In March 2020, there was fear and confusion among employers and employees when the nation went into the lockdown. The fear was of what’s next and the confusion was of a better tomorrow.
According to the Talent Trends Report 2021, General hiring which started strong during the first two months, dropped to 40 per cent of the pre-Covid level and failed to recover until June, striking half of 2020 from the calendar.
“From June 2020 onwards, we saw a gradual improvement in hiring activity with an acceleration from August to October. Levels rebounded to about 80 per cent,” said Nicolas Dumoulin, Managing Director, Michael Page India.
Industries that saw a rise in hiring included healthcare and technology. EdTech and Pharmaceuticals registered hiring growth in double digits.
In an interaction with ETHRWorld, Nicolas Dumoulin talked about the findings of Talent Trends Reports – 2021, a survey conducted by Michael Page across 12 Asia Pacific markets, with over 5500 businesses and 21,000 employees, of which more than 3500 were directors or CXOs. He also shared the insights into what businesses and employees experienced in 2020, practical learnings and what is expected in 2021.
Anticipation for a new job
Advancement in a career is what people strive and work for. Promotion, raise, bonus are achievements which employees cherish. The pandemic disrupted the advancement of career for many. With the economy gradually recovering, the anticipation for a new job is being witnessed in the market.
It was found that 72 per cent of those employed anticipate themselves looking for new job opportunities and the top three reasons for which are – better remuneration and benefits package, lack of growth opportunities, and underutilisation of skills.
Dumoulin talked about how companies are considering hiring employees remotely available and offering them flexibility to work in the new hybrid working model.
He said, “With increased opportunities in the hybrid working model and uptick in recruitment with Startups, Technology, SaaS, HealthTech, EdTech and Gaming industries, employees will look for new job opportunities.”
Employers looking to increase their headcounts in 2021
The report shows that 53 per cent of the employers are looking to increase their headcounts in 2021. This indicates that the market is bouncing back with a hope of hiring to keep the positive growth of businesses.
Dumoulin said, “The new normal signals a hybrid work culture, as firms and industries across sectors work towards a healthy recovery with a renewed positive outlook.”
“As we see the economy moving towards recovery, companies will look at a strategy that will ensure retaining existing talent and hiring talent to bridge the skill gap, especially specialised talent in certain key growing areas in technology and healthcare,” he added.
Dumoulin further talked about a shift in the dynamic working culture where companies will adopt competitive remuneration and benefit packages to attract talents.
He mentioned that internet-based businesses such as ecommerce and edtech will continue to see an upward trend in terms of hiring. Traditional industries are still under a lot of pressure. Fintech firms focussing on (unsecured) lending came to a complete standstill because of moratorium and risk management. Manufacturing sector is still at low levels of hiring mainly due to the pressure to manage costs, because of the issues both on the demand as well as the supply sides.
Dumoulin said, “To improve talent retention, organisations must think beyond monetary benefits to provide an overall well-rounded experience for their employees.”
Talent retention in this fast-paced world is a vital element for an employer’s long-term success and a strong indicator of the overall culture, values and effectiveness in bringing people into an organisation.
According to Dumoulin, there is a feeling of underutilization among the employees at entry and junior levels while working from home, as they feel disconnected because of less or no engagement with their leaders.
Communicating frequently, providing opportunities for learning and professional development, implementing the feedback received, charting a clear path for career advancement, offering non-monetary benefits, and ensuring that culture, vision and values are embodied by leaders of the organisation are the strategies employers need to adopt to improve employee retention.
Future of work and upskilling of employees
While talking about the need for upskilling, Dumoulin said, “In the future, 9 out of 10 jobs will require digital skills. Lack of attention to upskilling will lead to an urgent disparity between employers and employees.
He said that employees today have started to adopt and learn new technologies and ways of working in the hybrid model to succeed in the new digitally enabled work environment.
“Automation revolution does not necessarily mean the loss of work. It presents an opportunity and a call to action. With increased and targeted upskilling, they can help in empowering low-skill employees and build a more inclusive future of work,” he added.
Promotions across different sectors
Sharing an internal data, Dumoulin said, “Hiring activities by Q3 2020 had resumed to about 85 per cent of the pre-Covid levels. Entry and mid-level roles which were the most affected, saw promising recovery signs, especially in technology and healthcare sectors.”
Talking about the report of 1 in 3 companies anticipating to postpone employee promotions in the current year, he said, “Promotions will remain affected at all levels. However, companies believe that things would change for the better from Q2 2021 onwards. Technology and analytics roles will continue to be high in demand.”
Hiring and salary hike of blue-collared workers
It was also found that 60 per cent of the employers intend to give salary hikes and bonus payouts. The average salary hike expected in India in 2021 is 7.3 per cent.
Discussing it further, Dumoulin said, “HiTech, Information Technology, IT Enabled Services, Life Sciences, Ecommerce, EdTech are some of the sectors that will see better hikes. With real estate, construction and automobiles still under pressure, chances of salary increment for blue-collar workers in these sectors are low.”
When the markets reopened, showing positive signs of recovery, migrant workers slowly started returning back to metros in search of opportunities.
With the revival of consumer demand beyond non-essential items, a huge surge was observed in the hiring of blue-collared workers, especially in the last quarter of 2020 for mostly supply chain roles, such as delivery and warehouse staff.
The further opening of offices and public spaces will push the demand for work like housekeeping services and transportation. Employment in sectors like manufacturing and retail is also likely to grow.
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