As the economy is recovering, hiring activity is showing sharp signs of growth. The Indian job market has witnessed sequential growth for the second month in a row, with a 15 percent rise in June 2021, after a pandemic-linked decline in April and May ’21, reveals Naukri JobSpeak’s report.
Another survey reveals that about 84 percent of employers are actively hiring. What is interesting to note is that campus hires, viz. freshers are being preferred by many large and mid-size organisations. Among the organisations that plan to hire from campuses this year, 47 percent anticipate hiring for less than 50 positions while 12 percent put their forecasts between 51 and 100 positions, reveals CareerNet’s Hiring Outlook.
Hiring takes off after a pause
Hiring was paused and deferred during the first COVID wave but soon organisations have started to adapt to the new normal. The trend of hiring freshers is on the upswing due to the gaps created over the last 15 months, said Sujatha Kumaraswamy, Chief Executive Officer, MeritTrac, online assessment company. During this time, assessment companies have also augmented their capabilities to provide a seamless assessment experience online that is as close as possible to an offline one. This has helped build confidence in HR professionals as these assessments ensure the best-fit hire in the most scientific way possible, Kumaraswamy said.
What has also helped is the slew of assessment tools to measure a candidate’s cognitive, behavioural, domain, communication, and other critical skills. “HR leaders are increasingly convinced of the efficiency and are adopting these newer methods to find the right candidates for their teams. From what we’re witnessing and as per a survey we recently conducted, blended and digital modes of assessments are here to stay – both for their convenience and their effectiveness,” said Kumaraswamy.
In 2020, campus hiring was severely hit across 82 percent colleges in the country due to the pandemic. Firstnaukri.com, an end-to-end campus hiring platforms from the house of Naukri.com, conducted a survey with over 1,300 students across campuses in India which revealed that it impacted internship offers of 74 percent pre-final year students.
But come 2021, and the situation has changed. But why are campus freshers being increasingly preferred? Many of India’s blue-chip firms are actively hiring off campuses. According to reports, India's largest IT services firm TCS said it has plans to hire about 40,000 freshers from the campuses this year. Infosys too is expected to hire around 35,000 freshers.
Demand and attrition
The recent 8-10 months have seen a spurt in hiring due to both demand as well as attrition. Employers have hired two to three times higher than their average hiring volumes, said Pasupathi Sankaran, Chief Operating Officer, HirePro-technology platform for enterprise recruitment in India. Startups, on account of investments, have also witnessed a hiring spree. With increased hiring, also comes higher attrition, which in turn creates more demand.
“Organisations are increasing their campus hiring volumes to balance this phenomenon. It helps them create a supply chain of trained professionals. Employers are aware of this trend among their peers and competition. This is leading to a war for talent, especially in engineering campuses,” Sankaran said.
Freshers are preferred as campus give students work experience. Of course, it is of a virtual reality kind. But that too helps. Prof. (Dr.) NN Sharma, Pro President, Manipal University Jaipur said, “The amenities provided are to enable students to apply what they learn to projects in virtual laboratories. Our courses, for instance are tailored to help students develop and strengthen problem solving and creative thinking skills through real life case studies. And while fresh graduates may lack hands-on experience, they bring a fresh perspective.” Besides, it is also cost-effective for corporates to hire directly from campuses and build a strong pipeline of emerging talent.
The reality is that hybrid work culture is the new reality. Organisations are working on a new hybrid model of remote and on-site working. Sarita Digumarti, Co-founder & COO, Jigsaw Academy- a data science company, said, “The new model promises increased productivity for individuals and small teams, more flexibility for individuals, and enhanced employee experiences. Amidst such scenarios, to groom campus hires, organisations must opt for virtual high-engagement interventions that will build the competencies of the new campus hires before they join the organisation.”
Jobs in demand
Data is the key to everything in this interconnected online-offline world. According to NASSCOM, India's tech industry is expected to see a growth of 2.3 percent touching $194 billion in FY 2021. This confirms an increase in opportunities in tech industry sector.
Students are keen on studying data science and analytics that can be applied to any sector – HR, marketing, healthcare, banking, etc. “With the rise of social media, digital marketing is also seeing rapid growth. FinTech is seeing tremendous growth worldwide. Corporate law will see an uptick. With businesses going online and borderless, lawyers will need to safeguard IP, privacy and data aspects of an organisation and ensure legal compliance with various rules, regulations, and authorities.,” said Dr Sharma of Manipal University
Freshers can be prepared for an array of jobs if they have the proper skills in their arsenal. “Freshers can land job roles such as Data Analysts, Business Analysts, Data Scientists, Cloud Engineers, Cloud Developers, People Analysts, to name a few. It's pivotal for anyone entering today's workplace to have skills in emerging technologies like Data Science, Cloud, AI, Product Management, Digital HR among others. Thus upskilling themselves in trending technologies, over and above what they learned from their college or university, is going to give a boost to their career,” said Digumarti, Co-founder & COO, JigsawAcademy.
Salaries for freshers can range from Rs 2 lakhs upwards. The remuneration for fresh graduates is determined by the industry vertical, nature of the organisation, job role and the tier of college, said Pasupathi Sankaran, Chief Operating Officer, HirePro. “For IT services, it varies between Rs. 3.5 lakhs and Rs. 8 lakhs; for IT products, it falls in the range of Rs. 10 lakhs to Rs. 20 lakhs. For graduates, the band is wide open from Rs. 2 lakhs to Rs. 20 lakhs.”
The picture is not all rosy though. There are some warts too. Though campus freshers are hired, many organisations find it challenging to train fresh graduates they onboard. Freshers not only require to be trained on tech skills but also need handholding in their transition from classroom to corporate work environment as well as understanding the organisational culture. Employers find it difficult to assimilate people to fulfil these requirements. That’s a major reason why lateral hiring is high.