The Indian job market is improving slowly and steadily over the past few months after declining by over 60% in April’20 and May’20 Y-O-Y, owing to the pandemic. Even though the market witnessed a steady M-OM recovery, the effect of the pandemic is still evident in Y-O-Y growth. As organizations are re-aligning to the new normal, they are anticipating an upsurge in the demand for the right talent to tackle challenges that the post-pandemic world would bring.
One-fifth of recruiters foresee hiring bouncing back to pre-COVID levels within the next three months, as per the Naukri Hiring Outlook survey done in Sept’20. Another 26% predict 3-6 months while 34% said that it would take their organizations 6 months to 1 year.
Some notable trends that will become key in the Indian job market in the coming year include:
1. Hybrid Working Model will be the future
One of the most interesting behavioral shifts that the Indian workforce has seen as a green shoot to the pandemic is the remote working culture. Led by the COVID-19 pandemic, hiring for remote jobs has increased by 3X as compared to pre-COVID levels this year. Sectors such as BPO/ITES, IT, Education/Teaching and Internet/Ecommerce are major contributors to WFH jobs posted on Naukri.com.
Greater acceptance of remote working will pave way for a hybrid-working model in the coming future. Interestingly, as per a recent Naukri survey done with over 4000 jobseekers, majority of jobseekers (59%) prefer a hybrid model of working. A significant 76% employees confirmed that WFH is equally or more productive than office. The jobseekers’ insight mirrors the recruiters’ perspective as well. Around 69% of recruiters out of the 1000 surveyed also feel that WFH is equally or more productive. With companies taking measures to ease their employees into the whole WFH culture, this trend is clearly here to stay.
2. Upskilling to stay relevant for career progression
Upskilling will be the key to be employable in the coming year as well. As per the recent Naukri jobseeker survey amongst 50,000 jobseekers, more than 50% jobseekers are focusing on self-development through up-skilling, brushing their domain knowledge and well as taking professional help in building their resumes. Courses such as Data Analytics, Digital Marketing and Finance Management remain the top picks for up-skilling. Even soft skills have become integral as working conditions have changed, and there is a preference for those who can collaborate remotely, communicate effectively and manage their time well without the confines of an office setup.
3. Remote Hiring will be the new norm
Since most companies will be hiring virtually in the coming year, jobseekers should focus on preparing for online assessment & virtual interviews to ace the opportunity that comes their way. Top HR Experts recommend getting comfortable with the webcam as campus hiring too has taken a remote approach, and candidates are being judged on how well they adapt to situations out of their comfort zone.
4. Sectors that will drive hiring in 2021
Technology has been the game-changer during the lockdown period with corporates showing a huge appetite for digitization. Clearly, the IT sector has been the least impacted sector when it comes to hiring this year. With more companies taking on the route of digital transformation during the pandemic, IT becomes central to a lot of processes, further pushing the recovery of the sector. The numbers prove this as hiring in the IT sector grew by 10% in November’20 over October’20 as per Naukri JobSpeak. This sector could see continued growth in the coming months as well.
The BPO/ITES sector started the year with positive Y-O-Y growth, up by 18% in January’20 but saw a decline in hiring as the pandemic hit the country. Interestingly, early signs of recovery were seen from June’20 onwards as lockdown restrictions were lifted in a phased manner. With more WFH support for employees and greater digitization efforts across companies, the sector will continue to see an uptick in hiring and remain one of the least impacted sectors in terms of hiring.
One of the key sectors driving hiring in India this year has been the Medical/Healthcare sector, which was at the forefront of fighting the pandemic. As the demand to hire the right talent increased owing to the pandemic, the Medical sector was the first to bounce back in hiring in May’20 itself as compared to April’20. The sector has shown strong sequential hiring trends thereafter and will hopefully continue to post more jobs in the coming year as well.
5. Sectors that will make a comeback in hiring
The two sectors that took a major hit during the pandemic due to lockdown restrictions and social distancing norms were the Hospitality/ Travel and Retail sectors. Hospitality was down by 91% in April’20 and Retail experienced 77% decline in hiring Y-O-Y. With 5-star Hotels starting home deliveries, and retail outlets developing online trial rooms, both industries found novel methods to integrate technology to deliver their offerings to customers and we saw it reflect in a slow but steady sequential recovery across the year, which will continue in the coming year as well.
Education/Teaching was one of the sectors that saw a sharp decline in hiring in the early days of the lockdown but showed quick signs recovery as the pandemic pushed academicians and teachers to plunge into the online mode of teaching. This adoption of technology-driven teaching is set to transform the traditional Education/Teaching industry in India in the coming year as well. The movement towards online learning has expedited the need for teaching tools to adapt its delivery of study material for students. This has boosted recruiter demand for a very specific skill called ‘Instructional Design’ that combines education with technology and communication.
6. Freelancing and Part-time roles will gain popularity
In this tough job market, the jobseekers should be open to freelancing and part-time jobs to gain some experience in their respective domains. Instead of only focusing on full-time roles, picking up work on a project basis to strengthen the resume will be key and will become a tool to network with prospective clients too.
As organizations pace up their growth plans in the coming year, requirements for those who can help in digital transformation and develop innovative methods to deliver products and services to customers will see a rise. With companies becoming leaner, there will be an expectation to work cross-functionally and go beyond the scope of the job description. It would be interesting to see the evolution of both hiring as well as working in the coming year.