jobs by Indian IT services firms is a positive sign for tech professionals, who have faced great uncertainty during the pandemic. Almost one-third of companies in the UK and Ireland furloughed IT staff in 2020 during the coronavirus outbreak, according to research by Computer Weekly.

The latest annual Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT salary survey asked IT workers about their salaries and employers over the past year. It found that 32% of IT workers said that their firms had furloughed IT staff because of the pandemic.

Almost 30% of IT workers said their companies had implemented a pay freeze in 2020, and 19% said their firms were making IT staff redundant.

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