Hiring activity in India revives after a lull: Naukri report

Hiring activity down annually but shows upward trend on monthly basis


After a lull in hiring due to the lockdown and the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Indian economy, things have started looking up as there are signs of revival. While many organizations had stalled their hiring for the initial few months of the pandemic, the same has recently picked up for many industries such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, ecommerce, ed-tech and the IT and IteS segments.

According to the recent Naukri JobSpeak Index, September saw a 24 per cent improvement in hiring activity as compared to August. In addition, though hiring activity in September declined by 23 percent versus last year, the trajectory of decline has become less steep with an improvement in every subsequent month. 

Metros that were reeling under various lockdown measures earlier have posted strong double digit growth in September as against August, with Pune leading the pack followed by Hyderabad, Chennai and then Bengaluru. Tier-2 cities like Ahmedabad, Chandigarh,  and Jaipur have also seen a significant uptick in the hiring activities. Hiring grew across the board in terms of experience bands. 

Interestingly, the Naukri report states that hiring in metros continued to decline more than the national average (30 percent vs 23 percent) in September with Mumbai (-35 percent), Delhi NCR (-33 percent) and Bengaluru (-33 percent) leading the decline while Jaipur (13 percent) and Chandigarh (11 percent) have turned positive. Recruitment across the board declined at varied experience levels with the entry-level experience bands (0 to 3 years exp) witnessing the sharpest decline of 29 percent while the leadership roles (more than16 years exp) saw the least impact and declined by 15 percent in September’20 as compared to last year same time.

“While the hiring is yet to touch last year levels and is down by 23 percent in Sept’20 versus Sept’19, this is also a marked recovery from a 35 to 60 percent decline that we have witnessed in the last few months. Businesses that are leveraging digital channels for dissemination and consumption of goods and services are thriving and will continue to do so as we imbibe social distancing norms in our daily lives. With increased mobility and focus on health, we are hopeful that hiring activity will further improve in sectors like travel, hospitality, medical and healthcare, insurance and financial services,” says Pawan Goyal, Chief Business Officer, Naukri.com

HR experts say that the recent hiring trends indicate that new ways of working, changing skill sets and job roles required a quick shift in the way employees are now hired. “Employers are now looking for employees with horizontal and complementary skill sets such that they can move between roles seamlessly and without affecting productivity. With technology adoption being advanced by over two decades talent acquisition teams have adopted digital tools (using tools such as video conferencing, selection tools and AI/ and AR driven onboarding tools) for screening, interviewing, selection and onboarding virtually to ensure efficiency and higher productivity,” observes Neeti Sharma, Senior Vice President, TeamLease Services. 

Experts say that off late there has been an increase in hiring in the functions of sales, supply chain, customer support and tech support in the sectors of consumer goods companies though there has been a slow revival in modern retail. Manufacturing plants of these products have started hiring employees on contract in manufacturing support. Many of them are rehiring people that they had let go in the past.

“We see a revival of hiring in the head office and corporate functions when it is an absolute necessity. We see strategists in IT being hired as companies are thinking of digital transformation in order to prepare themselves better for the new world of work. For the IT sector, mid-level roles are being hired as projects have started coming in and the freeze on IT budgets in companies is getting lifted. However, there is a fear of the second wave of infections in Europe and the USA. The leaders in IT are treading a cautious path for hiring. We see a rise in hiring temporary or project roles so that companies can stay flexible in terms of manpower costs and the time horizon,” pointed out Aditya Narayan Mishra, director and CEO of CIEL HR Services. 

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