Better days for India Inc finally seem to be here, though there are still largely restricted to the usual sectors - information technology and services.
June-July onwards, executive search firms have seen a 10-15 per cent rise in business, mainly on hope of better macroeconomic conditions for the country. These companies are, however, waiting to see if business prospects will actually turn into agreements and boost revenues.
On engineering and business school campuses, the buzz is that the hiring scenario this year will be better than the previous one.
But an improved sentiment, according to placement officials, is largely restricted to the fields of consulting, FMCG and general management. For example, at IIM Calcutta, which has seen a 34 per cent rise in pre-placement offers, management consulting firms have again led the way in making offers.
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), too, have begun their placement much earlier than usual. They are approaching big recruiters at least three months in advance.
This, executives at human resource firms say, is to ensure the big companies zeroed in to hire do not change their intent later.
The financial services industry, especially investment banking, is looking to increase hiring. Kamal Karanth, managing director for India and Malaysia at Kelly Services, says a lot of hiring is happening on expectation of better future prospects, particularly in the investment banking space.
Health care, mostly seen as a resilient sector, however, is tweaking its hiring pattern a little. Pharma companies, it is learnt, is not looking to hire at senior levels in India because of a consolidation in the industry.
Joseph Devasia, managing director of executive recruitment firm Antal International Network, India (part of global firm Antal International), says there is a huge requirement for talent in the management consulting space, with an increased emphasis on compliance, after the companies law coming into force.
Jyorden T Misra, managing director of executive search firm Spearhead InterSearch, says real-time hiring is prominent this year, as investor confidence is returning.
Online hiring is a segment that is seeing the biggest surge. The Monster Employment Index India for July rose 25 per cent over the year-ago period. This was the biggest jump in the index in 2014.
"Monster Employment Index continues to indicate that online hiring is increasing. The trend is expected to continue as the economy rebounds in the months to come. Hiring in the home appliances space has seen a remarkable increase of 69 per cent over last year, even as the telecom/ISP segment has been the lowest-growing industry, says Sanjay Modi, managing director, Monster.com (India, West Asia, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia).
The Monster index showed online recruitment in telecom/ISP was down 17 per cent, the most notable annual decline among all monitored sectors.
According to experts, the real boom will begin when the manufacturing and telecom sectors begin hiring in large numbers. That, they say, might take some more time.
A senior vice-president at a telecom firm, for example, was looking to exit his company for better prospects.
Once he got in touch with an executive search firm and began exploring opportunities, he realised there were few options.
He would even have had to take a pay cut to join a rival company. He then decided to quit the sector and moved in the same position, with a 30 per cent pay increase, to a mid-sized consumer goods company.
Most telecom companies, parts of the financial sector and most in the manufacturing sector are not looking to hire in big numbers yet.
"Executives in the telecom sector are either staying put or moving to other sectors. The sector had got a lot of good talent from the IT and services industry; these professionals are now open to moving out of telecom due to regulatory and other issues," he says.
The manufacturing sector is also seeing muted hiring growth. Gajendra P Chandel, chief human resources officer at Tata Motors, says his company is hoping for a positive movement with a new government in place but it has not yet begun hiring in big numbers.
"The past 24 months or so have been among the most challenging for the automobile industry. It is still too early to say if we are seeing an upturn. We will continue to monitor our requirements and market trends to see if we are well-positioned when the industry actually bounces back," Chandel says.
Amitabh Akhauri, senior vice-president (human resources), Jindal Stainless, says almost all sectors - be it manufacturing, metals or steel - are waiting to see the trends in the first half of the financial year.
At present, the hiring rate remains plateaued and there is no significant increase. But things could improve, as is evident from sales of white goods and auto sectors, Akhauri says.
The mutual fund industry, which was looking forward to a good hiring season, might also slow its intent, given some recent changes announced in the Union Budget.
Arvind Sethi, managing director & CEO, Tata Asset Management, says things were looking up with respect to hiring till some tax changes were proposed in the Budget.
|UPTICK, BUT NO BOOM YET|
|GAINERS & LOSERS: Sectors like IT and services have seen healthy hiring; manufacturing and telecom are yet to pick up pace
HIRING BUSINESS: Recruitment firms’ business has risen 10-15%, they are waiting to see if these prospects will turn into actual agreements
CALL LOST: The telecom sector has been the worst hit, with hiring down 17% from last year; executives willing to switch to other sectors
WAIT & WATCH: While manufacturing activity is picking up, big-ticket hiring in the space might take some time to begin
MORE OPTIONS FOR NEWBIES: The hiring situation for freshers is better; IITs and IIMs are seeing a good placement season ahead