[AI] IT sector employment - stark realities...

Hari Raghavan hari.raghavan at yahoo.co.in
Sat Jul 14 23:43:32 EDT 2007


Hi List,

Firstly folks I am sorry to reply on this topic so late but I am running a
couple of weeks late in checking my  personal mails.  I felt it imperative
to give a perspective on this discussion.

This concept of contract employees is fast gaining ground across corporate
India and has been pioneered by the American MNCs. I have worked in two such
large MNCs General Electric and now IBM. Contract employment is usually
given to non post graduates and for jobs where the skill requirement is
relatively low. As contract employees do not figure in the head count, this
is one way to keep the figures low and as they do not get some of the
benefits of regular employees, it aalso keeps employee costs down. The best
part for these corporations is that you do not have to devise a growth path
or worry about the employees career development if they are on contract.

Now to give you the other side of the story - I have had several contract
employees as well as regular staff report in to me and it is my experience
that contract employees usually work harder and are more dedicated than
regular staff who usually take their job for granted. As they do the real
"work", our department would come to  a complete standstill if they were
absent. I can't say the same about my regular employees / managerial staff.
And it used to hurt when these same hard working employees could not join us
for our office parties or offsites which were exclusively for regular
employees.

While I  do understand the agony of not being able to grow to one's
potential, I believe it is a product of the way the contract system works
more than a result of discrimination. I share my cubicle in IBM with a guy
from logistics who works extremely hard from 10 am to 9pm and works on
saturdays too. This guy was on contract from 2001 till last year when he got
regularised, i.e. 6 years to get on the company rolls despite sterling
efforts.

Finally, I believe that as more and more of us get employed in this country,
any discriminatory attitudes will change. Till such a time, let's keep OUR
attitude positive and keep at it.

Warm regards,
Hari


-----Original Message-----
From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
[mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in]On Behalf Of Harish
Kotian
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 8:38 PM
To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
Subject: Re: [AI] IT sector employment - stark realities...


Hi Folks

Employment opportunities for the PWD in the IT enabled services is a rescent
phenomena.

It takes some time for the industry to feel comfortable.  Those now in this
space are the ambassadors for future growth in this area. As it often
happens, the genie pigs have to take a larger share of traumma.

When we view in a larger canvass, every growth phase starts with expansion
and later it moves towards consolidation. Presently we are in the nascent
stage.

The consolidation stage will take place when we come to a critical mass.

I can surely empathise with those effected who would consider  this  all as
pep talk.

These words certainly leads to no solution but would be calling to seek more
patience which I can understand is fast running out.

Towards reaching some solution, I can suggest we have some dialogue like a
seminar on employment of the PWD, we call most of the employers who are
indulging in  some what discriminatory practices and confront them with a
cross section of our folks who would put the realities in the right
perspective.

I don't know how effective this would turn up, but a suggestion to consider.

Harish.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Subramani L" <lsubramani at deccanherald.co.in>
To: <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 12:11 PM
Subject: Re: [AI] IT sector employment - stark realities...


