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After the pandemic dragging the Indian job market down by over 60% during April’20 and May’20, it is improving slow and steady Year over Year (YOY) in the last few months.

Though there is a steady Month over Month recovery in the Indian job market, there is still the pandemic effect on its YOY growth.  There is anticipation and an increase in the demand for the right talent for tackling the post-pandemic challenges among organizations that are re-aligning to the new normal.

The September 2020 Naukri Hiring Outlook Survey predicts that one-fifth of the recruiters expect hiring to come back to the pre-COVID levels in the next three months.  26% and 34% of the other recruiters expect it to take 3 to 6 months and six months to one year.


Key Trends in the Indian job market:

1.The future work model will be "Work from anywhere”.

The pandemic green shoot of remote working culture has brought pragmatic behavioural shift in the Indian workforce.  There is three times increase in hiring for remote jobs because of the lockdowns before it last year. The major contributors for posting WFH jobs on include sectors like IT, Internet/Ecommerce, Education/Teaching, and BPO /ITES.  The recent Naukri survey confirms that 69% of the 1000 recruiters confirm that there is equal or more productivity working at home.  And in the survey, over 4000 jobseekers confirm that 59% preferred a hybrid working model reflecting the recruiters’ perspective.  Also, 76% employees confirm of more productivity with WFH than in the office.  Hence, with much greater acceptance of remote working, companies will take measures for easing their employees into the WFH culture to pave the way for a work from anywhere model in the future.

2. Career progression only with up-skilling to stay relevant.

Like before, the key to getting employment will be up-skilling to stay relevant. 50% of the job seekers focus on up-skilling for self-development to brush their domain knowledge and get help from professionals to build their resumes.  The top picks for up-skilling are the courses in digital marketing, finance management and data analytics. Since even soft skills become an integral part of today’s changed working conditions, there is an only preference for those collaborating remotely and having effective communication to manage their time, even without a proper office setup.

3. The new normal is remote hiring.

To grab the opportunity of virtual hiring in the coming year by most companies, job seekers should have more focus on virtual interviews and online assessments. Since candidates will get judged on how well they adapt to situations out of their comfort zone, top HR experts recommend being well-versed with the webcam, as even the campus interviews are now done remotely.

4. IT & other sectors to drive hiring in 2021.

Because of the lockdown, corporate companies are engaging in more digitalization to make technology continue as the game-changer.  Hence, during the pandemic, there has been the least impact in the IT sector hiring as it becomes central to many processes of the companies for taking the digital transformation route. It gets confirmed by the Naukri JobSpeak numbers on the IT sector hiring that grew by 10% m-o-m from October to November 2020 and also to continue in the next few months.

Though the BPO/ITES sector grew Y-O-Y by 18% in January 2020, the pandemic declined its hiring.  But with the phased easing of restrictions, it is exciting to see early signs of recovery from June’20. This sector will be one of the least hit sectors by the pandemic and see a rise in hiring of the digitalization drive of companies for their employees getting more WFH support.

Since the medical/health sector is at the forefront of fighting against the pandemic, it is one sector to increase hiring this year. It was also the first sector to start more hiring in May’20 than April’20 as there was an immense demand for the right talent because of the pandemic.  Since then, this sector has shown robust sequential hiring trends to continue employing many more in the coming year.

5. Sectors to resume hiring.

Hiring in hospitality/travel and retail sectors were down by 91 and 71 per cent Y-O-Y respectively to be the two worst-hit sectors because of the pandemic and its social distancing and other restrictions.  Hence, both the industries started novel methods by integrating technology for delivering their offerings to customers as they started home deliveries and online trial rooms. These developments reflected the slow but steady rise of their sequential recovery during last year, which is also to continue in the next year.

Though education/teaching sector hiring saw a steep decline during the early lockdown days, this sector showed quick recovery signs after the academicians and teachers took the online route for teaching. The Indian traditional education/teaching sector transformed because of the adoption of technology-driven teaching and continues the next year. The teaching tools need to be expedited because of the online learning movement for delivering study materials to the students. It boosted the demand for ‘Instructional Design’, a special skill among the recruiters as it combines education with communication and technology.

6. Part-time jobs & freelancing gaining popularity.

To gain experience in their domains to get offers from this tough job market all job seekers should be ready and willing to do part-time jobs and freelancing rather than waiting only for full-time jobs. Doing minor projects will only make their resumes strong enough to be the key and tool for networking with prospective clients.

Jobseekers with the ability to speed up the digital transformation with innovative methods for delivering products and services to customers will be in high demand as organizations are pacing up their growth plans for the coming year.  There will be more expectation for cross-functionality working beyond the job description scope as companies are becoming leaner.  In the coming year, it would excite to watch the evolution of both hiring and working.

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