Most of the hirings are, however, in the entry or junior level.
The vaccine rollout, and the resultant mood of optimism all around, has given rise to a positive sentiment in the hiring market, with top companies such as the Tatas, Birlas, Reliance and ITC planning to add more staff in the coming months.
Most of the hirings are, however, in the entry or junior level, say HR managers.
While the Tata group’s crown jewel, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), created a record of sorts by hiring 15,721 people in the December quarter, other group companies are not far behind.
“The net employee hiring in the third quarter of financial year 2021 was the highest ever in a quarter,’’ said TCS’s chief financial officer, V Ramakrishnan. Tata Projects, which recently bagged the prestigious Central Vista project, also plans to hire more people soon.
Infosys, too, has announced it will hire 24,000 freshers from campuses this year.
The Aditya Birla group is looking at fresh talent for its various verticals, said a group source.
Hiring by Reliance Retail and Reliance Jio has picked up as well, with both getting ready to onboard people from the Future Group and other acquisitions, say Reliance insiders.
Other top companies also said that they have begun hiring.
“As the demand picks up with the economy, the opportunities for hiring talent will certainly grow.
"Such hiring would be reflected in functions like sales and marketing, modern trade and supply chain," said Amitav Mukherji, head, corporate human resources, ITC.
Auto is another sector where hiring is set to rise.
“We will go for campus recruitment from B-schools as well as engineering colleges.
"There will be no drop in the number of new hires," which are typically in the range of 250-300, said Rajesh Uppal, senior executive director (HR and IT) and member of the executive board, Maruti Suzuki India.
Maruti Suzuki conducts interviews across 40-50 institutes to meet its requirements.
“Every year, we hire for both technical as well as non-technical profiles.
"The engineers are hired for varied roles in production, R&D, quality management and IT services, among others.
"MBA graduates are offered jobs across marketing and sales, logistics and HR verticals," Uppal added.
Spurred by the rise in production, Hyundai and Nissan have also stepped up hiring. Hyundai achieved its highest-ever single-month production with 71,178 units in December 2020.
The company also recruited more than 2000 people, mostly in production, post the pandemic.
As for Nissan, at its Oragadam facility in Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, the Japanese carmaker has added a third shift and hired over 1,000 people.
Commercial vehicle major Ashok Leyland’s president, NV Balachandar, said that in 2021 the company plans to hire people in three key areas: data analytics, product development — especially related to electric vehicles and other related technologies — design, AI, among others.
“More than experience, the focus would be on expertise,” he said.
However, the hiring sentiment is not as robust when it comes to mid-sized companies.
Headhunters say that these companies want the business sentiment to improve further before adding to their staff.
Apart from the economy beginning to pick up, everyone agrees that the vaccine rollout has had a positive impact on hiring.
“There is a clear correlation between the news of the vaccine rollout and hiring picking up.
"It has created a positive headwind among hiring managers and organisations,” said Sanjay Shetty, head, strategic account management, at Randstad India, a recruitment consultancy company.
Others say that the last quarter has been strong for many companies and hence the uptick in hiring.
“While the data is not yet out — publicly available estimates till November-end show most industries having a stronger year-on-year growth.
"So, it is fair to assume that with economic recovery and business performance improvement, there will be increased hiring activity,” said Anandorup Ghose, partner, Deloitte India.
However, it would be interesting to watch the structure of hiring, he added.
“Technology changes and recessions have often gone hand-in-hand, and after each such change, the structure of employment changes,” he said.
For example, according to HR managers, most of the hiring has taken place at junior or entry levels — for jobs in areas such as logistics, warehousing, last-mile delivery, and so on.
Traditional manufacturing businesses are yet to warm up to the change in the business sentiment.
A key reason for the lackadaisical response, say industry watchers, is the changing use of technology in processes.
As a result, HR experts do not expect significant increase in new job creation at mid or senior management levels immediately, except for roles that relate to newer technology or work processes.
That said, the demand for digital professionals has hit the roof over the last two-three months, say HR experts.
And the demand has come from almost all sectors — not just technology companies.
Professional services firms, too, are ramping up their digital talent pool to serve client demand both in India and abroad.
In December, EY announced plans to hire 9,000 professionals in 2021 across various technology roles.
KPMG is looking to hire 400 individuals for its digital practice.
“There is a focused requirement in the cloud-native area of big data engineering, analytics, cloud, machine learning, blockchain and artificial intelligence,” said Nitin Atroley, partner – people, strategy and corporate affairs, KPMG India.
With inputs from Shally Seth Mohile, Ishita Ayan Dutt, and TE Narasimhan