It’s not all gloom and doom in the jobs market. The number of openings may have fallen from around two lakh in April to an estimated 1.67 lakh in May end but the good news is 90% of these are permanent jobs.
Despite the uncertainty about the economy, there are opportunities in spaces such as IT, banking and financial services, online retailing and manufacturing. The demand for specialised knowledge in areas such as cybersecurity, cloud computing, risk management, robotics, IoT and analytics remains high across sectors. Most of all, every company is scouting for technology specialists — whether in engineering or analytics — with experience. But HR experts say companies are also looking for salespersons, collection agents, managers and account servicing executives.
With restrictions on travel and movement being gradually eased and the ‘unlocking’ of the country under way, companies are focusing on re-staffing. Nicolas Dumoulin, managing director, Michael Page India, confirmed there has been a mild uptick in hiring, of about 10%, in the last two weeks.
“We have also observed that positions that were put on hold in sectors such as technology and healthcare are now being filled where companies are open to hiring,” Dumoulin said.
To be sure it wasn’t as though hiring had come to complete halt. As Kamal Karanth, co-founder of Xpheno, told FE, despite the slowdown and some inevitable pruning of workforce expected, recruitment continued. “A moderation seems to be in play with the overall active jobs count dropping by little over 20% in May as compared to April. The total active job openings dropped from 2, 00, 000 in April to 1, 78,000 by mid-May and the closing figures are hovering around 1, 67, 000,” he said. The data is collated directly from employers accepting applications.
Despite the reduction in the count it is encouraging that over 90% of these openings are full time permanent opportunities, Karanth explained. “A notable 7% of these openings are for internships and part time opportunities and an increase of over 3% in this cluster reveals the willingness of enterprises to tap the pool of freshers and recent entrants,” he said.
Aditya Narayan Mishra, CEO, CIEL HR Services, pointed out there is good demand in the mid-to-junior levels for people with 1-10 years of experience. “This is understandable because companies will need some hands to keep moving the machinery,” he said. It is possible, some experts have pointed out, that a fair part of the demand could be replacement hiring given a good many junior employees may not want to return from their native places.
The e-commerce space continues to hum with activity and a good many start-ups too are beefing up their teams especially those in technology, healthcare, essential services, food production or edtech. Moreover, PE and VC players too are strengthening their teams, according to Dumoulin of Michael Page.
Lohit Bhatia, president, India Staffing Federation observed that hiring has begun in the FMCG space and e-commerce platforms and demand is coming in from the BFSI segment and also pharmaceuticals, cement and steel. The pace he said will pick up in the next two-three weeks. “As factories and offices start opening the companies get a sense of how much of the workforce is still available to come back to work and how many have left the cities. Our estimate is lot of gaps will need to be filled as the work begins,” he said.
Covid-19 has also created the need for a full-time business continuity process (BCP) person, according to Sanjay Shetty, head (strategic account management), Randstad India.” Shetty said risk management is being taken seriously to cope with uncertainty. “Traditionally, people in technology, facilities, administration would double up for BCP roles. But Covid-19 has rattled companies and bigger firms are considering a full fledged BCP department whose only job will be to look at risk mitigation at all levels and roles in the company,” Shetty said.