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Hiring crawls as slowdown bites

This may not be the best time to look for a job in India, with most companies putting their hiring plans on hold due to a deceleration in the broader economy, two separate surveys have revealed. Himani Chandna Gurtoo writes.

business Updated: Sep 19, 2013 02:40 IST
Himani Chandna Gurtoo

This may not be the best time to look for a job in India, with most companies putting their hiring plans on hold due to a deceleration in the broader economy, two separate surveys have revealed.

According to a study by Naukri.com, hiring activity dipped 9% across all sectors in August against a 6% fall in July— the maximum monthly fall so far in 2013 — indicating a tough time ahead for job seekers.

Another survey by US-based Manpower Group said employers in India reported the weakest hiring outlook in eight years in the Asia-Pacific region in July-September 2013.

Industry body FICCI’s business confidence survey for January-March 2012-13 also reported bleak employment prospects vis-a-vis a year-ago.

What’s more, headhunters think the situation is worse than 2008 – when India slid into a crisis after the US economy fell into one.

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“Indian companies were relatively unaffected that time as it was a global phenomenon,” said Aditya Narayan Mishra, president at staffing firm Randstad India. “However, today, we are struggling with our own local economic issues.”

Companies, hit by high borrowing and input costs have put expansion plans on hold and are hiring less. Hence, there are fewer jobs around. And if things do not improve soon, mass hiring may become extinct, said experts. “Unless the growth trajectory is reversed, we will see more of replacement hiring,” said Sanjay Modi, managing director, Monster.com. “We expect companies to put their hiring plans on hold and also a drop in mass hiring. The focus is likely to shift to either replacement or specialised hiring.”

Though there are no net job additions happening, there are openings for niche skills in sales, marketing, analytics and social media, which are riding a new technology wave on the back of a recovery in the US.

Recruitment firms, however, expect no turnaround before the forthcoming general elections in 2014.