The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Indian economy has been devastating. The nation-wide lockdown almost annulled business activity and led to a massive number of job losses.
As per Indian government data, the GDP growth for the last quarter of 2020 FY fell to 3.1%, and the current quarter may witness a further shrinking of GDP. As of mid-April, the unemployment rate rose to 26%, and almost 140 million people have lost their jobs during the lockdown. Some of the industries that were significantly jolted include tourism & hospitality, aviation, banking, etc. The job cuts have been in higher numbers in start-ups than traditional big corporate houses. The majority of the Indian businesses faced a cash crunch during the lockdown.
However, as India is reopening slowly, we are experiencing bouncing back of the recruitment season. Vinayak Parashar, Core Team Member, Oye Rickshaw explains the situation, “COVID-19 had a big impact on the overall economy all over the world. People are losing their jobs. Many sectors are still not having any signs of recovery. On the other hand, many sectors including delivery, pharma, transportation, logistics, IT are active now and have started recruiting new people. This will help the economy to recover early from this tough situation.”
Employment is one of the strongest parameters to boost economic capability. It’s time enterprises contribute to economic recovery by initiating maximum recruitment.Vinayak Parashar, Core Team Member, Oye Rickshaw
Back in Business
The curb on the movement of people has led to a complete halt of business in the travel and tourism sector. Bookings were canceled in large numbers. Many major hotel chains and hospitality start-ups like OYO Rooms, and Airbnb had to resort to cost-cutting through layoffs. However, the recovery is happening at a faster rate than expected. Airbnb has started the “Go Near” campaign, believing that people are looking for visiting nearby and affordable places. Many hotel chains have begun operations with a particular focus on cleanliness and hygiene. Recruitment in the travel & tourism sectors is expected to surge as the innate desire for travel is not likely to fade away.
After a rough phase in March, mid-tier IT firms have started receiving big orders globally. In India, the recovery took no time. Sandeep Kishore, CEO of Zensar Technologies, said it received $1 billion worth of orders by early May. Moreover, 70% of the total orders were made digitally. Similarly, Mindtree reported having received new deals in early May. With a surge in demand for new technologies, recruitment in the IT industry will soon normalize.
Similarly, the pandemic severely hit banking and non-banking institutions. Banks and NBFCs faced a huge crunch of liquidity in the market as businesses across sectors came to a grinding halt. In addition, RBI’s loan moratorium plan further amplified the stress on the BFSI sector as a whole. However, things are returning to normalcy now. According to Lohit Bhatia, president, India Staffing Federation, staffing in BFSI, e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, cement, and steel has begun. Anubhav Jain, General Manager HR, Cars24 shares the optimism, “I strongly feel that recruitments have started to open up. A lot of companies have started hiring. It shows that companies are able to move ahead from these tough times. Businesses have started to rethink their strategies to take their businesses ahead.
This is also a good time to hire quality talent at low costs, as a lot of COVID-19 affected people are ready to join organizations at similar or lower salaries. This enables organizations to take up quality talent, help affected people, and save money in terms of hiring cost.”Anubhav Jain, General Manager HR, Cars24
Ramping up for increased demand
Healthcare is among the few industries that didn’t face major repercussions of the lockdown, with an obvious surge in demand. However, the recruitment of fresh talent did slow down by 8% during the lockdown, according to TimesJobs report. This trend may soon change. As the lockdown is slowly lifted, we should expect a surge in demand for fresh talent in the healthcare and pharma industry.
Likewise, delivery was added to essential services during the lockdown and the companies in the sector were able to continue operations. Despite some initial layoffs, e-commerce delivery firms have started fresh recruitment now. Those in the domain like Softbank-backed logistics startup, Delhivery are actively hiring for multiple roles.
The Changing Needs
Although things are returning to normalcy, it would be a folly to expect the same old pattern of hiring to come back. The pandemic has changed the world order, and businesses have started adapting to it. Firms are tweaking their recruitment process in more than one way.
The pandemic has forced firms to become task-oriented rather than package oriented.
The adherence to social distancing norms may make the whole office-space idea obsolete as the Phygital (a combination of physical and digital) workplace comes into being. Companies are already looking for self-motivated people who can work remotely without any detriment to their performance. Facebook reported that 95% of its workforce had to work remotely during the pandemic’s peak months. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also said that Facebook will allow a major part of its workforce to permanently work from home by 2021. Similarly, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has announced that the majority of its workforce will continue working remotely.
Watch: Facebook to permanently embrace a remote working model
The coming years may see an increment in the recruitment of freelance workers in roles that were till now held by permanent employees. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a monumental change in the world order. The change in the business ecosystem was also inevitable. Gurinderpal Singh, President & CEO and Founder of TMSS Talent21 explains the shift for recruitment firms, “In the coming days, demand will certainly rise in the market. Most importantly, Talent Acquisition organizations have to play the role of career advisor to the individual and growth advisor to the organization.”
Nevertheless, change also brings new opportunities. India Inc resuming recruitment at a faster pace than expected is a good sign for the entire business ecosystem.