Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hiring in India...whassup?

"Hows the job market?:" "How are things going for you? What are you working on right now?"

Some of the queries that we are being forced to address till last week, have now changed to:

"Will new Indian government help revive slowing/recessing economy? " "The new government in India is set to take its term by weekend. Whats is your opinion about the next government contribution to corporate sector amidst slowdown? ""Which are the sectors that can expect a boost..and how? "

Well, I must confess I have no clue :-)!!

Over the past few months, most companies had exhibited very low business confidence-totally shutting off any developmental activity-and happy to ‘just be’- while exploring every avenue to cut costs –by hook or crook. With most hesitant to ‘fire’ as publicly, ‘hiring’ was certainly not among any of the pressing priorities.

For a recruiter it was a double whammy in the last two quarters. As a result of the sentiments, most candidates too put their aspirations on hold-and were quite content to wait for a real compelling reason to look for a change!!

As a result, we have had to find ways to work doubly hard to stay in place & survive. Moreover, if earlier the time lag between the enquiry (when we got the mandate, screening candidates, arranging interviews, release of offer –joining of the candidate) and the payment of our bill –was 90 to 120 days-the same had climbed up to 150-180 days as most employers were in no hurry to ‘buy out the notice period’ and get a new person aboard!!

An incorrigible optimist that I am, if anything, I must admit I am hoping that the overwhelming majority the UPA got –is a ‘turning point’!!

Perhaps a stable government can keep its promises & go ahead with its manifesto without too much opposition or hurdles.

Perhaps companies will soon start making up their mind on ‘whom to hire’ just as easily they had reconciled ‘whom not to hire’ in the last couple of quarters!!

Perhaps the infrastructure industry will kick off the block fastest. Especially since the government is the trigger of most long term projects, we will hear announcement of more power projects-apart from the accelerated work on highways, ports , irrigation etc.

Perhaps the sensex going up to 14000 ( remember it is 70% up from March09) will bring back more people into the stock market- (hoping to make amends for the money lost in real estate?)-which means IPO issues follow? Banking, financial sector hiring would improve?

Wishful thinking??

Well, one thing is for sure. Those days when companies paid obscene salaries in a bid to get people aboard- is gone.

a)There is a general feeling there is huge pool of laid off people-that companies in growth intensive sectors now have access to. Apparently over 700,000 ‘industry neutral’ executives in functions such as HR, finance, system administration, marketing and sales.

b)This is a significant transformation for Indian companies that are perceived to have a mindset problem when it comes to hiring people who have been laid off. For eg- those who forayed into the 'glamorous' retail industry aren't being shunned by FMCG/distribution companies on return!

As a result, I do not see too many companies paying more than 10-15% hikes when one changed a job in these circumstances.

There will be more emphasis on hiring ‘local talent’ as the inertia could be much lower as the hidden costs are lower ( for eg if one were to relocate to a new city-one needs to reckon the premium for accommodation, schooling of kids...)

Can one see a 'transition' from the 'job seekers market' to the 'employers market'?? There are some clients deciding to hire 'diverse candidates' for roles hitherto they weren't as fussy!

Do let me know if I am missing out any major trend!!

Psst-here are some 'not so confidential' HOT jobs we at Options are working on. Some global jobs are listed here. Some IT roles in India. And some non IT jobs across different functions. Please feel free to reach [email protected] if you can think of someone who is keen! Of course, the caveat...things will take longer to close-than before :-)!! Cheers!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

IPL Cricket, Election results…the game changeth?

The events in the last one week are perhaps the reflection of how the future will unfold!!

As an avid ‘orthodox’ cricket follower, I have gone through a variety of emotions regarding my impressions about the Indian Premier League cricket.

-last year was a novelty and so people watched.
-this year, as the venues were shifted from India to South Africa, my thoughts were ‘out of sight –out of mind’
-it’s a pure batsman’s game-more than ever
-even the telecasts were being shown on ‘entertainment’ channel not ‘sports’!
-commercialism at its crass-as some obscene bids/fees were on offer.

And as the 8 teams went about playing the league matches against each other, I felt, it was just a charade –of people going through the motions of showing up and putting an act. Among the 8, the leader and the bottom ranked had settled in – while the rest 6 were to battle for the 3 places in the semis.

Till the 14th May –when the countdown began. Since the 44th match, the IPL2 has suddenly come to life. Almost all the matches have gone to the wire- results being decided not just in the last over, but even in the last ball –on more than a few occasions with some heart warming performances-by thinnest of margins.

-the bowlers are making a difference. The best have been able to ‘out think’ the batsmen under pressure, and vary the offerings-be it the length, or pace, or even the bounce.

-fielders were no longer passive-converting threes into twos, and some near run outs-not to mention some outstanding catches.

-reputation no longer matters. You are as good as the last ball!!

As I write, all the teams have completed 13 matches-and have just one match to go each. And the mandate is clear for each of them. They have no choice –but to win –to survive and be in the race.

And its back to the classic cliche- no match is won or lost till the last ball is bowled!! There is no room for complacency for anyone…

( By the way did any of the old school keep track that England walloped West Indies in a boring one-sided test match while all the above was happening!!?)

Switch to election results in India-very few pundits had predicted the turn of events.The critic might contest that close to one fourth of elected representatives have a criminal record. Or more than half are ‘crore-pathis’. Or two thirds of the people are below 60years of age.

But the fact is that the old order has become less relevant!! Look what happened to the bastion of communism in West Bengal and Kerala. Or the dream of Telangana. Clout of the regional parties? There has been a total disregard for ‘opportunistic’ party leaders who came together as alliances without any strong ideology.

Most arm chair critics have been stunned to notice the overwhelming mandate for stability –which would help India grow to its potential.

The future is about to unfold…Can all of us see the writing? As job seekers, recruiters and HR professionals, are we taking stock if we are still living in a time warp? Can we learn from whats happening around us? Are we making ourselves more relevant? Can we lump some bitter truth and become real??

What got us here-will certainly not get us ‘there’!!

We may be reduced to being spectators..if we do not become the ‘game changers’!!