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'Employers have lower tolerance levels now'

'Employers have lower tolerance levels now'

Kris Lakshmikanth, founder CEO & MD of The Head Hunters India, says that employees can expect more jobs in 2010 but the terms of employment are set to be strict.

The sectors that topped the list of lay-offs in 2009: Among the worst hit were software, retail, export-oriented industries like garments and diamonds, financial services, aviation, infrastructure and realty. By a rough estimate, the software industry shed about 50,000 white-collar jobs, retail companies fired about 1 lakh workers and real estate companies laid off 5,000 executives.

The odd sector which hired in good numbers: Telecom bucked the trend as several new licences were issued and all the new operators hired aggressively. Also, retail banks were on a hiring spree. For instance, Axis Bank recruited about 4,500 people, while Union Bank hired from top B-schools, including the IIMs.

The effect of job scarcity on salaries: The pay packages offered by organisations are definitely lower. The variable component is now a larger proportion of the salary. This is because companies have woken up to the need of closely linking pay to performance. For instance, in a salary of Rs 12 lakh, only Rs 9 lakh is fixed. The company can forfeit the Rs 4 lakh if it thinks the employee has not performed well.

The balance of power between employers and employees: Of course, it favours the employers. About two to three years ago, when the economy was in top drive, many employees had been promoted to levels higher than their competence deserved. The salary bills of companies tripled in just five years. So they are taking advantage of the downturn to make pay packets realistic. For employees, switching jobs is passé as stability is the most important factor.

The future for those who were retrenched: Within the laid-off community, there are a lot of sub-groups that have different work experiences. Those who have one or two years of professional experience will have no problems in getting a new job, but those above 45 years may find it difficult to do so.

The traits employees need to sur vive uncertainty and fear of lay-offs: Go that extra mile. No employer says it openly, but putting in more hours or doing more work is always appreciated. They want employees to deliver according to one level higher than their designation. It is a plus if employees learn a foreign language like Mandarin and update themselves on their sectors.