India's three million-strong IT workforce, once known for its youthfulness, is getting older as the sector's growth slows down, according to a media report.
Reuters reported that the number of middle-aged staff in Indian IT companies is steadily increasing, and the companies are finding it difficult to "extract some of the cost advantages of the young, cheap labour", which fuelled the growth of the $108bn (£65bn, €79bn) industry.
The bright youngsters the companies recruited years earlier have become earnest family types, the news agency said.
Slower growth in the IT sector has forced the companies to reduce their recruiting of young college leavers. At the same time, they are keen to retain existing staff, on whom they have spent a lot on training and development.
At Infosys, the second largest IT company in India, more than a quarter of nearly 157,000 employees were older than 30 by 2013, compared with 15% of its 91,000 staff four years ago, Reuters said citing an analysis by Barclays.
At industry leader, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), employees with more than three years of experience grew to 61% by the end of last March, up from 50% five years ago, according to estimates.
At rival Wipro, 34.5% of the workforce were aged between 30 and 50 at the end of last March, up from 32.3% two years earlier.
Experience Vs Cost Advantages
Revenue growth in Indian IT industry has come down to mid-teens from the 30% levels seen before the 2008 financial crisis that affected the sector's two biggest markets – the US and Europe.
The industry is not expected to go back to such growth levels in the near future.
With existing staff getting older, IT companies' employee costs as a percentage of revenues rose by about 40 basis points over the 12 quarters through September, according to Barclays.
Despite higher costs, the industry is still keeping older employees as it pushes to offer higher-value services to clients. Such services often require experienced employees.