Wipro faces criticism after cutting graduate salaries by nearly 50%
Graduates were given days to decide whether they would accept greatly reduced pay offers, prompting union action
Indian IT and consultancy multinatinoal Wipro has almost halved salaries for its graduate scheme employees, prompting widespread criticism and calls for explanation over the sudden change in its hiring practices.
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Wipro runs two graduate hiring tracks known as ‘Elite’ and ‘Turbo’, which carry annual salaries of ₹350,000 and ₹650,000 (£3,500 and £6,500) respectively. Through an internal scheme known as the Wipro Velocity Upgrade Program, Elite candidates can partake in 4-6 months of training in order to be upgraded to ‘Turbo’ status and receive the higher pay package.
But in an email sent last week, candidates who had completed the programme were offered project engineer roles at the Elite rate of ₹350,000, and told they had days to decide whether to accept the offer. Those that accept will be onboarded in March, with no commitment made for higher-paid roles per the company’s previous offer.
It is believed that more than 4,000 candidates were affected by the decision and given until February 20 to notify the company of their decision. The significant cut in starting rate raised alarm and confusion in the hiring pool.
“Our talent is our most valuable asset. We are committed to creating an environment where all our current and future employees are able to build successful careers and realise their goals,” a spokesperson for Wipro told IT Pro.
“In light of the changing macro environment and, as a result, our business needs, we had to adjust our onboarding plans.
“As we work to honour all outstanding offers made, this current offer creates an immediate opportunity for candidates to start their careers, build their expertise and acquire new skills—both through the interesting and innovative work that we do, as well as our extensive learning and development programmes.
“At Wipro, we are committed to the growth and success of all our employees and look forward to welcoming this new group of recent graduates.”
The cut is especially significant considering the average salary of earners in India. According to The Economic Times, those who earn ₹300,000 (£3,000) or more per year place in the country's top 10% of earners.
The Times of India reported that the Indian IT industry union Nascent Information Technology Employees Senate (NITES) has filed a complaint with the labour ministry in response to Wipro’s decision.
NITES also issued a statement in solidarity with Elite candidates who have been made to wait months for roles in the lower-paid tier, some of which have now been seemingly offered to Turbo candidates as part of the reduced offer.
“The delay in onboarding has caused immense stress and financial strain for these freshers, many of whom have been waiting for months on end with no clear end in sight. This is unacceptable, and it is a clear indication of the unethical practices that are rampant within Wipro,” wrote Harpreet Singh Saluja, president of NITES.
“We urge all workers to stand together in solidarity with these freshers and demand that Wipro take immediate action to resolve this situation. We call upon the company to provide these workers with fair compensation for the time they have spent waiting, and to ensure that they are onboarded in a timely and respectful manner.”
Macroeconomic headwinds have been blamed for a number of cuts, layoffs, and changes in workplace conditions in the past few months. Amidst big tech layoffs that have seen tens of thousands fired, Intel slashed staff salaries and bonuses and benefits at Twitter were been decimated.
In October 2022, Meta cancelled promised internships in a cost-cutting move similar to Wipro's decision.
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