Covid blues shake off: More small businesses may employ people in Q3 as intent to hire doubles from H1

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December 02, 2020 3:22 PM

Skill, Labour, Talent for MSMEs: The Covid pandemic had triggered a barrage of job losses and layoffs among small businesses and startups in India in their fight to survive the downturn on a shoestring budget.

Other alternatives to hiring also exist, but with problems--one of them being staffing agencies that are too expensive.Among the top sectors improving intent to hire were healthcare & pharmaceuticals, educational services, e-commerce & technology startups and more.

Skill, Labour, Talent for MSMEs: Covid blues for a section of small businesses seem to be gradually fading away as their ‘intent to hire’ has nearly doubled in the current quarter from the first half of FY21. According to the TeamLease Employment Outlook report for Q3 FY21, the hiring intent of small businesses has improved from 7 per cent during the April-September period to 13 per cent in the October-December quarter of FY21. The forward-looking report reflected the hiring sentiment of 137 businesses, including small (65), medium (42), and large (30) firms, captured in September this year across 14 cities and 21 sectors such as education services, IT, healthcare, etc. The intent to hire in Q3 meant the percentage of employers that may hire employees during the quarter.

The jump in small businesses hiring intent was also significant in comparison to the improvement among medium and large entities. While the percentage remained higher at 15 per cent and 27 per cent for the two business sizes respectively vis-à-vis small businesses, the growth in the likeliness of hiring was only 3 per cent from 12 per cent in H1 FY21 for medium businesses and 3 per cent for large businesses as well from 24 per cent in H1 FY21. The report noted that large and medium-sized businesses, saddled with inventory and poorly utilized capacity, are also expected to significantly up hiring efforts in the current quarter.

The Covid pandemic had triggered a barrage of job losses and layoffs among small businesses and startups in India in their fight to survive the downturn on a shoestring budget. Businesses had to part with a number of employees to save on manpower costs and redirect that money into operations to remain afloat. However, while the pandemic is far from over, the businesses and sectors have adjusted themselves to the new normal.

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“Most of the sectors intend to ramp up their hiring. While signs are encouraging, still too early to predict how Q4 shall pan out given traditionally it is a tepid hiring quarter,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, Co-Founder & Executive Vice President, TeamLease Services. Among the top sectors improving intent to hire were healthcare & pharmaceuticals (39 per cent), educational services (34 per cent), e-commerce & technology startups (31 per cent), knowledge process outsourcing (31 per cent), IT (29 per cent), FMCG (27 per cent), telecommunications (24 per cent), retail (Essential) (23 per cent), financial services (18 per cent), BPO/ITeS (15 per cent), and manufacturing, engineering & infrastructure (12 per cent).

According to another survey by community social media platform LocalCircles published in October this year, 78 per cent of MSMEs and startups had reduced their employee strength in the preceding eight months while only 22 per cent had the same or increased workforce in comparison to the pre-Covid levels. The survey received over 7,000 responses from startups, MSMEs, and entrepreneurs across 104 districts of India.

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