Wipro's corporate Vice- President (human resources) Pratik Kumar confirmed the move and said that the company did not disclose that number, but it was 'significantly lower than 2,000'.
“It's a regular annual exercise. As the appraisal cycle gets over, a multi-layer review happens. Following that, people who have fallen in the lower quadrants of performance are put on watch. Some are asked to pull up and others are asked to move on," he said.
In February, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the country's largest IT services firm, had given pink slips to 500 non-performers. IBM had also asked about 700 employees in India to leave, citing non-performance. In July, Patni Computer Systems had shown exit doors to 400 employees. While IT companies said the move was not linked to the slowdown in the US, a key market for IT services, there was a consensus that it was time for belt-tightening.
At the end of the quarter ended June 2008, Wipro's IT services employee base had fallen to 61,345 from 62,070 employees at the end of the previous quarter. “It"s not just our view, but the industry's view, that we have to be thoughtful of additions and drive productivity. We took a closer look at our hiring and realised that we did not need to hire more, since there were people on the bench," Kumar said.
Bench refers to the buffer of employees not assigned to a particular project. As the company works towards improving utilisation rates while keeping a tight rein on employee additions, its bench strength would come down. At the end of the quarter ended June 2008, Wipro's utilisation rate was 78 per cent (excluding trainees) and 74 per cent (including trainees).
“We want to raise utilisation by 1-2 per cent during the year and the bench strength would go down by a similar percentage," Kumar said.