Though the second Covid-19 wave is spreading faster and is a cause of concern for many sectors, business experts with whom THE WEEK spoke to feel that new jobs and existing jobs may be impacted only if the second Covid-19 persists for a long duration, say for the next three to four months. Sectors such as healthcare and Information Technology (IT) are the least expected to be impacted by the second wave due to a continued demand for health and IT professionals.
“The relaxation in the eligibility criteria for the vaccination drive is encouraging. If the implementation is successful during May and June, the chain of spread will break and the wave will start subsiding. Public private participation is crucial here and quick action is the need of the hour. India Inc is looking forward to a successful drive with optimism. Revenue projections for 2021-22 and job creation are likely to remain unaffected if the plans for May and June are clear and robust,” observed Aditya Narayan Mishra, Director and CEO of CIEL HR Services.
Mishra also agrees that if the uncertainty about the response of our health system persists, the sentiments of the individuals as well as corporates are going to plummet. “We will see sporadic lockdowns. This will have serious implications for the sale of consumer durable, automotives, homes and discretionary buys. As a ripple effect, we will see impact on engineering, logistics and other services. Technology and health sectors would continue their job creation and the revenues. Essential commodities will sustain their current levels without any drastic negative impact,” added Mishra.
Experts feel that despite the current second Covid-19 wave, economic activity in India has moved above the pre-pandemic levels, supported by fiscal measures taken for recovery across sectors. Hiring in sectors such as educational services, technology start-ups, information technology, FMCG, knowledge process outsourcing, agriculture and agrochemicals, telecommunications and healthcare has been quite optimistic. In fact, hiring in e-commerce essential services has also seen a healthy traction.
“Currently, even with pocketed shutdowns across states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, etc, there is an increase in delivery requirements in the essential services category owing to which hiring of gig workers is going to see a further increase. With the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), requirement for gig workers has also spiked further. Even the healthcare industry is seeing accelerated adoption of this workforce. In the second half of 2021, the hospitality and retail industry is also expected to recover. The ongoing vaccination drive is likely to boost consumer confidence across industries and further improve the overall scenario,” pointed out Ajoy Thomas, business head (retail, e-commerce, logistics and transportation), TeamLease.
Experts feel if the vaccination drive is done at a war footing it may help in the further stabilization of the economy as it is expected that a significant part of the new jobs creation possibly of it across the globe, will arise in Asia over the next decade. “India is expected to be a big beneficiary of such an increase in the number of new jobs. We had started witnessing this trend of increase, in the beginning of February and March 2021, which has been impacted by the sudden surge of Covid. This impact may last for a quarter and not more as this would be temporary and as businesses resume, the surge in demand would again throw open plenty of new jobs, in skill sets possibly different than what was traditionally needed,” said Subramanyam Sreenivasaiah, CEO at Ascent HR.