> Dear Sudhir:
>
> Your second suggestion (i.e.) the blog to counter politically correct
> reports, is a good one. However, to what extent the disabled can look up
> to government for employment is unknown.
>
> For a start, one account in Karnataka says around 380 jobs in Karnataka
> alone (reserved for the disabled) are not filled from 1971. I have also
> learnt recently that the disability welfare department in the state has
> no idea as to how many vacancies are there in all the state government
> department for persons with disability. Above all, the special
> employment agencies are simply sleeping over the registrations and don't
> inform the PWD's registered with them about the vacancies. So, how do
> you think we can move these immovable and even dead elephants?
>
> Subramani
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
> [mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in] On Behalf Of Sudhir R
> (NeSTIT)
> Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 11:49 AM
> To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
> Subject: Re: [AI] IT sector employment - stark realities...
>
> ***********************
> No virus was detected in the attachment no filename
>
> Your mail has been scanned by InterScan.
> ***********-***********
>
>
> Dear Subramony,
>
> Yes, the attempt should be to find a solution and methinks highlighting
> this invisible problem is itself part of the solution.  The youngsters
> who have read these exchanges are at least now aware that the corporate
> sector adopts two employment models, contractual and regular and often
> discriminates against the disabled, even while proclaiming from
> roof-tops about their noble missions.  This awareness itself should
> equip them to scrutinise the job offers that are handed to them, read
> between the lines and possibly not to close their minds against the
> government sector jobs altogether.
>
> Legally, there may be little that we can do, without jeopardising the
> future of our own folks.  May be, we can do more discreet investigations
> to determine the extent of rot and perhaps start a blog to counter the
> politically correct reports coming forth in the mainstream media.
>
> More suggestions are welcome from  the mature and experienced members.
> Remember, this is a classic case of discrimination as was the raw
> treatment meted out to some of our members by certain private airlines,
> banking institutions etc, but, the sound and fury of the debates at such
> instances seem to be missing this time because the sufferers are silent
> about it.
>
> Rgds
>
> RS
> M: 98 472 76 126
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
> [mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in]On Behalf Of Subramani L
> Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 11:24 AM
> To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
> Subject: Re: [AI] IT sector employment - stark realities...
>
>
> In effect, what you are trying to say is while we can say ok to
> contracts, we can't say yes to deferred promotions and lack of
> recognition of performance and so on. But how do we confront this? As
> Rajesh had said we can't legally prove discrimination of this sort, as
> we have sighned up to the contract (which means we are agreeing to the
> terms). Also, how do we distinguish those employers who are creating the
> impression that they have an inclusive policy, while actually
> discriminating in rewarding performances, from those who are genuinely
> inclusive? The purpose of this should be tyo find solutions, rather than
> just exchanging ideas.
>
> Subramani
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
> [mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in] On Behalf Of Sudhir R
> (NeSTIT)
> Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2007 9:23 AM
> To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
> Subject: Re: [AI] IT sector employment - stark realities...
>
> ***********************
> No virus was detected in the attachment no filename
>
> Your mail has been scanned by InterScan.
> ***********-***********
>
>
> Dear Harish,
>
> I am not disputing the contract employment system, the retrenchment
> possibility even while in regular employment, the attraction of the IT
> sector or the hard bargain a good professional can drive with a
> prospective employer.
>
> I am merely bothered by the singular way IT majors seem to apply this
> practice to their disabled employees.  Parimala's is not an isolated
> case, believe me.  Other sufferers are also there on our group and I  am
> sure, lots of persons with other disabilities are also discriminated
> against similarly.
>
> In fact, I know of one instance where a high profile CEO of a IT company
> waxed eloquent about opening the doors of his company to the visually
> challenged a few years back, hired a few trainees while he was holding
> an important position in Nasscom and quietly packed them off after he
> faded from the limelight.  I have no complaints against him if the
> contract termination was due to the non-performance of the resources.
> But, knowing the corporate penchant for hogging media, it is very
> possible that the entire episode was an orchestrated one, the poor
> visually challenged resources being the sacrificial goats in the
> process.
>
> What amazes me is how the very companies that practise this
> discrimination towards the disabled, still hog the limelight in the
> media as equal opportunity employers of PWDs.  Their advertising budget
> ensures that the mainstream media toes their line without any trace of
> the investigative journalism or sting operations that seem to be
> reserved only for politicians and bureaucrats.  Wish I had got this
> information on the day rediff.com carried the article on IT companies
> opening their doors to the visually challenged which I had naively and
> enthusiastically posted in AI a few weeks back.  I could have at least
