Business Today

Doors have not closed yet

Shamni Pande        Print Edition: September 18, 2011

Will they, won't they? The big question doing the rounds in the recruitment arena is whether companies will reduce hiring. "Job-seekers are going slow in some places as they fear a return of the 2009 slowdown. Company decisions to recruit are also taking too long," says E. Balaji, Managing Director and CEO of global human resource service provider Ma Foi Randstad.

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Most companies do not admit to any cutback in requirements. But few have forgotten the global economic downturn of 2008 which caught many economies and businesses unawares. "While it is too early to say if we will see another recession, governments and businesses have memories.

I believe they are in a better position to take quick and informed decisions this time," says Infosys CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan. Head of human resources, or HR, Nandita Gurjar claims Infosys's recruitment strategy is unaffected: "We are working towards hiring 45,000 people in 2011/12 and focusing on expanding our workforce in the US and other countries where we are present."

Even players in the visibly affected auto sector do not seem to be too worried. "We do not think the current rough phase will last long. In any case, we always take into account temporary blips," says S.Y. Siddiqui, Head of HR and Administration, Maruti Suzuki.

The big question doing the rounds in the recruitment arena is whether companies will reduce hiring.
The big question doing the rounds in the recruitment arena is whether companies will reduce hiring.
Rising inflation and fuel prices have dented the auto sector in India more than global recessionary trends. Still, Siddiqui claims Maruti hired 350 people from campuses this year, more than in the past three years. The organised sector in India created 704,800 jobs between January and June 2011, says the latest Ma Foi Randstad Employment Trends Survey. An additional 369,200 jobs are expected by September.

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"Short-term sentiments are driving the market. There is some panic, though the long-term outlook could be positive," says V. Suresh, Executive Vice President and Head of Sales at job portal

Indeed companies are reporting a complex interplay of trends: there is not much change in attrition rates, which means companies are recruiting. However, Sarada Jagan, Executive Director, HR, at The Sanmar Group, says: "Recruitment agencies are supplying us talent a little more quickly than in the past. This means they are a little less rushed in terms of demand."

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Some firms like Tech Mahindra report flagging attrition levels. "We see a minute shift in attrition. We are not cutting back, but have adopted a cautious approach," says HR head L.K. Bhatia. In the healthcare sector, the mood is circumspect. "We do not hesitate to fill up a vacancy, but we are being guarded," says Gopal Tadanki, Associate Vice President, HR, Aurobindo Pharma.

No one is planning lay-offs, but the signs of caution are everywhere. "None have told us they are cutting back but there is a lag in filling up on attritions," says Sangeetha Lala, Vice President, TeamLease, a top HR Services company.

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