Mid level hiring challenges

IT services companies with core functional focus are increasing mid-level hiring. End-to-end communication solutions provider, Flextronics Software system (FSS) plans to hire 3,000 people this year, out which 10-12 percent will be hired at the middle level (up from last year’s 8 percent). Similarly, Hexaware Technologies, too, has upped its middle level hiring.

The projects require specialized professionals. Currently mid-level employee recruitment number is in line with the company’s entry level hiring. Mid-level hiring has also seen a hike among IT consulting players. Tech consulting services provider GCI Solutions plans to increase its headcount from 600 to 1,500 by the middle of next year in order to strengthen its middle level team. Similarly, Techspan India has increased its middle-level employee count as part of its integrated hiring focus to have an adequate mix of experienced people, those having 2-3 years of work behind them and fresh qualified people from campus.

At product development setups too, the bulk of employment happens at the middle level. At Xerox India, mid-level hiring shot up by 35% last year.

Middle-level employees man roles like team leaders, managers and senior managers. At FSS, 85% of the total middle-level hiring is done in the software development area and remaining 15% in business development and other functional areas such as HR, Administration, and Program Management.

The same applies to iflex, GCI, Hexaware and Mastek, where mid-levelers man positions like senior programs, analysts, leaders of small team, testers etc. Employees at the middle level would play a variety of roles, from that of lead developers and team leads, to those who would manage small projects. At Tech Span, middle level employees work at the consultant and senior consultant levels, which require 3 to 8 years of work experience.

Xerox India deploys this segment mostly in sales, as business development managers, product sales managers, product sales managers, channel sales executives, etc. In customer service, the positions hired are typically those of location service managers, manager (indirect services) and technical specialists and for other managerial positions.

Since most companies are aggressively expanding in critical functionalities, skills and deploy ability of this segment of the workforce are becoming a major attraction.

Compass Connection, a financial KPO that initially took in more entry-level hires and provided them with career growth opportunities to graduate them to mid-level functions, realized that it required a set of competent people who could take up the ‘next level’ responsibilities. Compass Connections started hiring more employees at the middle level and have a mix of (70:30) of internal and external new hires.

For global product development companies requiring employees to go onsite, midlevel hires are more in vogue because mobility amongst fresh candidates is low since they are not eligible for the H1 Visa.

The challenges are, quality of people available at the entry level is gradually getting ‘poorer’ or alternately very uneconomical. Recruitment at slightly more senior levels is getting unrealistically expensive. High attrition levels and lower organization loyalty are making it ineffective to invest in entry-level employees.

Mid-level employee hiring is marked by challenges like paucity of talent, unreasonably high salary expectations, low offer acceptance, etc. Middle level employees usually have specific demands and needs for the type of work they want to do. So there is a challenge in managing those expectations.

For communications specialists like FSS, since the segment is not very big in terms of the market size, getting people with deep domain expertise is a challenge.

More than anything else, the shortage seems to be more in terms of the ‘global’ requirements of mid-level talent pool and less in terms of numbers. Globalization has brought new challenges to India; particularly communication and presentation skills. So through there are plenty of skilled professionals, many need to be molded to match global demands.