> written a few nasty comments on the  true state of affairs and the
> readers might have got a more balanced view of the issue. (smile)
>
> Rgds
>
> RS
> M: 98 472 76 126
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
> [mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in]On Behalf Of Harish
> Kotian
> Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 9:48 PM
> To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
> Subject: Re: [AI] IT sector employment - stark realities...
>
>
> Hi Sudhir
>
> Even in public sectors, they are going for contract jobs. Even if one
> gets a
> regular employent, anyone can  be easily retrenched.
>
> All said and done, for a fresher private sector is a great learning
> place.
>
> Good hands are in much demand in the IT space and one can leveridge it
> in a
> period of time to ones advantage.
>
> Harish.
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Sudhir R (NeSTIT)" <sudhir.r at nestgroup.net>
> To: <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
> Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 9:10 AM
> Subject: Re: [AI] IT sector employment - stark realities...
>
>
>> Dear Harish bhai,
>>
>> I fully agree with you that contract employment could act as the thin
> edge
>> of the wedge to induce companies to consider employing the differently
>
>> abled employees.  And, uncertainties do bring out the best from us
> too.
>>
>> But, the fact remains that the best trapeze artists and movie stuntmen
>
>> perform with a safety net to catch them should anything go wrong.
> (smile)
>> I am afraid I can't effectively articulate the gnawing fears and
>> trepidations of a disabled resource working in a IT company who gets
> his
>> contract renewed often only on the last day and perhaps only for a
> further
>> period of six months.  I was hoping some of these silent sufferers to
>> speak out, but, obviously they might be feeling embarrassed or
> insecure
>> and I fully empathise with their unenviable situation.
>>
>> Being a banking professional, you will agree with me that life
> requires
>> one to plan ahead for security of our own selves and that of our
> family,
>> like buying a home, making investments for retirement etc.  In the
> absence
>> of a working social security mechanism in India, the best bet for a
>> disabled person is still a steady job which guarantees a steady stream
> of
>> predictable revenues.  From this point of view, contract employment,
>> highly favoured by the hard core professionals who can dictate their
>> terms, is not the best of news for our young friends.
>>
>> This is what I wanted to highlight through my mail, since I know (and
> I
>> myself have been recommending) many bright youngsters have been
> looking
>> away from the staid government sector job markets to these glamourous
>> sunrise sectors.  All that glitters, as is often in real life, is not
>> obviously gold. (smile)
>>
>> Rgds
>>
>> RS
>> M: 098 472 76 126
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
>> [mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in]On Behalf Of Harish
>> Kotian
>> Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 7:02 AM
>> To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
>> Subject: Re: [AI] IT sector employment - stark realities...
>>
>>
>> Hi Sudhir
>>
>> You have raised a very interesting topic for introspection.
>>
>> In my personal view, contract work is a sort of blessing in disguise.
>>
>> 1 The employers are apprehensive about the capabilities of the blind.
> This
>> gives us a window to make an entry and gives us an opportunity to
> prove
>> ourselves.
>>
>> 2 Due to the uncertainties involved it forces one to get the best out
> of
>> us.
>>
>> However, uncertainty is not desirable in a long run to maintain
> healthy
>> relationship.
>>
>> This can be nicely put to the folks in the HR dept who have
> specialists
>> out
>> there to understand it better.
>>
>> Intervention of NGO's or help from HR consultuncy firms can also help
> in
>> getting the message across.
>>
>> Once having gained experience and having sharpened skill sets one is
> in a
>> better position to find jobs elsewhere. Now, one is in a better
> position
>> to
>> clinch a deal to ones terms.
>>
>> I personally feel it is better to grow in an organisation than keep
>> changing
>> jobs frequently.
>>
>> It helps mutually.
>> Harish.
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Sudhir R (NeSTIT)" <sudhir.r at nestgroup.net>
>> To: <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
>> Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 9:40 AM
>> Subject: Re: [AI] IT sector employment - stark realities...
>>
>>
>>> Dear Subramony,
>>>
>>> I can understand hard core professionals opting for contract-based
>>> employment that allows them to be loose-coupled to the employer.
> But,
>>> this  is a voluntary decision and most often than not, the terms of
> the
>>> contract are thrashed out after mutual discussions.
>>>
>>> The cases I referred to in my original mail pertains to trainees, not
>>> professionals.  I am quite sure they would prefer regular jobs, if
> given
>>> a
>>> choice, since their professional skill-sets are not well-developed.
> And,
>>> what are thrust upon these hapless youngsters are unilateral
> contracts,
>>> not ones discussed thread-bare.
>>>
>>> And, of course, the matter of discrimination comes up when just the
>>> disabled candidates have to put up with such 'modern' practices.
> Those
>>> able-bodied who join along with them or after them are taken on
> rolls.
>>> Now, do you smell something fishy ?
>>>
>>> Rgds
>>>
>>> RS
>>> M: 98 472 76 126
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
>>> [mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in]On Behalf Of Subramani
> L
>>> Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 9:36 AM
>>> To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
