Charge of white-collar brigade may continue in Q4: 10-30% jump in hiring mandates seen in Jan-March

Kolkata: White-collar job creation has been continuing its upward trajectory in the January-March quarter as declining Covid cases, the vaccine rollout and high budget expectations have bolstered India Inc’s confidence. Half-a-dozen leading recruitment firms told ET said they had seen an average 10-30% jump in hiring mandates this quarter from October-December levels.

Information technology (IT), ecommerce, ed-tech, logistics, healthcare and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) are among the sectors leading on the job-creation front. However, sectors such as banking and financial services, manufacturing, auto and power have also seen a rebound, said hiring firms such as ABC Consultants, Michael Page, Antal, TeamLease Services, Adecco and CIEL.

Most say they expect job mandates will return to pre-Covid levels by June. Some, like Antal India, see this happening as early as April.

There’s been a spike in tech hiring since late October-November, with IT services, product companies and captives all recruiting people, said ABC Consultants managing director Shiv Agrawal.

“FMCG is hiring, manufacturing and auto are getting better, while power, electricals and financial services are bouncing back,” he said. By end-March, he expects hiring numbers to be at 80-90% of pre-Covid levels.


At Michael Page India, the job flow is almost twice what it was in the last quarter, with significant recovery across sectors, said regional director Anshul Lodha. There has been an uptick in the financial services space, with hiring by large banks to nonbanking finance companies (NBFCs), and private equity seeing a spike as well.

“The real estate sector has also seen a turnaround on the back of improved buyer sentiment,” Lodha said. “Allied sectors such as cement, building materials are seeing a jump in hiring, as are infrastructure and manufacturing.”

Hiring for the consumer and services sectors is nearly back to normal, said Aditya Narayan Mishra, CEO of CIEL.

“Confidence is higher in IT, hiring is in full swing,” he said. “In-demand candidates have multiple job offers in hand and the cycle time of recruitment has come down by 10-15%, indicating that companies are deciding faster. Our mandates this quarter are comparable to the corresponding one last year.”

While hospitality, tourism, travel, aviation are yet to recover in terms of hiring, overall, there is positive sentiment, given that a feared second Covid wave hasn’t swept the country and there have been positive interventions by the government, hiring firms told ET.

“There’s huge confidence in the way India has started moving around. The vaccine gives people courage to take decisions,” said Antal India managing director Joseph Devasia. The firm has seen a 30-40% jump in mandates over the last quarter, with consumer, tech and pharmaceuticals showing the sharpest spurt, he said.

Adecco India too has seen a 30% jump in mandates, led by IT services and product, healthcare, ecommerce, logistics, retail and automotive units.

Earlier, the TeamLease Employment Outlook Report for January-March 2021, covering 800-plus companies, had found that 27% Indian employers intend to hire, up from 21% in the preceding quarter. Healthcare and pharma, educational services, ecommerce and technology startups, IT, FMCG and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) were found to have the strongest hiring intentions.

“Right now, we are at about 70% of pre-Covid business. We see a much stronger improvement showing up from April onwards,” said TeamLease cofounder Rituparna Chakraborty.

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