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Big slump in pay hikes for techies switching jobs; financial report card for Nykaa, Dunzo, PB Fintech

Happy Tuesday! Employees at Indian IT firms are not snagging the kind of salary hikes they were used to on switching jobs till a few years ago, per data from staffing companies. This and more in today’s ETtech Morning Dispatch.

Also in this letter:
■ Key takeaways from OpenAI’s developer conference
■ Rahul Kothari elevated as COO of Razorpay
■ Explained: The Mahadev betting app scam

IT pays? Now not much higher for the new hire

Employees of technology companies switching jobs aren’t finding the going easy as salary hikes have witnessed a sharp slump. According to data from staffing firms, the hikes have dropped by nearly half compared to the previous financial year as top IT exporters reduce their intake amid slowing demand for technology services globally.

Data decoded: This fiscal, software companies are offering hikes between 18-22 % to those jumping jobs, compared to over 40% and even as much as 100-120% earlier.

Further, those with legacy coding skills are seeing the biggest decline in compensation, while demand and commensurate pay for those in AI or cloud infrastructure continue to remain high.

Expert take:
“Employers have tightened their negotiation ranges to the typical 20%-30% hikes for most roles. Candidates with higher hike expectations are dropped from the funnel or pushed further down the shortlisted queue,” said Anil Ethanur, cofounder, Xpheno.

Trend reversal? It was only last year that IT companies were riding high on a surge in demand for technology services and were engaged in frantic hiring, even poaching from rivals and offering unprecedented salary hikes.

This year, not only have India’s top four IT companies seen a cumulative reduction in headcount of nearly 21,000 people, but Infosys and Wipro have also decided to skip campus placements to focus on better utilisation of their existing workforce.

Results corner: Nykaa, Dunzo, PB Fintech

Redington Results: Firm posts fall in profit on slow tech gadget demand

FSN E-Commerce, the parent company of omnichannel beauty and fashion retailer Nykaa, recorded a 50% surge in consolidated net profit to Rs 7.8 crore for the quarter ended September.

Key highlights:

  • Revenue from operations rose by 22% to Rs 1,507 crore in Q2 FY24
  • Gross merchandise value (GMV) jumped 25% YoY to Rs 2,943 crore; for the BPC segment, it grew 23% YoY
Nykaa Print GFX

Dunzo losses widen: Cash-strapped quick commerce firm Dunzo witnessed a substantial increase in its losses which rose over three-fold to Rs 1,801.8 crore in FY23. However, despite the challenges, revenue from operations surged more than four times to Rs 226.6 crore.

Key highlights:

  • Expenses jumped to Rs 2,054.4 crore in FY23, against Rs 531.7 crore in FY22
  • Employee benefit expenses soared to Rs 338 crore in FY23, from Rs 138.3 crore a year earlier

PB Fintech reaffirms profitability plan: PB Fintech, the parent of insurance marketplace Policybazaar and credit platform Paisabazaar, on Monday reiterated its forecast for turning a net profit this fiscal year, despite reporting a loss for the second quarter ended on September 30.

Quote, unquote: “We stay confident to deliver the first year of PAT (profit after tax) because Q3 and Q4 are the strongest quarters for us,” said cofounder and chairman Yashish Dahiya. “The first priority has always been growth in the core business, second is on delivering Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation),” he said on a post-earnings call with analysts.

  • PB Fintech’s quarterly losses narrowed almost nine-fold to Rs 21.1 crore from Rs 186.6 crore in the year-ago period
  • Revenue from operations grew 41% from a year ago to Rs 811.6 crore.

OpenAI launches customised AI bots; offers cheaper yet powerful models


OpenAI CEO Sam Altman (left) with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella during OpenAI’s DevDay in San Francisco

ChatGPT users can now build customised bots to handle specific tasks, said its parent and artificial intelligence company OpenAI during its first developer conference — DevDay — on Monday. OpenAI also announced that it will slash costs on more powerful models for developers.

Driving the news: OpenAI CEO Sam Altman shared the updates at the San Francisco event, which attracted 900 developers from around the world. This is OpenAI’s latest attempt to capitalise on the popularity of ChatGPT by offering developers incentives to build in its ecosystem.

