'We Are Hiring!': Formal Jobs Hover Close To Pre-Pandemic Levels
Surbhi works as a UX designer, creating simple user flows for digital products to enable an easy and intuitive customer experience. Back in September, after the first lockdown, she changed jobs to join an analytics platform based in Bangalore. In June this year, she switched jobs again.
Of all the companies that she received offers from, two were very large, listed American multinationals — one a technology giant and another, a fintech that operates an online payments system. She chose the latter. The remuneration was higher, more than what she had asked for and included a joining bonus and ESOPs, which brought her pay to over two times what she was earning pre-pandemic. When she informed the other company she interviewed with that she would be unable to join, they raised their offer, with more stock options thrown in.
The white collar jobs market is turning hot, led by the information technology sector as companies strengthen digital presence during the pandemic. Other sectors too, are seeing an increase in recruitments. Even the worst-hit businesses that laid off a large proportion of workforce last year are hiring again.
"There is a war for talent with the startup scene on fire, funding at all-time highs and what seems like the minting of a new unicorn everyday," said Sahil Kini, co-founder and chief executive officer at Setu. The startup’s APIs and software are used by businesses, small and big, to onboard customers, payments, deposits, lending and data aggregation.
The startup industry today is much bigger than ever before and there is a desire to grow as fast as you can, he said. Engineer salary inflation is 30-40%, according to Kini. His startup plans to hire 20 engineers over the next few months.
There is a job out there for anyone who is looking, as long as they are looking in the right direction, said Deval Singh, business head for IT, telecom, media and government at TeamLease Services Ltd.
New hires in tech industries are getting 40 to100% more than earlier, according to TeamLease.
Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Wipro Ltd., HCL Technology Ltd. and Infosys Ltd. have collectively hired more than one-lakh fresh recruits in the placement season gone by.
Job Listings Back At Pre-Pandemic Levels
While jobs in IT continue to lead, a quick recovery in India's economy post the second wave of Covid-19 has revived hiring across industries to pre-pandemic levels.
Job postings have improved significantly in the last one year, and are inching closer to the pre-pandemic baseline, said Sashi Kumar, head of sales at Indeed, an employment website.
As on Aug. 20, job postings on Indeed were 2.8% higher than February 2020, the pre-pandemic month, according to seasonally adjusted data.
The Naukri JobSpeak index rose to an all-time high of 2,625 in July, rising 11.3% over June.
The Monster employment index rose 4% over June, and 8% on an annual basis, indicating an optimistic outlook for the coming months. To be sure, it's below the pre-pandemic level.
July has provided conclusive proof of the revival in hiring activity in the country, after a setback in April and May, said Pawan Goyal, chief business officer at Naukri.com, a jobs site.
According to Lohit Bhatia, president of workforce management at Quess Corp., the parent of Monster Jobs, while hiring across industries is still a little behind the pre-Covid best at aggregate terms, a few segments are clearly ahead of others.
Sectors such as IT, e-commerce, logistics, fintech and startups are 25-35% ahead than the pre-Covid levels on hiring, while manufacturing, BFSI, telecom are close, according to data from Monster.
Data from Naukri suggests that the rise remains the sharpest in IT-software at 212% on an annual basis in July. The most noteworthy and consistent growth over the last few months belongs to the IT sector and the tech functional area, which has stayed relatively insular to the effects of the pandemic, Goyal said. "This demonstrates that digital transformation of Indian businesses is well underway and central to recovery efforts after the pandemic." Among other sectors showing the sharpest annual growth are those that also saw the maximum job losses in 2020. These are retailing, hotels, restaurants, airlines and travel.
According to Indeed, math roles such as data scientist, statistician and analysts also saw a 35% year-on-year increase in job postings in July.
The pandemic also led to a 60% spike in sanitation roles such as housekeeping, according to Kumar.
Banking and finance sectors in India have been driving grey-collar jobs in sales, marketing and customer support roles, stated a release by GigIndia- a gig platform for grey collar workers. With small and medium enterprises going digital, fintechs are looking to scale operations across tier 2 and 3 cities, it said.
Hiring is also recovering across cities and experience levels.
"We have seen hiring in startups and senior leadership positions re-emerge," said Bhatia of Quess Corp.. "There has also been increased hiring for new positions instead of replacements which is a very encouraging sign."
Increased hiring efforts in the next four weeks, right through the festive season, will strengthen and reinforce hiring for the third and fourth quarters, he said.
In sectors that have exceeded pre-Covid demand, there is a clear wage inflation, including appraisals and bonuses, Bhatia said.
...And Who's Not
IT-hardware saw a decline in job postings, according to Naukri.
Indeed saw listings in civil engineering fall 31% over a year earlier in July, followed by media, construction, manufacturing, and architecture.
A skew is clearly visible as consumer facing sectors such as travel, tourism, aviation, hospitality and retail are yet to fully recover, according to Bhatia. For many other sectors, wages are yet to see an increase. The retail and consumer facing industries will fare better with the emerging festival response in August and September 2021, and will start to see increased appraisals for staff, Bhatia said.
While India is "not out of woods as far as the pandemic is concerned", continued opening of the economy with improving vaccination would aid confidence and spending across sectors, Bhatia said. "That will, in turn, fuel corporates to take a long-term view on hiring, beyond simply seasonal or festive requirements."
Eventually, Surbhi chose the payments company because it enabled her to vest a third of her stock options every year, unlike the other, where the option to vest her stock options was available on an incremental basis. Considering the mad money in IT software right now, everyone should look for jobs in IT, she laughs.