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!!

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