Till a few months ago, IT professional T V George was earning Rs 70,000 per month, plus perks. But after losing his high-paying job, and being unemployed for three months, George, 31, has started giving tuitions in mathematics and physics to aspiring engineering students.
"Now, I am earning Rs 15,000 per month. It's been hard. I got married only a few months before losing my job. So, when I lost my job, I was in a difficult position. Thankfully, I had some savings. With the savings, I am paying my rent and for a few other necessities," says George, who was employed with a top US IT company.
"After losing my job, I tried my best to get a new job. But I remained unlucky. So to help run my home, I decided to give coaching classes to aspiring engineering students."
George is not alone. Recession has hit the IT sector in Bangalore, with scores of technology professionals losing their jobs. Some have been forced to take up low-paying jobs as they wait to bounce back when the recession ends.
Dipankar Dutta, 27, working with an Indian IT company as software engineer, lost his job almost eight months ago.
Today he has a job, but as a content writer in a tech firm.
"Thankfully, writing has been my forte. So, I landed this job of a content writer. Otherwise I would have been in a soup. Since I cannot afford to stay in Bangalore without a job, I compromised and settled for the new job with a much lower pay package," said Dutta.
Scores of IT and ITES professionals in Bangalore have lost their jobs in recent times, an effect of the global economic meltdown. But there is no precise count of the numbers.
According to the latest employment and business outlook report by Bangalore-based staffing firm Teamlease, at 23 percent the attrition rate in this city is higher than in any other in India.
The report was based on interviews with HR heads, CEOs and senior executives of 495 companies in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune.
"The city accounted for the highest attrition rate. IT accounts for over 80 percent of the city's total labour pool. The attrition rate was 23 percent in the last quarter, against the previous quarter's 16 percent. Much of the attrition could be involuntary attrition (or layoffs)," Teamlease general manager Surabhi Mathur-Gandhi said.
India's Silicon Valley has seen thousands of people getting pink slips in recent months. And many more are under the threat of losing their jobs.
"It's painful to lose your job, in today's expensive world. Those who have lost their jobs are desperate now, thus they are settling for low paying jobs," Karthik Shekhar, general secretary of UNITES-Professionals, an unrecognised union of IT/Call Centre/BPO employees, told IANS.
"Every day we meet young men and women who have lost their IT jobs recently. All they want is a job. But getting a job in the IT sector is very difficult. So, they have no option but to settle for jobs outside their fields and that too with low paying packages," Shekhar added.
"It's encouraging that today's youths are ready to move ahead in their lives. Instead of waiting for the economy to revive, IT professionals have started exploring other fields and this is a positive sign," said B.N. Gangadhar, professor of psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans), Bangalore.
"Initially it was difficult, but I am happy with my choice. After losing my job with an IT firm, now I am working as a sales executive. I am hoping the economy will recover soon and all the professionals who have lost their jobs will get new jobs in their field," says Mohammed Khan, a software engineer.