Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sensex -Senses?

It is Diwali today!! Amidst all the gloom and doom predicted all around..am I glad to notice two pieces-that really need us to stop and think..how we in India-are different!!

Rama Bijapurkar's prognosis on consumer spending is a revelation!! Her take: Consumer India is a hydra -headed monster-and consists many demand segments or "mini Indias"and each of them is not as badly hit by the US recession!! The news on the overall consumer demand is better than we think it is!

-there are some 85 million farmers and their families -who have had a good monsoon and crop and recent loan write-offs.
-there are 5-7 million government -and quasi government employee families who are laughing all the way to the bank!
( Both these segments by far out number the 20 million affected by stock market or the 2 million in IT/ITES sectors with shaky jobs and low confidence!!)
-This is probably the first time that the rich are getting hurt more than the poor-but they have the resilience to ride through-especially since most of them are hurting on account of being the most over leveraged!
-And finally- as the top 20% of India accounts for about 43% of consumer spending-the bottom 60% for about 36% -the mass may be safer than the class.

Aren't there opportunities to shore up market share or customer loyalty??
And hey, juxtapose it with the article The fright and the wrong by Shekhar Gupta of Indian Express -we are reminded that
"While Singapore and the UK have reported a small contraction and the US is headed that way, the most, most pessimistic prediction on this year’s growth in India is 6.5 per cent, only the second behind China, although a very conservative RBI still says 7.7. You call that recession? Normally, it would be a boom year. But we are so spoilt by four years of 9 per cent and so terrified looking at the slide in Western economies that we have misread a slowdown for recession.
And we are not a small economy. Exports are only 13 per cent of our GDP and while some will suffer due to a global recession, some sectors will benefit hugely from a weaker rupee. There is an enormous domestic demand for goods and services and hundreds of billions worth of infrastructure to build. Yes, capital will be scarce, but why don’t we also factor in the cost reduction because of crashing commodity prices? Because of falling crude prices, the Government could save Rs 100,000 crore this year alone on fuel and fertiliser subsidies; going ahead it could be two and a half times as much. Over the next few weeks, we see Inflation falling drastically, a cut in fuel prices, a drop in interest rates and the release of Pay Commission arrears. Households in India are heading for a much better year compared to the last couple, though of course those invested in stocks would rue the loss of their net worth.

I would suggest each one of us to read the article- especially the section where he quotes General Sundarji about a real life army incident. " Fear and courage, are the most infectious of all viruses. In times of great stress or anxiety, or under threat, human beings look at the next guy and make up their minds entirely on the basis of what they read on his face."

"We are still looking at an economy on the up, and one that is uniquely positioned to fight back, and take advantage of this global crisis. But, for that, something has to inspire us to hunker down with confident stoicism, and fight back-like the Sundarji’s platoon on that second hill feature.!! "

It is time, we used our senses- looked at the fundamentals-and take stock!!

Cheers-here is hoping all of us can have a blast!! Happy Diwali!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Global Migration of professionals...sooner than later?

In the past few hours today, I have recieved -coincidentally(?) a sudden spurt in calls.

Reji John of Financial Chronicle sent me this link Prodigal sons rush homewards-safety? -which hinges on the possible movement of the Finance professionals from US/UK to other parts of the world. Reji has quoted me to drive home some points ;-)!

Only last night was I on a conference call with a couple from Canada-exploring if there would be Indians in the IT and engineering sector -would might like to migrate for better opportunities to Canada? One challenge is see.. their employment visas would take anyway from 3-5 months- for attracting professionals who are scarce in their country.

A shortwhile ago, a senior consultant from Deloitte, UK called -as a part of a survey -and enquired about the recruitment industry in the past few years, the likely trends in the near future, effect of the slowdown, and probed about the potentially fast growing sectors in the coming years...the efficacy of job portals and social networking sites and well, well- the acceptance of global professionals for opportunities in India...and if it would become a significant percentage of the workforce!!

Now..with a country of our size- and adding an Australia every year to the population, I can easily wager to predict the share of the segment would be miniscule ;-)!

Is the tipping point near? What are the challenges? For corporates, jobseekers..and the rest of the ecosystem?

PS-Talking of Australia, here is an extract of a mail earlier today, I got from an affiliate in Australia

looking for a number of candidates for a railway design division of an infrastructure company. And wonder if you have anyone on the books who may be interested in a move to Australia. I need Civil Engineers,Senior Design Engineers Permanent Way,Senior Railways Systems Engineering Manager ,CAD Designer/Drafter,Project Manager ,Signaling Design Engineers ...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Recession -The place for third party recruiters?

This post is dedicated to over a dozen wellwishers who have been reaching out to me -in the past fortnight. There has been a lot of horror stories in the media -some about the the shrinking job market , some about employers calling all the shots , and so, the question was " if this is the scenario with the companies, then how will agencies survive?"

