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The cheer spreads

The cheer spreads

Hiring gains momentum across sectors; infrastructure is the surprising exception.

The last quarter has been gruelling for Ashutosh Sinha, Director of Recruitment for Customer Management Operations at business process outsourcing firm Convergys India. After an easy and quiet 2009, Sinha is aggressively scouting for talent this year. By June 2010, he plans to add over 1,000 employees to the 9,000-strong workforce in India. "We are hiring volumes. The majority of our hiring is at the entry—from campuses—and junior executive levels," he says.

Not stopping at that, he is also readying for an imminent war for talent. As the job market revs up, attrition and employee morale are his prime concerns. To grab eyeballs of his young and restless workforce, both current and potential, Sinha is also harnessing social media in a big way.

The company went live on Twitter recently and has an official Facebook page. "The objective is to get on to social media and tell our employees as also potential employees about our work culture and practices," he says. The BT-TeamLease Employment Outlook Survey for the April-June 2010 quarter mirrors Sinha's sentiments. Hiring, actual and intent, is back with a bang in several sectors.

The Employment Index, which depicts the difference between the percentage of respondents reporting an increase in hiring and those expecting a decline, has risen 11 points from the previous quarter to reach 58 index points. Hiring sentiment is buoyant for six out of eight sectors (manufacturing and engineering, financial services, information technology, information technologyenabled services, retail and fastmoving consumer goods, and healthcare and pharma) covered under the survey and in all the eight cities (Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Ahmedabad) where the survey was carried out.

IT’s Buoyant
 Jan-Mar 2010 April-June 2010
Financial Services4553
FMCG & Retail3861
Manufacturing & Engineering3853
Healthcare/ Pharma5572
— Figures are percentage of companies that intend to hire

Says Rajesh A.R., Vice President, TeamLease Services: "The improvement in sentiment has been studied and gradual over the past four quarters, giving us sufficient reason to believe that it is here to stay. Although concerns over global economy persist, as far as the employment scenario in India is concerned, the cheer has spread and the good times are back."

Where the Jobs Are
For most part, Indian industry seems to have turned the corner and intends to hire aggressively. Says Rajeev Dubey, President (HR, After-Market & Corporate Services), and Member of the Group Management Board, Mahindra & Mahindra: "Things have been improving in the last six months. Though growth will differ depending on sectors, we see a surge in business as well as recruitment on most fronts." The conglomerate has 105,000 employees and plans to add roughly 10,000 in 2010-11. New business verticals, including twowheelers and after-market (used cars) business, will account for substantial numbers, says Dubey.

Facebook is all set to begin its operations in India at Hyderabad and is currently hiring. While Don Faul, Director (Global Operations), Facebook, did not give a concrete number on how many employees the social networking site will hire, he did state that it will be a slow and steady start in 2010. "We will have limited hires now, but we will ramp up aggressively in 2011." Facebook will not be doing any product development or engineering work out of India. In fact, most of the people it will hire will be in the support function, "supporting our users, advertisers and developers".

Faul said that Facebook's main marketing operations in India will also continue to be driven out of its headquarters in Palo Alto, California. "The type of people we are looking for should have strong English language skills and a high level of interest and understanding of Facebook and the Internet."

According to the jobs survey, healthcare, along with pharma, with 72 points, has the highest index points followed by IT with 69 points. Financial services sector has bounced back with an increase of eight index points after an anxious January-March 2010 quarter. At Tata Capital, recruitments will happen primarily at the entry level and for customer-facing roles. Says Amar Sinhji, Head (Human Resources), Tata Capital: "The company will continue to recruit young talent through its entry-level campus programmes as well as look at lateral hiring. Additionally, we will recruit customer relationship executives in fairly large numbers to help us enhance the overall customer experience."

Telecom has registered a blip with a dip of two index points, but that shouldn't be a cause for concern. Says Sunil Goel, Director, GlobalHunt India, an executive search firm: "The new licences for telecom and broadband services are being issued, upgraded technology (3G) will also be implemented, so there will be huge demand for professionals in this sector." 3G refers to third-generation mobile phone services that enable high-speed data services.

FMCG and retail are poised to register a robust growth with an impressive hike of 33 index points. Goel is surprised that retail, which created a large number of jobs in 2006 and 2007, has taken so long to spring back. "Though consumer demand has stabilised, still not many players have expansion plans for now, neither is there any talk of manpower requisitions," he says.

Lateral Hiring is Back
 Jan-Mar 2010 April-June 2010 Net increase/decrease
Not Hiring2620-06
Figures are percentage of companies that intend to hire

A dip of 33 index points for the infrastructure sector finds few takers. Says Ravi Bhatia, MD, Gilbert Tweed Associates India, a search firm: "Infrastructure in India has also seen tremendous boost in the power and construction domain and we are involved in a lot of senior-level hiring in this space. Long overdue projects, which are now getting government clearances and approvals, are coming in this purview and are, therefore, requiring talent with sound technical expertise." Agrees GlobalHunt's Goel: "Consistent job opportunities are being created within this industry, including expat hiring for airports and huge power projects development."

Professionals will be in demand for functions like sales and marketing, business operations, IT, finance and accounts, commercials and supply chain, research and development, according to HR heads and recruiters. "These functions are being hired because of high demand across several industries," says Goel. Marketing and production functions lead in hiring with 46 and 32 index points, respectively, in the survey. IT is coveted not just as a sector, but also as a function. Says Rajesh Varma, VP (Healthcare, HR), Max Healthcare: "Across the healthcare sector, IT plays an important role as the sector does not have expertise to run IT. In fact, I foresee problems in attracting talent in support functions like IT."

Tech biggie Microsoft is hiring across all levels in R&D, consulting, technical support, and sales and marketing. "We will also continue to look for top talent in corporate functions," says Joji Gill, Director (HR), Microsoft India. In the past three months, Samsung India has hired close to 100 executives in sales, product management and marketing communication functions. "We plan to recruit another 100 sales and marketing manpower this year," says Sanjay Bali, VP (Corporate HR), Samsung India.

Opportunities are being created at both lateral as well as junior levels (see Lateral Hiring is Back). Lateral hirings are stronger as most companies did not hire—and some even downsized— at this level in the last one year or so. Samsung has recently added a number of senior executives to its management team. Says Microsoft's Gill: "A majority of our annual hire targets will come from the experienced pool of senior industry talent."

Additional reporting by Kushan Mitra

Published on: Apr 14, 2010, 4:33 PM IST
Posted by: AtMigration, Apr 14, 2010, 4:33 PM IST