Move is also aimed at increasing billing rate and margins.
Infosys, the country's second largest information technology services firm, is aggressively planning to increase the number of its business consultants by re-skilling many of its engineers.
According to sources in the company, Infosys has a plan and schedule to increase the proportion of its business consultants to software engineers from the present 80:20 to 60:40. This is expected to help the company in improving its falling margins, as consultants are billed higher by clients than software engineers.
T V Mohandas Pai, the company's head of human resources and board member, said the plan would depend on business growth. The plan is to begin a programme to enable software engineers within the company to get into consulting roles within the organisation. Pai said the move was also aimed at taming the attrition of employees who quit the company to pursue higher studies, with an aim of getting into consulting roles.
"Every quarter, a lot of people leave us for higher courses like MBA and MTech. We have seen a rise in the interest level of our employees for consulting work. To tame this and provide growth opportunity for engineers, we are planning to introduce a new initiative as part of our iRace (Infosys Role and Career Enhancement) programme," said Pai.
In-house engineers with over two years of experience can opt for this programme. The company is expected to do a pilot test soon and to implement the programme next year. "We will conduct a test for the employees and if they pass the test, they can join our consulting team," Pai added.
The in-house test would be similar, say sources, to the aptitude test (CAT) for entry to business schools.
Engineers who qualify will have to undergo a course of about four months. It will be conducted at their global education centre in Mysore, for which the company is understood be in the process of developing a curriculum.
Infosys today has over 20,000 consultants, which include domain experts. Consultants are the most sought professionals in the IT industry, instrumental in bringing business by interacting with the senior management of clients. Because of their domain knowledge, they are billed higher than engineers. While a typical consultant is billed at $150-200 per hour, the engineers (including software developers and programmers) are billed at $75-80 per hour onsite and $25 per hour in offshore locations in India.
Every quarter, Infosys witnesses 1,500 to 1,800 people leaving to pursue higher education. For the quarter ended December 31, as many as 5,756 people resigned, of which around 1,600 left for higher education. This took the attrition level to 17.5 per cent on an LTM (last twelve months) basis.
The company has planned to hire 40,000 people in the ongoing financial year, of whom 20,000 would be campus recruits. It has already given campus offers to 14,700 people. Pai said, of the total target, 34,000 have been selected and 6,000 more are to be recruited through lateral (hiring of experienced people) hiring.