The 2021 edition of NASSCOM report titled, NASSCOM Tech Start-up Report 2021 – Year of the Titans" called last year an unparalleled time for startups growth. Many records were broken, and new ones were set in various categories, including unicorn funding, mergers and acquisitions, investors etc.
The report also identifies critical ecosystem features that are improving its foundation, such as increased inclusivity and diversity, increased corporate participation, increased investor commitment, and much more. With such a growth trajectory of startups in India, it is bound to contribute significantly to the hiring demand of the country.
As India has now become the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world after US and China with close to 10,000 technology-led startups, it is expected to define the hiring trend of the market in years to come. Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) reported that startups have created 6.5 lakh jobs.
One of the leading sectors creating a considerable proportion of employment is the Technology sector. Accelerated by pandemic, many digital transformations and innovations have created new opportunities in almost every economy, impacting all the sectors.
More innovative solution-driven products and services call for individuals with set skills of experience and expertise. A large portion of the hiring, up to 70 percent, is for technology roles, with full-stack developers, data scientists, solution architects, and principal engineers being prioritised.
The rise of startups has broadened the local job market, giving young graduates and seasoned job seekers more options. As entrepreneurs grow and expand their businesses, they create a slew of new job possibilities, which benefits the overall economy. Remarkably, the number of startups in the tech sector is constantly high. According to NASSCOM, over 1,600 startups were added in FY21, resulting in more job opportunities.
Why the rush in search of talent in startups?
Close to 30+ Indian startups achieved Unicorn status in the year 2021. As reported, approximately $25 billion are invested in startups. Hence, most Unicorn startups are now planning to ramp up their growth, which includes hiring more talented individuals to their teams. Thus several unicorns are already on a hiring spree covering new markets and customers to tap the best talent available.
As the focus of startups is on scaling the existing offerings and launching new product lines, this hiring trend is expected to gain more momentum by 2030.
Over the last year, unicorns have fueled a nearly 100% increase in recruiting across IT. The unicorns hired about 45,000 individuals during the pandemic, while the soonicorns (soon to be unicorns) employed nearly 20,000. Even though the startup's mandate was never to become a potent driver of job creation, it did have a flywheel effect that has made them a significant contributor to the employment growth of India.
However, when creating jobs, we are also confronted with a few harsh facts. One of the significant challenges employers face is the lack of the right skills. In a post covid era, IT firms face a talent shortage to fill roles requiring digital/technology skills niches.
Emerging technologies such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing, cybersecurity, the internet of things (IoT), and robotics are some of the new-age digital capabilities. To address these gaps, it's essential to focus on reskilling and upskilling employees. Thus, employers place reskilling and upskilling on the top of their priority list.
Companies are implementing a hire-train-deploy (HTD) approach, in which employees, particularly freshers, are trained by specialised staffing agencies on the specific skill requirements before being deployed with clients.
So even though the market is witnessing continuous growth in job opportunities, this will also require well-thought investment in terms of employees' training and education to adequately equip them to fill these new job demands created by startups.
(Sidharth Agarwal is Director, Spectrum Talent Management)