The Weekend Leader - After job cuts, hiring freeze set to kill a million dreams in India

After job cuts, hiring freeze set to kill a million dreams in India

New Delhi


COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing have not only triggered job losses across industries in India but are also resulting in scarcity of fresh jobs as companies have turned off the hiring tap, which is a double whammy for those who are affected by the coronavirus tsunami.

Besides the aviation, travel and hospitality industries which are the worst affected, other key industries that showed a decline in hiring activity in March in India versus last year same time were retail (50 per cent), auto/ auto ancillary (38 per cent), pharma (26 per cent), insurance (11 per cent), accounting/finance (10 per cent), IT-software (9 per cent) and BFSI (9 per cent), according to the aNaukri JobSpeak Index for March 2020.'

Overall, hiring activity in India registered a decline of 18 per cent (year-over-year) last month.

New jobs for professionals in the hotel/restaurants, ticketing/travel/airlines and marketing/advertising/MR/PR sectors witnessed a dip of 51 per cent, 48 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively.

Hiring across experience levels has been impacted.

The senior management roles (13-16 years of experience) declined by 29 per cent, leadership roles (16+ years of experience) declined by 29 per cent and middle management roles (8-12 years of experience) declined by 20 per cent.

The horror tales have just begun.

A report by Microsoft-owned LinkedIn said on Monday that 25 per cent of the Indian workforce has reported a decrease in their incomes, while 39 per cent reported a dip in personal savings due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

Those surveyed feel confident about long-term outlook but are troubled with overarching concerns in the short-term regarding availability of jobs, company's financial situation, and the impact of these factors on their incomes and personal savings.

Leading job portal Indeed is keeping a tab on the current hiring situation in India.

"It's too early to say, but as a leading labour market researcher, this is something that we will be looking at moving forward. One of the bigger conversions that is happening as a result of this situation is focused around the future of how we work," Sashi Kumar, Managing Director, Indeed India, told IANS.

Social distancing has created a new opportunity to see how workforces can have more work from home flexibility or could even allow for more remote work options in the future especially if employers see benefits.

"Our data shows that searches for remote work have increased by over 261 per cent as a share of all searches on Indeed India since February 2020, indicating jobseeker expectation mirrors these measures,a informed Kumar.

Overall, job searches have increased by 278 per cent as a share of all searches on Indeed India since September 2019, said the company.

A snap poll conducted by apex industry chamber Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) involving 200 chief executives across industries found 52 per cent of them are foreseeing job losses in their respective sectors.

A significant proportion of the firms (47 per cent) expected less than 15 per cent job losses but 32 per cent firms expect to shed about 15-30 per cent jobs once the lockdown ends. The thing to remember here is that the CII snap survey was done during the first 21-day lockdown period, which has now resulted in a 41-day long, stay at home for workers across the spectrum.

According to Pawan Goyal, Chief Business Officer,, the negative sentiment on hiring was visible in the JobSpeak index starting January, mirroring the economic trends.

"The hiring activity for the first 20 days of March saw only a 5 per cent decline. However, due to the nationwide lockdown, there was a substantial drop in recruitment activity in the last 10 days which resulted in an overall drop of 18 per cent in hiring," said Goyal.

One can only imagine that with the entire month of April, and almost the first week of May, going into lockdown period, fresh hiring will only see a further downward trend, leading to greater worries for millions of job seekers. IANS