After securing their people and tackling business continuity issues, firms are on now a wait and watch mode.

Businesses across the world have come to a halt. Sectors that are hit the hardest are aviation, hospitality, tourism, events and construction. The next in line are consumer and retail, freight and logistics sectors. News of CEO pay cuts and deferment of bonus is becoming common by the day. As companies struggle to do business amidst the lockdown to curb the spread of coronaviru pandemic, hiring has come to a standstill.

After securing their people and tackling business continuity issues, firms are on now a wait and watch mode. “As the business outlook is uncertain, many firms will try to defer non-critical new hires,” says Sonal Agrawal, Managing Partner of executive search firm Accord India.

Data from staffing firm CIEL HR Services shows that hiring is down by 50 per cent across six major sectors. “Given factories are shut and sales are down, several of our clients have zero activity in hiring. There are hardly any firms that are hiring for replacement positions also,” says its CEO Aditya Mishra.

“Volume hiring at junior levels will be worse hit because of the shrinkage of business volumes. Another challenge is the difficulty in onboarding people remotely,” says Agrawal of Accord.

For senior levels though, she adds, they have seen some e-joinings already. At these levels, Accord has not seen any cancellations, since these are typically mission critical roles that companies have planned for. Most searches are progressing, but with delays.

Despite the lockdown, Mishra says, two kinds of hiring are still happening. One is in IT services and product companies that are hiring for critical roles (think of firms in IT services, ed-tech, fin-tech, consumer internet firms, SaaS businesses). Even sectors like online gaming, ed-tech, grocery will see demand in the time to come as they are seeing a surge.

Another is the hiring of contract workers. “While hiring of temporary workers and contract staff is down by 25-30 per cent, it is still happening. Roughly, we hire 500 of these people every week, now it has come down to 300,” says Mishra. These are most for the job roles of customer service, delivery partners, dealer support, business analysts, and administrative resources.

Whether hiring picks up in the next few weeks will depend largely on the business outlook and how long the lockdown will continue. Till then, everyone will wait for things to return to normal.


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