In an exclusive interview with All Things Talent, Srikanth Reddy, Manager, Talent Acquisition, Progress, talks about women empowerment initiatives at Progress, how remote hiring has opened up opportunities for both employees and employers, and the emergence of tier-2 and tier-3 cities as future tech talent hubs.
Q. Can you tell us how Progress is hiring Indian tech talent in the global DevOps and DevSecOps space? What role does Indian talent play for US companies compared to other countries?
A. India’s tech talent is spread across different sectors, including IT services and outsourcing, startups, and enterprise software companies (large, medium, and small). The demand for IT professionals has always been on the rise in India and in the past months it’s been skyrocketing. Over the past few years, we have observed a bunch of US-based companies who have planned to expand their existing development centers in India or have opened new ones, ramped up teams, etc.
Outside the US, India is home to the largest development centers of the top technology companies and talent works in collaboration with teams in the US to achieve the company’s mission and vision. In both locations, you’ll find teams like product development, product management, customer-facing teams, operations. With this expansion, tech hiring is booming in India. Also, demand for talent has gone up as most startups and enterprise software companies offer very competitive remuneration.
Q. Progress is encouraging more women in the technology space. How are you doing this? Can you explain the various initiatives on this? How does it positively impact the company’s gender ratio – before and after?
A. The Women in STEM scholarship series was launched in 2019 with the founding of the “Progress Mary Székely Scholarship for Women in STEM” in the US. The initiative has continued to expand and in 2021 we introduced the Akanksha Scholarship for Women in STEM in India. This is a $2,000 four‐year renewable scholarship to cover tuition, fees, and educational expenses for women pursuing an undergraduate degree in computer science, computer information systems, software engineering, and/or IT. We want to encourage women to choose the STEM field for their professional development and bring more diversity to the workplace.
In addition to that, we have a company-wide Employee Resource Group (ERG) – Progress for Her, created to empower women at Progress. It provides leadership and networking opportunities, as well as the tools needed to create substantial influence both in and out of our professional network. This year we announced International Women’s Day, March 8, a global holiday for Progress.
Q. How are IT companies managing virtual hiring at a large scale? Can you share the process followed for this? What is the major source of hiring? What are the top skills/experience required by the company?
A. Through remote hiring, recruiters gain access to a wider pool of candidates across India which means we are opening up another wider source/scope to bring the best talent aboard. The major challenge we used to have was to limit the search within the location or only access candidates who are willing to relocate. For some roles, talent is only available in a particular location.
Remote hiring has opened up a lot of opportunities for candidates to pick their best opportunity across India and for employers to pick their best talent. With remote hiring, there is a lot of cost-saving as in-person hiring events incur a lot of costs like travel, electricity, infrastructure cost, internet connection, and equipment. Most employers are scoping for candidates with mid-level experience (3-7 years), followed by entry-level to 3 years of experience. Enterprise software companies (large, medium, and small) and startups mostly hire in these areas and are high in demand – product engineering, product management, UX/ visual design, data science, analytics, cloud security and compliance, microservices, cloud-platform development, DevOps/Site Reliability, DevSecOps, SDET, system engineering, customer technical services, customer success, enterprise sales, IT systems, operations, and so on.
Niche and rare talent that companies are looking for include full-stack developers, polyglot developers, UX/visual designers, data scientists, Golang/Python/Rust/React/Node JS developers, experience in any of the cloud service providers (AWS/ GCP/Azure), system engineering developers.
Q. R&D centers focus on intrapreneurship and in-house innovation. When was this rolled out? What has been its success? What is the learning – both in India and the US context?
A. Progress’s R&D centers in Hyderabad and Bengaluru are strategic innovation hubs, playing a key role in the company’s global success. Progress has already established teams developing industry-leading technologies for application development, database management, and data connectivity, leveraged by thousands of enterprises worldwide. Progress is now looking for talent in the areas of product development, product management, customer-facing teams for its DevOps and DevSecOps product portfolio, app platform development, data connectivity, and database management product portfolio. Progress wants to provide more opportunities for the aspiring technology community in India to work with cutting-edge products and help the company’s customers and partners worldwide to be more successful. Innovation is part of our culture and the way we build and develop our products.“Progress wants to provide more opportunities for the aspiring technology community in India to work with cutting-edge products and help the company’s customers and partners worldwide to be more successful. Innovation is part of… Click To Tweet
Q. What is your view on the current market crunch in finding the tech talent? When do you expect things to get back to normal?
A. Most of the companies had paused their hiring plans in 2020 and most of the candidates were not looking to change their jobs because of the uncertainty in the market. 2021 has opened up a lot of opportunities as companies across industries started hiring aggressively. This resulted in the rise of demand for tech talent and candidates getting multiple offers. However, I believe that this is temporary and hiring will get back to normal by Q3 or Q4 2022.
Q. What are hiring pipelines across cities?
A. All top metro cities – Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune – have the largest IT talent pool.
Q. What is your view on the talent availability in tier-2 cities? How is the long-term trend developing?
A. This pandemic and remote working have opened up a lot of opportunities for tier-2 cities like Chandigarh, Indore, Vadodara, Kochi, Coimbatore, and Trivandrum. Before the pandemic, remote working options were rare and recruiters used to target the talent from tier-1 cities as very few were willing to relocate from tier-2 to tier-1 majorly because of the cost of living. Many were not comfortable leaving their families and hometown. However, work from home and hybrid work environments have increased productivity, supported work-life balance, and enabled opportunities to work from their own cities. I strongly believe that talent from tier-2 and tier-3 cities will be emerging as employers are shifting towards flexible and remote working options.
“This pandemic and remote working have opened up a lot of opportunities for tier-2 cities like Chandigarh, Indore, Vadodara, Kochi, Coimbatore, and Trivandrum. Before the pandemic, remote working options were rare and recruiters used to target the talent from tier-1 cities as very few were willing to relocate from tier-2 to tier-1 majorly because of cost of living.”
Q. What has been the impact of the ‘Great Resignation’ for the company?
A. Progress has been around for 40 years. The company is a preferred employer because of its positive work environment based on respect, trust, collaboration, and the professional opportunities it provides. From having multiple learning and development resources available and the peer-to-peer recognition platform to having 30-day paid leave per year, casual leave, sick leave, and life insurance coverage, the company aims to keep its employees safe and equip them with whatever they need to realise their full potential. We invest a lot in engaging and retaining our employees and making sure that they’ve explored all possible professional opportunities within Progress before moving to another company.
Q. As offices are slowly re-opening, what is the strategy that Progress is rolling out?
A. We conducted various internal surveys and let managers and their teams decide what would best work for their respective organisations, considering the nature of their work. Based on that, in the post-pandemic future, we are planning to introduce both a hybrid and a remote way of work. We are working on preparing our employees to handle the challenges and make the most of the opportunities in this new reality.