Well, while I have blogged about it earlier, in the last few weeks, here , and here, this is what I say:
1.Hiring large numbers of people (lateral positions) is out of question for some time now.
2.However-there is a limit to the cost cutting measures they can do. So companies are hiring business development and sales persons.There wd also be need for analysts who can integrate -companies after a merger!
3.As far as recruitment consultancies..that purely depend on jobsites..are concerned, they will go out of business.Since the recruiters from the corporate side..will now have a lot of time-and have to keep costs low, they can do all the recruitment they want..inhouse.

Infact, in our case, where we have been essentially a niche player-handling 'returning Indians' -and that too, across sectors, the risks are adequately hedged!!

On the contrary, there are have quite a few 'first time' clients-who have reached out to us-exploring if we can assist them for tapping some of the top notch Indian professionals in the US/UK -who may be open to relocation -not just within the US -but also to other Asia Pac regions- apart from ofcourse, returning to India. ( Some of the 'not so confidential' openings that we are presently working on -are posted here, apart from some non IT -and even IT jobs!)

And yes, there is an increasing action in the collaboration space- with both recruiters abroad, and within India, reaching out to explore if we can synergise and flank one another-to provide better services to clients and candidates!
One can see- there is enough space for those who can add value-anytime!!
I recall reading an article a few years ago by Paul Hawkinson -on why Recruiters are Worth what they charge . I guess the first sentence sums it up all...“When I need a heart by-pass, rest assured that I won’t select my surgeon on the basis of what he charges.”
Are corporate executives tightfisted when dealing with what is so commonly thought of as the “heartbeat” of their companies . . . top-talent? "
Point to mull over??

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Global Economic Crisis - What's Happening with Jobs?

During the past couple of weeks, one has been constantly barraged with all the bad news that a financial upheaval can bring. Comparisons have been drawn with the great Depression, and the dot com bust.

As a recruiter - I can feel a definite slow down-but am not yet sure what the inertia is due to. One could perhaps 'optimistically' blame the holiday mood- the Dussera did ensure that if the client was willing to conduct interviews, the candidates were already committed to travel. And if both the hiring manager and the prospect were keen, the HR person was away ;-)!

A lot of it also could be attributed to the "uncertainty" due to the sudden crash in the stock markets too. There was a lot of excuses to get distracted from work.. and so there does not seem any tearing hurry in closing positions!

Some of it could be debitted to "organisational restructuring" exercises likely to be impacted! Already some major IT biggies have revised downward their guidances for hiring.

I know for sure, a couple of global IT companies -have decided to make some drastic changes to the "strategy"! One has decided to centralise its Business Development activities -and run them from India. So, henceforth, while all geographical markets would be serviced by local executives, the business development strategy will be controlled from the corporate office-with the person looking after all the different service offerings within a specific market.

Another company has decided to offshore the 'marketing' department to India-atleast the cell related to product management -and other market collaterals-

Well-I must admit though -most of us were stumped by one particular company " 'hired, fired and hired again ". It is all happening, right?

Meanwhile, here is a sample of some of the openings that keep us busy@ Options :
Associate Director-Financial Services MNC
VP Sales in SCM domain for Asia Pac
HR Manager Hitech MNC
Senior Technical Manager-Online Gaming
Senior software engineers in Java
Miscellaneous roles in Training, Real Estate & Hotel sectors
And yes, all those positions in the power and infrastructure industry are ON!
Have a great weekend.

Monday, October 13, 2008

8 years later!!

Over the weekend, my brother sent me this interesting link -Google, in honour of their 10th anniversary, has brought back its oldest available index- as of Jan 2001.

It was an amazing experience -getting back just about 8 years into history. It seemed like -today we are in a different age! Well, I cannot fathom how our lives were without an ipod, youtube, or even the social networking sites :-)!

Just look at the Bombay Stock Exchange Index on Jan 19 2001- it ' Sensex raced past 4100' !!And today almost two and half times higher, we are figuring out 'what the world has come to:!!

Flashback to my own business. A google search on my name did give two cached responses. Yes, those related to a single transaction made in Oct 2000. During the pre -2000 days, I used to moderate the jobs forum of a NRI site www.return2india.com -which was later bought out over by Sify!!

Those days -it was a small bunch of IT professionals -mostly in the US -who wanted to return for personal reasons- parents getting old, children's education. Today, the flight is more driven by professional reasons -to be part of the "India growth story', to leverage on one's "international" expertise.

Am I glad it is a global world? There is lot more global migration of people. Professionals from across other industies -Pharma, Biotech, Infrastructure, Retail, Financial services-are all looking towards India. So are more MNCs investing in hitech/ telecom industries-looking at the huge Indian middle class...

Maybe it is a good idea for all of us, to stop watching the TV, and reading all those media reports of the 'gloom and doom" pervading all around us now..and google away for a while ?

Indeed, Life's a lot better :-)!