>>> Subject: Re: [AI] IT sector employment - stark realities...
>>>
>>>
>>> Dear Sudhir:
>>>
>>> I am not too conversant with the legalese of contract employment, but
> it
>>> is certainly becoming the trend. Why IT, even the media industry is
> fast
>>> adapting these practices. And, several journalists (both in print and
>>> broadcast), who are able bodied, prefer contract not only because
> they
>>> are paid higher, but also because it is much easier to leave when
> they
>>> no longer inclined to work.
>>>
>>> As far as my knowledge goes, contract employment isn't exclusively
>>> offered to the blind or disabled. On the contrary, even the so-called
>>> able-bodied persons have to accede to demands of employers that they
>>> will be taken as contract employees. Also, contracts in the
> traditional
>>> sense is different from what we are referring here as contracts. Why
>>> contracts, I know IT employees (who are able-bodied) who are asked to
>>> sign a bond that stops them from leaving the company for two or three
>>> years. In my opinion, that is more discriminatory than contracts.
>>>
>>> Let's not forget that we live in a knowledge economy, where
>>> opportunities are increasing with corresponding risks. So, in this
>>> environment, how far we can expect traditional employment terms to be
>>> applied remains a doubt. Perhaps, Rajesh or Kanchan can answer this
> from
>>> a legal perspective.
>>>
>>> Subramani
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
>>> [mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in] On Behalf Of Sudhir R
>>> (NeSTIT)
>>> Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 9:13 AM
>>> To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
>>> Subject: [AI] IT sector employment - stark realities...
>>>
>>> ***********************
>>> No virus was detected in the attachment no filename
>>>
>>> Your mail has been scanned by InterScan.
>>> ***********-***********
>>>
>>>
>>> Dear friends,
>>>
>>> We have all been enthused in recent months by the continuous stream
> of
>>> 'heart-warming' news reports from the booming IT and ITES sectors of
>>> India opening their doors to the visually challenged.  But, closer
>>> observation of the facts on the ground reveal certain trends that are
>>> disquieting and disillusioning and though not politically correct, I
>>> thought I must bring these to the kind attention of Access Indians.
>>>
>>> a) It seems many of those who have been recruited have been taken in
> as
>>> contract employees and remain so for years together.  The professed
>>> excuse bandied by the companies is that they want to keep the actual
>>> employee count low.  This excuse would have held water had not the
>>> companies gladly confirmed the non-disabled staff members who were
>>> recruited along with or much later than their disabled counterparts.
> I
>>> can understand a company extending an employee's probation if he does
>>> not measure up, but, extending contracts umpteen number of times seem
> to
>>> take on sinister tones.
>>>
>>> b) Simultaneously, I think these unfortunate disabled candidates also
>>> suffer  discriminatory treatment vis-a-vis their non-disabled peers
> in
>>> terms of compensation and benefit, seniority etc due to the long
> years
>>> they spend as contract employees.
>>>
>>> c)  It may be fashionable to  explain this phenomenon as a modern
> trend
>>> in employment thanks to globalisation, but, when it applies only to
> one
>>> segment of (disadvantaged) employees, I prefer to call it high-handed
>>> discrimination.  India does not have a social security mechanism in
>>> place and the best bet for any disabled resource is still the
> security
>>> of a regular job.  Unfortunately, the current practice seems to be
>>> denying this precise safety net to the disabled.
>>>
>>> I am not sure how many of Access Indians working in the IT / ITES
> sector
>>> are currently suffering this discrimination silently, hoping to be
>>> confirmed in the years to come.  But, anecdotal evidence has shown me
>>> that many of the so-called 'equal opportunity employers' who hog
> media
>>> limelight with their 'diversity enrichment' programmes are major
>>> culprits of this shameful practice.  May be, a few of the silent
>>> sufferers should speak out for the sake of other starry-eyed
> youngsters
>>> who have been building castles in thin air after reading all these
> media
>>> reports.
>>>
>>> Simultaneously, can legal eagles like Kanchan and Rajesh educate us
>>> about the current Indian laws applicable to the rights of contract
>>> employees ?  I am sure it is mandatory for a company to confirm an
>>> employee after a particular period of being a contract employee.  How
>>> does one go about enforcing such laws and how risky would such a
>>> procedure be ?
>>>
>>> And, Subramony, can you smell a journalistic scoop in this issue ?
>>>
>>>
>>> I have been an avid votary of the IT and ITES sector as  possible
>>> sources of fullfilling and well-paying careers for the visually
>>> challenged and have even been discouraging the local youngsters from
>>> looking at the unglamourous Government sector, but, I should admit
> this
>>> revelation has forced me to revise my recommendations.  In fact, I
> have
>>> started wondering whether this phenomenon is restricted merely to the
> IT
>>> / ITES sector or a characteristic of the entire private sector.  I
> know
>>> of at least one case in Kerala where a manufacturing company has been
>>> employing a visually challenged youngster for almost 9 years as a
>>> contract employee at half the salary he would have been entitled for
> in
>>> regular service.
>>>
>>> Please share your individual views, suggestions and experiences in
> this
>>> matter.  Skeletons have remained in the corporate cupboards for too
>>> long, methinks...
>>>
>>> Regards
>>>
>>> R Sudhir
>>> M: 098 472 76 126
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