Months after barrage of job losses, green shoots in hiring appear among MSMEs, startups

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October 20, 2020 6:55 PM

Skilling, Labour, Talent for MSMEs: Among the notable layoffs in the past few months have been by Indian technology enterprises particularly such as MakeMyTrip, Swiggy, Zomato, OLX, Uber India, Ola, WeWork India, CureFit, OYO, and more.

Senior-level executives with 4-7 years of experience saw a dip of 25%.Around 25-30 million people employed in MSMEs had lost jobs by end of June this year.

Skilling, Labour, Talent for MSMEs: The Covid pandemic brought with itself a barrage of job losses and layoffs particularly among Indian startup and small business ecosystem. As businesses were taken off guard, the growth plans for 2020 went into a tizzy that eventually boiled down to surviving the period, particularly the lockdown, on a shoestring budget. This inadvertently had a cascading effect on jobs as many businesses not just pulled the plug on hiring but also had to let go part of their employee strength to save on manpower cost and redirect that money into operations to remain afloat.

“There has been an overall decline of around 40-50 per cent in pre-Covid number of people employed among many startups and small businesses. While the exact number would largely differ based on the business type, its size, and geography it operates in but since Covid had an all-encompassing effect on businesses of all shapes and sizes, the layoffs have been quite significant among emerging businesses,” a startup and small business consultant told Financial Express Online. Among the notable layoffs in the past few months among Indian technology enterprises particularly have been by companies including MakeMyTrip, Swiggy, Zomato, OLX, Uber India, Ola, WeWork India, CureFit, OYO, and more.

On the other hand, around 25-30 million people working in MSMEs had lost jobs by end of June this year, according to a survey by SKOCH Group, FISME, Bhartiya Vitta Salahkar Samiti, and Tax Law Educare Society. Moreover, according to the latest survey by community social media platform LocalCircles, 78 per cent of MSMEs and startups have cut workforce in the past eight months while only 22 per cent have the same or increased workforce vis-à-vis pre-Covid levels. The survey received over 7,000 responses from startups, MSMEs, and entrepreneurs across 104 districts of India. Particularly with respect to women hiring, the survey noted that 43 per cent MSMEs and startups are planning to hire women in the coming six months even as 31 per cent MSMEs and startups have shrunk their women workforce in the past eight months.

Also read: Interview | As small is the new big, MSMEs will be key growth drivers for us in India: Cisco’s Panish PK

“As we see work from home become new normal for technology-enabled businesses and white-collar jobs along with recovery likely ahead in multiple sectors, it might trigger an increased number of job opportunities for women in months ahead,” Sachin Taparia, Co-founder and Chairman, LocalCircles told Financial Express Online.

In order to help Covid-hit MSMEs, the government had announced Rs 3.7 lakh crore package earlier this year. Also, the government and the World Bank had signed a $750 million agreement for the MSME Emergency Response Programme to boost financial support to such MSMEs. This would “address the immediate liquidity and credit needs of some 1.5 million viable MSMEs to help them withstand the impact of the current shock and protect millions of jobs,” according to a statement by the Ministry of Finance in July.

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