Resurgence in Hiring Activities Among GCCs Expected if Inflation Mitigates: Sriram Gopalswamy, Sabre Bengaluru
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Resurgence in Hiring Activities Among GCCs Expected if Inflation Mitigates: Sriram Gopalswamy, Sabre Bengaluru

, Senior Content Manager, Naukri
Sriram Gopalswamy, VP -Site Reliability Engineering and MD, Sabre, Bengaluru

In this interview, Sriram Gopalswamy, VP-Site Reliability Engineering and MD, Sabre, Bengaluru, shines the spotlight on Sabre’s innovative blueprint, highlighting the organisation’s commitment to knowledge transfer and talent retention in the face of industry shifts. He also talks about the company’s proactive approach to adapting to the evolving nuances of GCCs in India.

The recent Nasscom-Zinnov report, which throws light on India’s transition into GCC 4.0, paints a picture of a nation harnessing its abundant engineering and digital prowess, pivoting from mere cost centres to beacons of transformative initiatives. In this context, Sabre, under the adept leadership of Sriram Gopalswamy, stands as a testament to strategic foresight and innovative talent management. As India stakes its claim on the global stage, Gopalswamy’s insights offer a comprehensive look into how Sabre capitalises on and contributes to the nation’s evolving GCC narrative.

Sabre signed a multi-year distribution service partnership deal with Air India recently. How does this influence your talent acquisition and retention strategies?

Our new alliance with Air India profoundly shapes our talent strategies. The partnership amplifies our reach across hotels, travel agencies, and partners, enhancing service accessibility. The collaboration achieves two main objectives. First, it fosters pride within our teams, underscoring our dedication to the Indian travel community, which bolsters employee morale and retention. Second, the increasing demand for our services signals team growth, especially in sectors catering to Air India, OTAs, and traditional agencies. This growth naturally propels targeted hiring, ensuring we meet partner and customer needs adeptly. Moreover, our union with Air India paves the way for technological integration, necessitating tech-savvy talent and solidifying our position as industry innovators. 

How will the impending global economic slowdown influence talent intake in GCCs?

The looming global economic slowdown is poised to recalibrate talent acquisition in GCCs. A significant contraction in hiring activities is observed across sectors, especially amongst prominent Indian I.T. entities, reflecting a hiring restraint. This restraint in GCCs arises from apprehensions of dwindling contracts and project loads. Jerome Powell, Federal Reserve Chairman, has flagged potential elevations in interest rates, resonating with data suggesting robust economic signals. Consequently, market pricing, per CME Group data, now leans towards a 5.5%–5.75% window. Influences include the Federal Reserve’s actions and global inflation dynamics. 

While economic recovery might exhibit a lagging pace, a forthcoming correction in interest rates remains on the horizon, potentially reinvigorating the hiring scenario. Currently, the fiscal scenario isn’t conducive to aggressive talent drives, affecting both industry stalwarts and fresh entrants. Leading academic institutions are witnessing a tapering of placements. 

Yet, at Sabre, our commitment remains unwavering, selectively hiring for essential skills despite the downturn. As the scenario evolves, a potential resurgence in hiring activities might surface if inflation mitigates and the economy rebounds.

Also read: Mashreq Head HR Jayanthi Gopal’s Guide on Adapting New-Age Recruitment for Banking GCCs

The pandemic severely impacted the travel sector, but recovery is underway. How does Sabre view future talent trends in this domain? 

Following the pandemic, Sabre anticipates a surge in talent growth within the travel sector. India’s GCCs have seen a vibrant shift in the travel landscape, marked by tech advancements and rising competition. The move from traditional protocols to the NDC framework has spurred tech innovations. As a result, new entrants are reshaping travel technology, promoting a competitive atmosphere beneficial for all stakeholders. With a focus on personalised experiences and AI integration, the next decade promises transformative changes in travel. Reflecting this, many Indian travel agencies and OTAs are evolving from mere booking platforms to tech-driven entities, underlining technology’s pivotal role in enhancing travel experiences.

How has the GCC landscape evolved in India over the years, and what factors have contributed to its growth? 

India’s GCCs have undergone a transformative shift over the years. A key driver behind this evolution is industry convergence: airlines and hotels are diversifying into ancillary services, such as insurance, propelled by substantial investments in groundbreaking technology.

Post-pandemic, domestic leisure travel in India has notably risen, even exceeding 2019 figures, bolstering the travel industry’s growth. While the corporate travel segment, especially events and expos, is treading cautiously due to prevailing uncertainties, leisure travel boasts an impressive 15-20% increase compared to pre-COVID times. This growth underlines the sector’s resilience and potential, even when some areas lag in recovery.

This dynamic shift in GCCs signifies the industry’s adaptability, technological progression, and a reinvigorated emphasis on enhancing customer experiences and pioneering services in the travel arena.

While other regions offer competitive salaries, India’s rigorous academic competition cultivates an adaptable, elite talent pool. This workforce, youthful and eager to embrace new technologies, combined with India’s strategic time zone, positions the country favourably for global collaboration. Government initiatives like Skill India boost talent and broaden opportunities beyond IT.

