Impact of the Pandemic on Analytics Team Sizes

Following the outbreak of the pandemic and the lockdown that was declared in March 2020 in India, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) published a report in May that estimated job losses of around 122 million in the country. The growing IT sector in India, that includes data analytics teams, was no exception to this. In spite of IT professionals having the option to work from home, the drop in sales and revenues meant that the IT firms also had to lay down employees.

The Indian IT sector employs around 4.4 million people in IT, of which 2-3% get affected every year owing to performance-related issues. This year, experts predicted this range to be between 3-5% due to the pandemic. Between Ola, Uber, and Zomato as well, around 4,000 employees were laid off in India. This was followed by Cure. fit, BookMyShow, and PaisaBazaar. At the end of June quarter, the big four — TCS, Infosys, Wipro, and HCL Tech — saw their employee count decline by 9,144 compared to the June quarter.

Summary

  • Almost two in three companies in India with significant data teams were able to keep their analytics team sizes intact, as more than one in five were able to grow their analytics teams.
  • India’s firms lagged considerably behind in growing their analytics teams a compared to the world average but were more successful in keeping the team sizes intact.
  • Smaller teams found it difficult to maintain their analytics team sizes as the percentage of firms whose analytics teams shrunk grew as the company size reduced.
  • Firms in Mumbai and Delhi/NCR firms performed better than other cities in terms of the percentage of firms that grew their analytics firms, while Pune performed the worst with the highest percentage of firms shrinking their analytics teams as compared to these two cities and Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad

The layoffs by the IT firms also impacted data analysts and data science professionals, not just in India but across the world. In the early days of the lockdown, a survey was conducted by Burtch Works survey in partnership with the International Institute for Analytics. According to the survey, around 22% of the 300 respondents working data jobs said that their firms were hiring freezes or are preparing for layoffs, but have taken no actions. About 5% instituted “substantial” salary cuts, hiring freezes, or layoffs, while nearly 16% instituted “some” measures in response to COVID-19.

While layoffs were observed at the start, soon after the pandemic, as the lockdowns restrictions were lifted there was a surge in the number of data science jobs. An analysis by AIM Research showed an increase of 53% on major Indian jobs from June 8 to November 30.

As automation gains significance after the pandemic and more data is generated due to the digitisation companies again started to show an intent to invest more in data science teams. Several companies in India made major announcements of hiring data scientists in India again. This was reflected in a PwC report that was published at the end of last year, which showed that India became a leading adopter of AI among the major economies.

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