Hiring in 2021 ended on a strong note, with December numbers for white collar jobs coming in 67% higher than 2020 closing. The three lakh jobs clocked during the month, is the second-highest over the last two years, contributed majorly by technology driven and enabled jobs. The highest count was 3.20 lakh recorded in October 2021.
The better news is that there are no signs to suggest as yet that hiring is slowing down, despite the fear of increasing Covid-19 infections and new variant Omicron.
Though 2020 was a low base year given that the country was just about coming out from the effects of the first wave of the pandemic, the recovery is real because the numbers are a good 24% higher from pre-pandemic levels of December 2019, data sourced by FE from Xpheno, a Bengaluru-based specialist staffing firm shows.
Despite December being a dull month for hiring in technology and engineering industries given the long holidays and shutdowns, the figures coming in the 3 lakh zone is a clear sign of business linked hiring activity, and that enterprises have acquired resilience towards the pandemic given that it comes in the backdrop of a looming third wave and emergence of new variant Omicron.
The technology sector registered its highest talent demand in over 20 months, by contributing to 84% of active white collar job openings during the month. The tech collective comprising IT Services, IT Products & Software and Internet Enabled Services put out over 2.53 lakh active openings. This is the highest volume of active openings published by the sector over the last two years. The previous high reported was in October 2021.
Kamal Karanth, co-founder, Xpheno told Fe, “In spite of an increasing threat of Omicron, December clocking an increase in active jobs is a clear sign of good times with the jobs. The second-highest active jobs in December 2021 led by the tech sector points to an upwards swing in IT jobs in January and even Q4 of the financial year. Considering that January-March quarter is generally a buoyant quarter for jobs the action on IT hiring may not slow down any time soon”.
On a quarterly basis too, the hiring numbers remained strong, with October-December recording a sharp 25% year-on-year jump with an average of 3 lakh jobs against 2.4 lakh in the same quarter last year — a good indicator of expansion in key hiring sectors.
However, contribution from non-technology sectors to hiring remains tepid. According to the hiring data for six such sectors like telecom, hospitality, manufacturing, logistics, among others has been fairly elastic. Prasadh MS, head (workforce research), Xpheno said, “In comparison to BFSI and tech sectors, which are prominent white collar consumers, all other sectors put together contributed only 12,000-14,000 white collar jobs in the last 5-6 months on a month-on-month basis”.
He said that these sectors are yet to become a force to reckon with. “Manufacturing and logistics are blue and grey collar job sectors and had created much of their capacity pre-pandemic, and not much was remaining to be done. However, we have seen some incremental hiring in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors in the past two years of the pandemic. Sectors like hospitality are now only re-hiring people who they lost during the pandemic, but are not coming back into hiring actively,” he said.
In terms of levels, entry-level jobs with work experience of around one to two years stood at 1 lakh mark, mid-junior level were at 85,000, mid-senior at 75,000, while senior level of directors and above at 5,000. The senior level numbers would be higher as these positions are often closed internally or kept away from public view. The contribution of the entry-level openings stood at 32%, increasing 3% compared to November 2021, followed by mid-junior openings at 29%, increasing 2% month-on-month. The slice of the mid-senior jobs closed at 25%, up 1% month-on-month and contribution of senior-suite roles was at 2% increasing 1% month-on-month, of overall active openings.
In another trend, full-time hybrid openings remain a popular pathway for a changeover from work-from-home to work-from- office. With enterprises reconsidering their return to office, hybrid jobs have emerged a fast growing cluster of opportunities. Full-time hybrid openings overtook full-time remote openings for the first time since June 2021 when hybrid openings became visible. Full-time hybrid openings registered a 36% growth in December.
Meanwhile, despite the Covid-19 cases rising, Karanth said that though early days, there are no signs to suggest that the hiring will slow down. “Clients are still talking the same hiring numbers that they were before we went for the Christmas break,” he said.