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Hiring Trends In India Amidst The Covid-19 Crisis

Hiring trends are the bellwether of an economy and under present circumstances, that adage becomes more pertinent.

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Business disruptions triggered by Covid-19 have severely impacted the Indian economy, much like most other global markets. Amidst this scenario, a review of the hiring trends in India lends an interesting perspective into the state of the economy. It also sheds light on the market segments which will play a vital role in helping the economic revival and the leadership skills which are sought to lead transformation growth.

Sectors Leading the Hiring Bandwagon

The overall hiring activity in the market is evidently subdued compared to the previous year. However, certain pockets of the economy have been witnessing considerable action. Sectors such as FMCG, Consumer Electronics (non-luxury goods), e-Commerce, Warehousing & Logistics, Healthcare & Pharma, Health Insurance, Technology, Media & Entertainment, and new age segments of EdTech, HealthTech and Online Gaming have been performing well or have seen considerable surge in demand in the post-lockdown era. As a result, companies in these sectors have continued with their budgeted hiring plans and many have even ramped up the hiring plans. Other industries like BFSI, Manufacturing and Infrastructure are also hiring, albeit at lower numbers. Such businesses are being extremely selective and are keenly evaluating the criticality and strategic nature of positions before making the recruitment decision.

Key Leadership Skills in Demand

Every crisis throws up challenges and opportunities. Agile organizations, led by the right set of leaders, are quick to take cognizance and respond to those accordingly. In these times, therefore, having the right set of leadership competencies within the organization is critical to the success and often, survival of the business. It all stems from the top and therefore CEOs bringing the right blend of strategic leadership capability, an agile and resilient approach, keen financial and commercial acumen and technological sensitivity are being widely sought today. With the rate of technology integration and adoption accelerating for businesses and consumers, the need to have commercially savvy and customer focused Technology leaders is becoming increasingly important. This is leading to appointments of CTOs, CIOs, CDOs and Head Data Analytics & Insights across sectors. Critical support functions of Finance and HR are seeking leaders who possess a business focused approach and a transformational leadership track record. Aside from these, leadership roles in Customer Service & Operations, Branding & Communication, Corporate Affairs, Risk, and Legal Counsel are other key positions which are part of the hiring trend in India.

Talent Landscape – The Push & Pull

In current times, the hiring scale is tilted towards talent supply, resulting in a muted war for talent. This presents a great opportunity for organizations which are actively looking to hire, as they can access a wider pool of talent and will have lesser competition to ward off. However, the socio-cultural landscape in India fosters the need to have a steady and secure job at hand and dissuades individuals from being enterprising with career moves. Insecurities and concerns stemming from the present market uncertainty and business volatility is making talent ever more circumspect about making career changes in these times. Many are, therefore, either not open to a change or are being extremely prudent and picky about the job opportunities.

Recruitment Trends

Till a few months back, it would have been inconceivable to hire an employee without conducting an in-person interview. Today, even the most traditionally run organizations are bucking that norm and making hiring decisions based on an all-virtual meetings and assessment process. Interestingly, the salary expectations of candidates have also become more reasonable in current times, ranging between 15-20% (average) hike on existing package as against the 25-30% aspiration earlier.  Compensation structures are also being remodeled with the proportion of performance linked variable pay going up in the salary composition. Separately, organizations are also evaluating contractual, temporary appointments versus offering permanent employment opportunities wherever possible to reduce the long-term fixed liabilities.

In summary, the recruitment outlook for India is mixed with different sectors experiencing varied growth challenges and organizational leadership being constantly tested to demonstrate an agile, responsive and transformational attitude.

18.08.2020