The much-awaited 5G services roll-out is expected to spur telecom contractual staffing over the next two years and will emerge as a key driver for hiring activities in the sector, according to a senior official at TeamLease.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) already set the ball in motion for 5G trials earlier this month, when it approved applications of telecom companies including Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea for conducting the trials.
According to Deval Singh, Business Head- Telecom, IT and ITES, Media and Government, TeamLease Services, the outlook for contractual hiring in the sector remains positive, notwithstanding some ambiguities on account of the second severe wave of COVID-19.
"Telecom vertical is one of the biggest markets for staffing industry...this was one of the verticals which grew even during the COVID times, and I believe that trend will continue in 2021," Singh told PTI.
The 5G roll-out in future will offer a boost to the economy and to the labour market, Singh said.
"The second wave is a little ambiguous, so no one knows how the growth will be shaped. Having said that, there will be a clear impact for the next two years in telecom industry in a positive way with launch of 5G services, when it comes to economy and when it comes to labour market," Singh noted.
As per TeamLease, the talent requirement by the industry is expected to see 18 per cent growth this year, with profiles ranging from technicians to installation engineers, and from civil engineers to project managers, in demand.
The growth would have been more pronounced but for the second wave of pandemic. The industry is, however, optimistic that once the overall situation improves, 5G would galvanise job opportunities in the sector.
The demand for contractual staff in the telecom sector surged in 2020 despite the backdrop of lockdown and movement curbs, as remote working and social distancing norms drove data usage to new highs, pushing players to invest in network capacities. Telecom services have been categorised as 'essential services' amid lockdown.
"We hired over 50 per cent more in 2020, than in 2019," Singh said but did not comment on absolute numbers. TeamLease Services is a human resource company offering a solutions to over 3,500 employers for their hiring, productivity and scale challenges.
Singh said telecom companies have not put brakes on hiring, and with the government approving applications for 5G trials now, the hiring confidence is "even more".
It is pertinent to mention here that the list of telecom gear makers approved by DoT for trials include Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, C-DOT and Reliance Jio's indigenously developed technologies. The duration of the trials, at present, is for a period of six months, including a time period of two months for procurement and setting up of the equipment. The permission letters specify that each operator would have to conduct trials in rural and semi-urban settings in addition to urban settings so that the benefit of the 5G technology proliferates across the country.
A recent report by Ericsson has estimated that India can potentially have 40 million 5G users in the first year when the next-generation service is made available to them.
According to Ericsson ConsumerLab report, consumers have shown willingness to pay 50 per cent more for 5G plans bundled with digital services while they want to pay only 10 per cent more for just 5G connectivity.