Traditionally, about 30 percent of Indian IT services industry staff are on the bench at any given time, often in training, as they await deployment to client work.
In the December quarter, about 70 percent of Infosys staff and less than 65 percent at No 3 provider Wipro were deployed on billable projects.
At Tata Consultancy Services, the largest Indian IT services company, the figure was 72 percent, within what Ajoyendra Mukherjee, its human resources head, calls the comfort range of 70 to 74 percent utilisation.
"I think we can push it up to 75, 76," he said.
Another IT services company, iGate Corp, envisions a future where just 10 percent of staff sit on the bench, said Srinivas Kandula, its human resources head, who predicts that the size of its bench will shrink by 2 or 3 percentage points a year over the next five years.