As India’s economy tried regaining its footing earlier this year, the number of job opportunities seen by global recruitment specialists Michael Page rose 32 percent in Quarter1, 2021 as compared to Quarter 4, 2020, hinting towards economic revival in the country.
However, in the ongoing second wave of the pandemic, April and May 2021 is witnessing the economic activity in India dip owing to the localised lockdowns, but the impact on economy is unlikely to be as devastating as 2020. Compared to last year when there was a national lockdown and movement was completely restricted for 30 days; currently, business activities are operational with limitations to ensure safety and well-being of people. The ongoing second wave will only result in a "short-term setback", the medium-term growth outlook remains stable for the rest of the 2021.
The second wave will not impact the livelihood of salaried employees to a great extent, but it will affect the blue-collar jobs and the gig workers as thousands of migrant workers and daily wage labourers returned home when some states announced lockdowns in prominent cities. The sectors which will see the maximum impact in India are retail, hospitality, aviation as well as property and construction.
Speaking from recent observations, Nicolas Dumoulin, Managing Director, Michael Page India says, “This current situation in India has impacted many people and their families leading to disruption in their daily lives. Therefore, we have noted a drop in confidence levels among candidates to change jobs, this has impacted the hiring market adversely.”
The sector which will continue to lead hiring this quarter will be the IT and healthcare sectors. “The second COVID-19 wave comes at a time when India’s economy has made a resilient comeback. Firms and consumers have rapidly adjusted to the new normal,” said Dumoulin.
Currently, the IT sector is very buoyant and Bengaluru continues to be the hotspot in IT-related hiring. Talent is scarce as the ask is much more than the available pool of resources. More and more traditional companies are making the shift to digital processes and implementation leading to a surge in demand for IT support. India also has a very strong position as a shared services centre for IT companies globally and we will see this trend continuing for a long time.”
Likewise, the demand in India’s healthcare sector is increasing as the country continues its fight against the pandemic. Nupur Mehta, Associate Director of Michael Page India said, “Hiring activities in the healthcare sector are up by almost 35 percent and within diagnostics and MedTech specifically, there is a 10-15 percent increase.
"We have seen a lot of positive movement in India’s healthcare sector since last year. There is investment coming in from private equity and venture capital firms as well as pharmaceutical giants especially in the diagnostics segment," Mehta said.
To deal with the talent crunch, hiring managers in healthcare are looking at the talent coming from the FMCG sector right now for digital, technology and marketing positions. The demand of returning Indians from overseas has increased for skills that are currently not available in India; and contractual hires in support functions have also risen.
The second wave of the pandemic in India has created a surge in demand for technicians in the diagnostic labs for short-term contracts as well as nurses and paramedics. There is even more demand for medical specialists in home ICU Setups, essential deliveries for the quarantined and medical affairs. This has again opened plenty of new jobs in India’s healthcare sector, in skillsets different than what was traditionally needed in this field.