Job openings: No freeze, but firms cautious on hiring amid covid pandemic

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Updated: Jul 13, 2020 8:32 AM

The total active job openings dropped from 2 lakh in April to 1.67 lakh in May, with the closing figures for June hovering around 1.32 lakh.

These numbers reflect openings at employers that are actively looking for people and accepting applications.These numbers reflect openings at employers that are actively looking for people and accepting applications.

While there’s no outright freeze on hiring and most appointment letters are being honoured, companies have nonetheless turned judicious when it comes to hiring. To that extent, the job market is somewhat quiet.

The total active job openings dropped from 2 lakh in April to 1.67 lakh in May, with the closing figures for June hovering around 1.32 lakh. These numbers reflect openings at employers that are actively looking for people and accepting applications.

According to Siddhartha Gupta, CEO, Mercer|Mettl, hiring has undoubtedly nosedived, but companies are planning and building talent pipelines in the eventuality of a lockdown lift and associated demand generation in the market.

“Companies are looking out for newer talents passively, they are engaging with the candidates by offering them freelance opportunities to work on some projects or interviewing them and building their talent pipeline. Companies that are seeing good bottomlines, like online solutions and technology providers, are honouring their previously-made offers and are even hiring new talent to meet their requirements,” Gupta said.

Kamal Karanth, co-founder of Xpheno, said June had seen some marquee enterprises revoking fresher offers and postponing hiring plans for freshers. “Continued trimming of workforce by local enterprises clubbed with challenging situations for expatriates, has impacted the pace and volume of overall hiring,” he said.

Full-time opportunities dropped by 18% in June over those in May. Xpheno’s report for April and May had reflected a general upward movement in the opportunities for internships and part timers. “There has been a reversal on this front in June, with a little over 40% drop in the numbers,” Karanth said.

Companies that FE spoke to said all the offers made prior to Covid-19 or even during the pandemic are being honoured.

However, right now while some firms continue to recruit across all levels, others are being selective and some have held back.

Supratik Bhattacharya, chief talent officer, RPG Group told FE the group continues to hire talent with the longer-term perspective, for supplementing and expanding capabilities in new markets and functions. “We are keen on hiring high quality, digital and technology talent across levels in our group companies,” Bhattacharya said. While the company is taking new hires on board as planned, it has hired seven CXOs across group companies in addition to 58 graduates from Tier-1 business schools.

According to HR consultants lateral hiring, for now, is more about strategising and planning and less about actual hiring. To be sure, on a recent earnings call, Cognizant CFO, Karen McLoughlin said the company is freezing lateral hiring across all functions. However, it will continue to move forward with sales hiring plan and other key positions, and honour all outstanding accepted offers. “Additionally, we have confirmed that we will honour the more than 20,000 campus offers we have made,” McLoughlin said.

Tata Steel has also put its hiring plans on hold although it is honouring all commitments made before or during the pandemic.TV Narendran, CEO and MD Tata Steel said the company normally takes a fresh batch of graduates every year. “We have honoured those commitments, they have been inducted into Tata Steel virtually,” he said. Narendran added :“We are not hiring just now as we are looking at how to make more productive use of the resources that we already have”.

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