News & Analysis

Moonlighting Could Soon Become Kosher

Reports suggest that TCS is coming up with its own solution for a challenge that IT majors have been vocal about in recent times

At a time when India’s IT consulting companies are crying hoarse over the moonlighting trend by its home-based employees, TCS is reportedly planning to create a platform that would encourage internal gigs for its over six lakh employees. Smart move, if one considers that gig workers work the gigs to make extra cash to pay their bills. 

A report published in the ET quotes human services head Milind Lakkad to suggest that the platform is currently in its initial stages, could potentially be opened out to those outside of the company at some later date. We wonder how Rishad Premji of Wipro and the Infosys bosses would see this open invitation to moonlight. Maybe, we could call it sunlighting! 


The moonlighting mess and thereafter

The IT majors had cracked down on employees who were taking up side jobs, oftentimes with competing brands. Their opponents described it as against ethics and the law as they’d signed job agreements that did not permit taking on gig work in the same industry, let alone with companies that could be direct competition. 

The proponents, on the other hand, claim that post the pandemic, remunerations have not gone up commensurate with cost of living and that the recessionary winds blowing in the West could likely make things worse. More importantly, they gig workers argue that most times junior staff do not have enough to keep them busy, which is a key reason for this moonlighting spell. 


What’s the new idea? But is it new?

On its part, TCS is working on some proof of concept around gig models for engaging with their staffers internally while keeping the activity off limits for customers. The belief is that there is a list of activities that could be crowd-sourced to those that are interested. Moreover, they also think that remuneration needn’t always be monetary and could be recognition. 

Their idea is to evolve the model into a gig-working experience within the company as well as outside of it once it matures. Given that companies in the Indian IT space often poach from each other, such a model could be invested in by others as well, though care needs to be taken that the projects do not carry copyright risk or divulge information that is proprietary. 

In fact, TCS isn’t the only one experimenting. Infosys had announced last week that they had a platform called “Accelerate” where employees worked on gigs within the company in addition to their jobs on major projects. The logic is that staffers who have free time could make themselves useful and also make a few more bucks or get a few stars that help them in career growth. 


Preparing for attrition and its causes

Most IT majors are expecting at least a fifth of their employees to move jobs over the year and at last count it was seen that these giants had hired over 100,000 freshers in order to ensure that the continuous churn doesn’t affect project deadlines. In fact, TCS took a step forward by initiating on-campus training of freshers since the last quarter. 

Most of these companies have faced attrition at the lower levels with the past eight to nine months being witness to the great resignation spree where thousands of junior staff left for higher packages and better roles in smaller but more focussed companies. During the pandemic, the scenario was that mid-level managers were losing as companies sought to cut costs by saving on their salaries and getting junior folks to do the same work. This is now coming back to bite the companies as the same junior staff quit once they got the experience. 


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