March 5, 2021

Cognizant president Rajeev Mehta clarifies on layoffs

US-headquartered Cognizant (CTS) has written to employees to address concerns over reports of massive layoffs at the company. President Rajeev Mehta sent out an email talking about various reasons for the company being in the press often including the alleged layoffs and hiring plans in the US.
In an email, Mehta told employees: “Cognizant has not done any layoffs. Each year, in line with industry best practices, we conduct performance reviews as we reflect on the work of the past year and ensure goals for the subsequent year are clear.”
CTS has been hitting the headlines after several employees claimed that they were being forced to resign. Outfits like the Forum for IT Employees (FITE) and National Democratic Labour Front (NDLF) have been liaising with labour commissioners of various states including Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune in the past weeks. In the latest meeting with the Chennai Labour Commissioner on Wednesday, CTS denied the layoffs.
For the first time in the history of the company, CTS rolled out a voluntary separation scheme for D+ executives. In the email, Mehta said, “VSP is voluntary. No one is required or asked to participate. We believe this program benefits associates who have opted in and are seeking to make a change in their careers The VSP gives a chance to the participants to explore other opportunities while making way for the next generation of leaders to step up.”
Under pressure from tightening visa norms by the US government, Mehta, during the quarterly earnings call said they would be reducing dependence on the visa program.
Earlier this week, the company also told its staff that it would halt green card applications through the EB2 and EB 3 visa routes and only senior management could apply for green cards through the EB 1 route.
Denying speculations on cutting down hiring in other parts of the world, Mehta said, “We continue to hire in local markets around the world. We have been ramping up our recruiting efforts in US for a number of years and will continue to do so while hiring in most other parts of the world including India.” Commenting about retaining and reskilling employees, Mehta said thousands of employees had been trained in 2016 and said the company expects to have over 1,00,000 employees retrained this year in areas such as data science, big data, pivotal cloud foundry etc.