Ready, Set, Hire!

Himani Chandna Gurtoo

New Delhi, Feb. 9 -- Factories are producing less, exports are shrinking and prices continue to rise sharply. India is in the middle of a crippling industrial slowdown. Companies, hit by high borrowing and input costs are not expanding and hiring less. So, there will be fewer jobs this year. Right? Not really. Despite deceleration in the broader economy, India is set to create more than a million jobs across various industry segments. This will likely bring cheer to armies of job seekers - from trainees to CEOs - planning career moves in a year when the economy appears on track to record the worst growth in a decade. Job hunting this year, experts say, will be more about having the right skill sets and opting for the right industry. Though recruiters across sectors are adopting a cautious stance amid the global economic crunch and rising inflation rates, green shoots of recovery are sprouting in some sectors of the economy. A latest survey conducted by suggests a minor improvement in hiring sentiment compared to July 2012 but is still lower than what it was in the beginning of 2012. According to job portal, 2013 will be significantly better than the last two years. "The year may see at least a 15-20% jump in both fresh and replacement hiring," says Amit Garg, business head, Internet Business, HT Media which owns This may kick the job market after almost two consecutive years that saw a hiring freeze with selective hiring at best. Recruiters across key sectors such as FMCG, retail, healthcare, consumer electronics, banking and pharmaceuticals are actively drafting plans to increase headcounts at all levels. "The Indian economy seems to be on a recovery path with policy changes, mega project clearances, regulations and reform implementation. This would definitely mean that job generation will bring some cheer this year," says Kamal Karanth, managing director, Kelly Services India. For instance: the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail has spurred action in the placement market. Recruitment firms are busy estimating the workforce required and though availability does not seem to be an issue, absence of skills needed to match global standards is likely to be a cause for concern. According to the Indian Staffing Federation (ISF), the flexi-staffing industry body, placement firms are under pressure to find affordable staff with the right skills. "Global retail giants have expressed their demand to local headhunters and liaison houses but the mandatory requirement is skilled labour even for lower positions," says Rituparna Chakraborty, vice-president, ISF. Small towns are where the game is being played Geographically, hiring trends indicate better job opportunities for candidates at locations beyond metros. In fact, in the last few months, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai saw a hiring ebb, while "unglamorous" hubs such as Ernakulam, Kochi and Baroda saw relatively healthy hiring. Many companies including FMCG biggies Dabur, HUL and Godrej are seeing category share from rural markets growing. "In an attempt to penetrate further in hinterlands, non-metro hiring is at a peak," says Sangeeta Lala, TeamLease services. "It brings cheaper staff and unexplored market altogether." Multi-skilled candidates are in demand as employers begin to stow the tinsel and focus on new projects. Companies will prefer candidates who are ready to exchange roles and locations with no hiccups for graveyard shifts, shorter deadlines and pay packages. Jobs via social media The job market may see 'referral' systems put in place by IT firms working for both companies and employees across sectors. The last few years have seen higher rewards like ipads, motorcycles or cash bonuses to employees who helped in finding candidates for critical positions that are not easy to fill. "Many companies are expected to follow the trend to save cost, time and avoid fraud," says Aditya Narayan Mishra, president, Randstad India. Moreover, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts can fetch decent jobs. According to the latest job seeker survey by, 60% of India's online job seekers are only on Facebook and not on other sites. Portal has launched a fancy software tool called MyParichay Social Bar to help hiring from Facebook. These days, critical, niche and senior post vacancies are also rolled out via social media. For Instance: RPG Group, one of the largest industrial conglomerates was looking for a vice president to control industrial relations. Their human resources team updated the vacancy on LinkedIn and received 70 resumes and numerous references in just three days. Headhunter's Verdict- However, recruiters' advice is to stay put for the first three months of 2013. "We will wait and watch for the first three months and if the economy stays well, we will float vacancies," says S Varadarajan, executive president, HR, Tata Teleservices. And if you are looking for a shift, get ready to make compromises. Job-seekers should be mentally and financially ready to be in the job market for as long as six months. And once you get a job, it's better to be on your toes from day one. "Earlier, we used to give six months to candidates to come and acclimatise. But now, one should become a net contributor within 90 days of joining," says Amit Das, senior vice president, RPG Enterprises. The year may also witness frequent 'firing'. Depending on the macro economic environment, companies are becoming less sensitive towards non- performing assets, including employees. "The bottom 5% of the performance curve may face firing or deduction in salaries, depending on the company's financial strength," Das adds. Cheerful Salary Hikes too? While it is clear that the year ahead will make us work more, candidates are suggested to control their curiosity over appraisals or hikes offered while switching jobs. "As far as salaries and increments are concerned India is expected to witness a projected best case 10% increase in salary hikes on top of an actual 11.2% hike in 2012. Salary increases in growth markets such as India, China and Brazil remain strong in 2013," a study by Kelly Services says. Moreover, do not indulge in exaggerating resumes to grab heavy packages. Recruiters are increasingly deploying 'resume fraud detective' teams to check backgrounds and scrutinise details. "We verify the candidate's credentials and are also working with Nasscom to stop hiring people who fake their resumes. In the last few years, resume exaggeration has caused severe trouble and raised questions about the hiring process of BPOs but now the process is stringent and grilling," says Nitin Bhatt, global hiring leader at Genpact LLC.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.