News & Analysis

India’s Job Market Lurks Towards Stability

A new survey indicates that the pace of hiring may go up in the next quarter though the overall outlook is one of stability in the near term

India’s job market appears to be headed for a slide in the April-June quarter, mirroring global sentiments but the rate at which hiring has declined could well reduce, leading to a more stable outlook for the rest of the year. Indications to this effect came out from the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook survey. 

The survey, which had more than 3,000 respondents, revealed that about 45% of employers were planning to hire more people in the first quarter of fiscal year 2024 while 15% were expecting a decline in intent with no plans to backfill vacancies. While 37% said that they would retain the workforce levels another 3% remained unclear about their hiring plans for now. 

There’s a decline by the pace has slowed

According to a report published in the ET, the net employment outlook based on the above numbers stood at about 30%, which is about two percentage points lower than the levels recorded in the January-March quarter and eight points lower compared to a year ago. Net employment outlook was lower by 22 percentage points compared to October-December. 

Industries that reported positive outlooks include IT (38%), finance and real estate (37%), and industrials and materials (31%). The survey however reiterated that a talent shortage existed in the industry with as many as 80% of the employers saying they found it tough to get the right resources. However, this number was lower than last year, says the report. 

India’s robust economy should pull it through

The report in ET quoted Sandeep Gulati, MD of India and Middle East at ManpowerGroup to suggest that the skill gap was a concern despite global economic pressures causing layoffs. However, India’s stable growth rates and quality demographics supported by the government’s investment push in infrastructure are all impacting the employment outlook positively.  

The official, however, maintained that there were real risks in terms of finding the resources with adequate soft skills mapped to their technical knowhow that companies are looking for, which means the focus should shift to preparing a workforce capable of handing tomorrow’s job through a mix of upskilling and reskilling. 

IT companies faced the biggest challenge

The report said companies in the IT industry reported the biggest challenge in finding the right talent with 81% of those surveyed pointing to this fact. Consumer goods and services also saw a similar problem with healthcare, financial services and energy sectors also reporting very high percentages of probability in not finding qualified candidates. 

From a skills perspective, the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook report says information technology and data analytics had the highest demand followed by sales and marketing, and engineering. From a soft skills perspective, employers sought creativity, critical thinking and analysis, leadership and social influence and problem solving as the key requisites. 

Based on the answers from the respondents, another aspect that came to light was that hiring intent was strongest in the western parts of India followed by north, south and east. While the prospects weakened during the quarter in north, south and east at a quarterly level, when seen on a year-on-year basis, all four regions reported declines. 

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