What specific skill sets, and expertise are in high demand within GCCs in India?

There’s a pronounced demand for specialised skills and expertise in India’s GCCs. At Sabre, our trajectory is delineated by growth and transformation. The growth dimension emphasises tech evolution, transitioning from traditional systems to contemporary microservices and cloud-native structures. This demands expertise in full-stack development, microservices, cloud platforms, CI/CD, and SRE practices.

Concurrently, transformation is steered by advancements in AI and ML. We’re actively seeking individuals adept in AI and data science, emphasising generative AI, conversational AI, and data-centric decision-making. The goal is to enhance traveller experiences with tailored choices, strategic bundling, and improved network planning to boost airline revenues.

The market’s momentum vividly highlights AI’s prominence. For instance, the US stock market’s vigour is attributed to AI-centric behemoths like Tesla, Meta, Apple, Microsoft, and Google, emphasising the intense competition and value tied to AI expertise. In sync with these dynamics, our recruitment strategy emphasises tech revitalisation and AI-centric innovations, steering through this transformative phase.

How have GCCs in India shaped the employment landscape and introduced new avenues for Indian professionals? 

The rise of GCCs in India has revolutionised employment, offering myriad opportunities, especially for post-2018 graduates. These professionals, adept in software services and AI, are not just leveraging existing tech but also pioneering new solutions. They’re navigating advanced algorithms, driving innovations, and shaping their career trajectories. In this dynamic tech landscape, adaptability is key. With their strong computer science background, they’re positioned to thrive, continually embracing and leading tech advancements.

What are the key advantages of setting up a GCC in India compared to other global locations?

Google India’s recent announcement highlights that India’s appeal as a GCC hub isn’t solely about cost. While other regions offer competitive salaries, India’s rigorous academic competition cultivates an adaptable, elite talent pool. This workforce, youthful and eager to embrace new technologies, combined with India’s strategic time zone, position the country favourably for global collaboration. Government initiatives like Skill India boost talent and broaden opportunities beyond IT. The collaboration between the government, educational institutions, and industry shapes a conducive environment for GCCs, ensuring talent development aligned with global market demands. 

Also read: Tesco’s Sanjay Dora on Why Tier 2 and Tier 3 Cities Have Emerged as Talent Magnets for GCCs in India

How does Sabre attract and retain top talent in a competitive market?

At Sabre, our retention strategy emphasizes internal growth opportunities. We champion internal mobility, letting employees diversify roles and enhance skills. This holistic approach to career advancement enhances our retention rate.

Throughout the year, we host diverse events, from social mixers to celebrating LGBTQ rights and women in tech, promoting an inclusive culture. With global hackathons and academic partnerships, we foster continuous learning and camaraderie.

In recruitment, we seek individuals aligned with our vision of transforming travel. This commitment not only attracts new talent but also strengthens ties with our current team, fueling our retention efforts.

What initiatives are taken to foster a collaborative and inclusive work culture within your GCC? 

At Sabre, our ethos is underpinned by a profound commitment to make a difference through our corporate social responsibility initiatives. Our collaboration with “Each One, Educate One” stands testament to this. Through this partnership, we ventured to equip women in technology by introducing them to Python programming, bridging the gender tech divide.

We allied with the United Way of Bengaluru to inaugurate STEM labs in six government schools situated in Chikkaballapura District, Karnataka. These labs, benefitting around 1,600 children annually, cater specifically to remote and marginalised areas. The primary vision behind this initiative is multifaceted: to elevate the standard of education, demystify STEM subjects, ignite a passion for Science and Technology, and counteract school dropouts prevalent in these underprivileged communities.

Our dedication to giving back is also reflected in our global CSR program, “Give Together.” Through this endeavour, Sabre has contributed over $20 million and dedicated more than 300,000 hours of volunteer service. This concerted effort showcases our unwavering commitment to social upliftment and bettering the world we inhabit.

Also read: At Sabre Corporation, Employee Engagement Activities Solve Critical Business Problems

What future trends do you anticipate for GCCs in India, and how is Sabre preparing to adapt to these? 

As previously mentioned, India’s GCCs are evolving to offer more than just conventional services. They are steadily transitioning towards research and development, highlighting a shift from solely service-based functions to more innovative roles. This trend is underscored by the increase in product-centric initiatives originating from these centres. Moreover, the breadth of roles within GCCs is expanding, covering not only technical aspects but also pivotal functions such as product management, client engagement, and crafting the product trajectory. The emerging narrative centres around full-fledged product ownership being vested in Indian GCCs. In alignment with these trends, Sabre’s strategy prioritises recruiting and nurturing talent equipped to navigate and thrive amidst these broader responsibilities, marking a transformative phase for the role of GCCs in India.

About the expert: With prior roles at Syniverse and Oracle, Sriram Gopalaswamy is adept in cloud migrations and innovative engineering. Additionally, he’s the author of a patented technique for automating data centre software maintenance.

Registered name of the company: Sabre Travel Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
Year of Incorporation: 2005
Number of employees:1200-1500
Business line: Travel Technology
Key differentiating factor: Our Collaboration with Google On Tech Transformation


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