Key takeaways from the event:

  • A GPT store will be launched later this month for sharing GPTs — OpenAI’s version of agents to allow ChatGPT to book flights and perform other tasks — and earn money based on the number of users
  • OpenAI announced a new GPT-4 Turbo model and slashed the cost by over 50%
  • Launched APIs with vision and image modalities and a beta program for developers to fine-tune GPT-4 models
  • A Custom Models programme for a dedicated group of researchers to train custom GPT-4
  • OpenAI will cover any legal cost incurred by claims around copyright infringement for enterprise users

Microsoft’s commitment: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was present at the event and reiterated his commitment to the partnership with OpenAI. “We commit ourselves deeply to making sure you all, as builders of these foundation models, have not only the best systems for training and inference, but the most compute to keep pushing forward.”

AI to cut barrier to creativity for developers, creators: Snap CEO

Snapchat empowering 200 mn users in India with AR experiences: CEO Evan Spiegel

Snap cofounder and CEO Evan Spiegel at the company’s APAC AR Day event in Mumbai

Evan Spiegel, cofounder and CEO of photo messaging platform Snap Inc, waded into the debate on creativity and AI at the company’s APAC AR Day event in Mumbai on Monday, saying that the technology can reduce the barrier to creativity for developers and creators.

AI/AR potential: Spiegel detailed the platform’s investments in the technology during a chat with Asia Pacific president Ajit Mohan at the company’s APAC AR Day event in Mumbai.

“One of the things that we found early on with augmented reality (AR) was it is very hard to generate 3D assets as it takes someone a really long period to build all those 3D assets. So how can we use AI to reduce the barrier of creation for those assets, and that is something we’ve been investing a lot recently,” he said.

Digital payments firm Razorpay elevates Rahul Kothari as COO

Rahul Kothari

Rahul Kothari, chief operating officer, Razorpay

Razorpay has elevated Rahul Kothari as its chief operating officer as the payments firm looks to double down on the Southeast Asia (SEA) region. Earlier, he was the chief business officer (CBO) for the Bengaluru-based fintech startup.

The new role: Kothari will work closely with company founder and CEO Harshil Mathur to develop and implement strategies to improve its overall performance. These include aspects such as customer service, technology infrastructure, and organisation quality assurance.

Kothari will also look at Razorpay’s products across domestic and international markets.

The significance? Kothari’s elevation also comes as Razorpay procured a licence last month to directly onboard new merchants on its platform in Malaysia for its payment gateway vertical.

The company launched its first international payment gateway (PG) service earlier in July this year with subsidiary Curlec in Malaysia to help local businesses in the geography accept digital payments.

Mahadev betting app: How it works, and how Bollywood celebrities are involved

Mahadev APP

On Sunday, the government blocked the functioning of several unauthorised betting and gambling apps, including the controversial Mahadev app, following a request by the Enforcement Directorate. But what led to this action, and how is Bollywood involved in the controversy? ETtech takes a look.

How does the app work? Platforms like Mahadev Book Online and reddyannaofficial.in target specific regional audiences, encouraging interaction with bookmakers via messaging apps and social media.

These sites operate through a network of smaller apps created using custom Android application packages (APKs). Once downloaded, users contact a website admin for a unique token or user ID, which allows them to place bets through messaging apps. Transactions are typically conducted using Unified Payments Interface (UPI) or other online payment methods.

B-town in trouble over Mahadev betting app_Graphic_ETTECH_2

The B-town connection:
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoned film personalities, including Ranbir Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, and comedian Kapil Sharma, regarding alleged payments for promoting the app.

Other Top Stories By Our Reporters

Wipro work from office

Wipro mandates work from office thrice a week: Employees at IT major Wipro will have to report to work from the office at least three days a week starting November 15, according to an internal communication. Any non-adherence or non-compliance to the policy could lead to disciplinary action starting January 7, 2024, the company said.

Euler Motors raises Rs 120 crore in down round: Euler Motors, which makes electric three-wheeler commercial vehicles, said it has raised Rs 120 crore in a funding round. The firm did not disclose the valuation at which the funding happened, but founder and CEO Saurav Kumar told ET that it was at a lower valuation than the previous fundraise.

Global Picks We Are Reading

■ How a tiny Pacific Island became the global capital of cybercrime (MIT Technology Review)

■ YouTube’s crackdown spurs record uninstalls of ad blockers (Wired)

■ Google’s Epic legal battle opens up on another front (Financial Times)

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