Cognizant headcount declines by 7,600 to 3.4 lakh – Times of India

BENGALURU: Cognizant‘s headcount shrank by 7,600 employees to 3.4 lakh employees in the 2023 financial year compared to the corresponding period last year. The reduction in net hiring in several IT firms reflects subdued macroeconomic indicators, continued pressure in banking and financial services, decision-making cycles are now longer, and there’s softness in discretionary spending.
The Nasdaq-listed company saw a sharp reduction of 4,500 employees in India and nearly 3,000 employees onsite. It has 2.5 lakh employees in India, 40,500 in North America, 16,300 in Continental Europe, 8,500 in the UK and 28,400 in other locations, its 2023 annual report showed. Cognizant said its voluntary attrition eased to 13.8% in 2023 compared to 25.6% during the same period last year.
In 2021 and most of 2022, the IT sector witnessed an unprecedented attrition rate. As a result, Cognizant hired 100,000 new employees in each of 2021 and 2022, and over 60,000 in 2023.
Cognizant said it would incur $70 million in costs in 2024 due to the NextGen programme aimed at simplifying its operating model, optimizing corporate functions, and consolidating and realigning office space. In connection with the NextGen programme, in 2023, the company incurred $115 million of employee separation costs and $114 million of facility exit and other costs totalling $229 million, it said in the report.
Cognizant said that it’s increasingly using AI-based technologies, including GenAI, in its client offerings and its internal operations. “As AI-based technologies evolve, we expect that some services that we currently perform for our clients will be replaced by AI or forms of automation. This may lead to reduced demand for certain services or harm our ability to obtain favourable pricing or other terms for our services,” it said as part of the statutory disclosure. It has trained 137,000 employees across a wide range of digital skills.
More than 1,300 leaders have participated in its Lead@Cognizant partnership with Harvard University, a 4.5 month leadership capability programme designed for Cognizant leaders to learn, practice and internalize, and deliver results through strategic alignment. It has grown the leadership pipeline through programmes like Propel, an initiative focused on priming the next level of women leaders within Cognizant. More than 1,600 women have progressed through this initiative.
In January, it acquired Thirdera, a ServiceNow partner specializing in advisory, implementation and optimization solutions related to the ServiceNow platform, for $430 million. This acquisition augments its ServiceNow expertise. The addition of Thirdera’s ServiceNow consultants in North America, Spain, Colombia, the Netherlands, and Australia, and its leading position in ServiceNow training and certifications, including certified master architects and certified technical architects, will create a combined Cognizant ServiceNow Business Group with more than 2,400 specialists and 14,000 certifications.
IT firms factor in the sale of software licenses and hardware as part of its P&L. The gross amount of property and equipment recorded for software to be sold was $279 million and $241 million as of the 2023 and 2022 financial years respectively.

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