HR consultants anticipate a very sharp drop in hiring, of as much as 50%, in the April-June quarter as companies struggle to get back on their feet after the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. To be sure, these are rough estimates given the visibility on how soon India Inc will be back in business is very poor.
"Nobody has made a new offer in the last two weeks, which tells me there will be a 50% reduction in hiring in the next quarter," Kamal Karanth, co-founder of Xpheno, told FE.
Indeed, the bad news is that even those with appointment letters will not be reporting for work on the day they had hoped to. "There is no choice but to postpone joining dates," Karanth explained.
The more pressing tasks, once normalcy is restored, would be to re-boot operations, reaching out to customers and re-assuring them. Re-focusing on recruiting fresh blood-other than those already appointed-could take at least a month or so beyond that, consultants reckon.
Sectors like pharma, the IT and ITeS space, EdTech and gaming are expected to see a bigger demand for talent in the months after companies resume operations, according to Siddhartha Gupta, chief executive officer of Mercer Mettl. Specialists in the field of digital solutions will find attractive offers coming their way. To that extent, white collar jobs would probably be the least impacted, Gupta believes, thanks to telecommuting tools and virtual platforms that have enabled work from home or working remotely.
Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder, TeamLease, pointed out that companies typically draw up annual budgets between end-February and early March. With the lockdown having disrupted all schedules, the timelines would change. "It is a long exercise that goes on for months,"Chakraborty said.
Understandably, small or new start-ups and MSMEs have taken a huge hit and employees in these businesses are the most vulnerable to being laid off. Some units may be able to carry on, but many others may need to fold up-experts reckon the second category will be larger.