Steep Jump in Hiring Expected in Q1
Sreeradha D Basu & Rica Bhattacharyya
Mumbai: India’s job market is showing signs of recovery from the lows hit in the aftermath of demonetisation, and recruitment firms expect up to 50% jump in hiring in the next quarter compared to NovemberDecember levels.
Recruitment and staffing firms such as TeamLease Services, ABC Consultants, Quess Corp, Antal International, PeopleStrong and The HeadHunters said hiring mandates have started coming back from companies across sectors such as banking, consumer, infrastructure, retail and engineering, which had suspended or cut back on hiring after the government decision to delegalise about 86% of currency in circulation led to a severe cash crunch across the country.
“We will be back with a bang in the AprilJune quarter. Hiring will shoot up by as much as 50% compared to demonetisation lows, led by agri-related industries,” said Joseph Devasia, managing director at executive recruitment firm Antal International.
Hiring experts say besides retail and FMCG, companies in most other sectors in- cluding retail, consumer goods, durables, logistics, pharmaceuticals, banking and auto are also returning to the job market.
“About 90% of the recruiters we are speaking to are bullish on hiring,” Devasia said.
He said that after a dry spell in November-December due to uncertainty over the impact of demonetisation on the economy and various businesses, the job market started picking up January onwards with improvements in liquidity and consumer spending.
Guruprasad Srinivasan, president, people and services, at Quess Corp, said the firm’s hiring mandates have seen increased 10-15% in the last couple of weeks compared to the demonetisation lows. “We expect this to go up to 40% in the coming quarter,” he said. The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey of 5,089 Indian employers in the October-December quarter had indicated a likely growth in payrolls in all four regions and seven industry sectors in the last quarter of 2016 with nearly a third of employers looking to add to their payrolls. After demonetisation, however, the bulk of all hiring came to a standstill with employers going into wait-and-watch mode.
Search firms now expect hiring to pick up across all levels, from entry level to senior post, as there are some pent-up demands too.
“During November till mid-January, most companies had temporarily suspended hiring or put it on the backburner to firefight the immediate impact (of demonetisation) and meet revenue targets for the quarter and yearend. Those mandates are now coming back,” said Kris Lakshmikanth, CEO at The Head Hunters India. He expects nearly 40% increase in mid-level hiring mandates in the first quarter of the next fiscal.
Recruiters across the board are largely of the belief that barring a few sectors such as real estate and luxury, which are yet to recover from the demonetisation blues, things are broadly looking positive.
In the case of information technology, whi- le overall hiring has slowed down due to US President Donald Trump’s protectionist stance, companies working in new areas such as digital and mobility technologies are bullish on hiring for those roles.
Sectors such as payment banks as well as logistics will also be positive on hiring, said Rituparna Chakraborty, executive vice president at Teamlease Services. Pankaj Bansal, CEO at PeopleStrong, said impact of demonetisation or Trump on the job market was not severe. “There is stress and uncertainty in the environment but it has not led to any real major hit on the hiring by companies,” he said, adding that net job additions in 2017-18 will be at the same level compared to 2016-17.
Shiv Agrawal, managing director at ABC Consultants, said last year’s good monsoon helped keep the impact of demonetisation on job market minimal. “It explains why, while the initial period was chaotic, people were back to their normal behaviour soon enough,” he said.
Agrawal expects that companies will recruit more people in the April-June quarter than they did a year earlier. Apart from the usual sectors, jobs in roadways and highways are also looking up, he said.