After a brief spurt a few months after the pandemic in September-October 2020, the second COVID wave has led to a temporary freeze on hiring. According to, Covid 2.0 has led to a 15 percent sequential decline in April 2021, but the current impact on the job market is less severe than in April 2020 where the Naukri JobSpeak index declined by 51 percent month-on-month, said Pawan Goyal, Chief Business Officer.

A year-ago when the pandemic struck, hiring was the last priority as Corporate India was trying to get familiar with the new reality. Yet, there were some sectors that did well during the pandemic like agriculture, retail and logistics. E-commerce was in demand pan-India due to the lockdown and travel restrictions. And these sectors continue to do well.

There is no need for despair regarding jobs, yet. There will be more job creations in various fields, say HR experts. Kamal Karanth, CEO, Xpheno, a specialist staffing firm, said in the next financial year, recovery and positive growth projections will see an attrition increase by 2 to 3 percent overall. On a projected based of 4.6 million workforce, a 22-23 percent attrition projection would mean a million job movements are definitely on the cards, he said.

Jobs are in demand in 2021

Retail: The sector was strongly hit by lockdown restrictions, but has been bouncing back with an uptick in hiring of 15 percent since September 2020 though it is still down by 50 percent at a Y-O-Y level. The positive growth can be seen from June 2020 onwards, with a slight dip in July 2020, according to Goyal of

Cloud-based Technologies: With work from home headed to a long-term solution, the jobs in demand will be in Cloud-based technologies. Kapil Sharma, Chief Sales Officer, Collabera Technologies-a global technology talent solutions provider, said Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, API, DevOps, augmented and virtual reality, IoTs, 5G and cloud computing will be the jobs to look forward to.

Analytics: It is descriptive today--which means if someone has done X amount of manufacturing, it can be explained. Predictive analysis is based on this description. And then if augmentation is done--skills, automation, etc, it becomes prescriptive and this kind of job will be in demand. Subramanyam S, founder, president and CEO of Ascent HR said, “More empowered in analytics means lesser employees will be needed in the process industry. Automation will improve jobs but along with analytics it will become expensive and will depend on budgets available.”

E-commerce and logistics: The opportunities will continue to boom as the COVID third wave is anticipated. As per an ET Now report, demand for delivery and supply chain personnel is likely to double to 2,00,000-3,00,000 per month over the next few months.

Healthcare and Pharma: It is more of a phase in the healthcare sector. There is a need for temporary jobs to manage the rush, said Karanth of Xpheno. However, pharma will thrive as people will depend on medicines and pharma companies to manage their new sedentary lifestyle due to COVID.

Life Sciences: Dependency on immunology, virology, genetic analysis will grow heavily and so will the specialists for these jobs.

Edutech: This sector had the biggest advantage and demand since 2020. Online education has seen disproportionate growth which has not yet been measured, said Shivakumar N, Co-Founder and MD, ResourceTree, a business consulting firm.

Agriculture: Innovations and how to get new variants for mass production will be the key.

Challenges ahead

Skills will be the key to get placements and this is getting more evolved as the job functions are getting specialised. There is a huge emphasis on innovative solutions and collaboration amongst the public, private sector, and employees.

"Even roles that used to require office presence are being transformed into remote roles with the invasion of technology in every vertical," said Prabhdeep Singh Founder and CEO, StanPlus, a provider of 24x7 emergency and medical transportation support ambulance network.

Though many jobs will get displaced due to a fundamental shift in attitudes and expectations, new jobs will be created. However, Manu Saigal, Director-General Staffing, The Adecco Group India, said that though most of these jobs will have to be filled, it will be done only with employees who possess the right skill sets.

Though hiring has improved drastically over the past few months, a near normalcy’ is expected only around October 2021. “One needs to be conservative and frugal in approach and invest in hiring based on critical business and growth needs,” added Shivakumar N of ResourceTree.


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