Layoff in 5 minutes – pink slip danger

Sandeep Jadhav, a 27-year-old professional in India’s outsourcing industry, had only seen the good times. He worked hard as a support technician in the local subsidiary of an American software company and took home an annual salary of about Rs 5 lakh.

He frequently bought expensive sarees for his wife, toys for his eight-month-old son and cricket gear for himself, maxing out on his two credit cards. In December, he planned to take a home loan and buy an apartment in the Kanakapura suburbs of Bangalore. Last week on Tuesday, Jadhav was called in by the vice-president of his company, handed a month’s salary and sacked on the spot.

I signed the letter, took my cheque and walked out without speaking a single word. It was all over in five minutes,” said Jadhav, reliving the moment. The vice-president told him that he was being terminated due to “bad market conditions”.

A nightmare called the “pink slip”, familiar to most Indian workers as something that happens only in the West, has arrived in Bangalore. In this city, one of the world’s hottest outsourcing centres, companies have begun laying off employees and putting a freeze on recruitment. Even campus hiring, a process by which most fresh recruits break into the industry, is at a low. Bangalore is hurting. Jadhav has worked in the past for the business process outsourcing firm FirstRing and Dell Financial Services.

But the recent, serial bust-ups in Wall Street and a recessionary US economy has badly hit Indian outsourcing firms. With American companies — their biggest customers — facing an economic dip, outsourcing companies are cutting back and, in turn, choking the job market.

“The scene is really bad and I now realise what my brothers in the United States must be going through,” says…

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