Shorter benches mean a smaller share of hiring is direct from campuses, as seasoned professionals moving from a competitor would be less willing to wait to be deployed and firms are reluctant to pay them to do so.
Companies are also binding hires, especially experienced ones, with three-month notice periods and no-buy-out clauses, compared with one-month notice periods previously.
Among top-tier companies that are most actively trying to push non-linear growth where revenues are not constrained by the size of the work force, about 70 percent of employees are experienced staff, up from 60 percent in 2008, said Rajiv Srinivas, an associate director at Tech Mahindra, who expects that to rise to about 90 percent in the next two or three years.
At Infosys, while the net quarterly addition of employees fell from 4906 people in the March quarter last year to 977 in the December quarter (excluding an acquisition), lateral recruitment held steady at an average of about 4300 staff per quarter through December, meaning the percentage of campus hires was much lower.
"Earlier, the focus was more on career ... You get into a job, you start learning, and slowly acquire knowledge over a period of time," said Sunil Gupta, who joined Infosys as vice president of quality about six months ago from the Indian unit of CGI Group's Logica Plc.
"Today the value of a professional is judged by how quickly you're learning, how quickly you're adapting yourself and changing along with the environment," he said.