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'Don't try to jump into a job right after the lockdown'

By DIVYA NAIR
May 04, 2020 10:41 IST
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'It will be a competitive market more than ever due to the layoffs that have happened.'

Varun Arora, Ekostay

IMAGE: 'The tourism sector is going to take at least a year before it comes back to where it was,' says Varun Arora, CEO, Eko Stay Villas.

The lockdown induced by COVID-19 has forced several start-ups across the country to either shut down operations temporarily or permanently or change the way they do businesses.

According to a survey conducted by Praxis Global Alliance, 37% of start-up CEOs interviewed only had 6 to 12 months of cash reserves left in their bank.

In such a situation, what happens to these start-ups and their employees?

What would entrepreneurs advise young people worried about their jobs?

"Getting stressed right now due to the stoppage of things is not going to help your case, but only play with your mind and probably lead you to making stupid decisions. Use this free time to learn and add more skills to their CV, to figure out a Plan B in case their Plan A doesn't work out the way it was intended to post the lockdown," Varun Arora, CEO and co-founder, Eko Stay -- a homestay venture -- tells Rediff.com's Divya Nair.

What is your staff strength? And how are you taking care of your employees?

Unfortunately, being part of an unorganised/unbranded sector it's difficult for a company like ours to even voice our opinion or ask for relaxations.

We are simply dealing with the lockdown one week at a time and hoping for landlords/owners to understand this scenario and give us 100% waiver on rent which most have yet not.

We have a staff strength of almost 50 employees.

We are in touch with our employees and making sure they aren't dealing with any shortcomings.

A couple of them asked for permission to stay at our villas as their quarters were far from the functioning market areas and so we let them.

One of them asked for leave and we let him go back to his hometown to stay and be there with his family.

Now that the lockdown has been extended, how are you planning to keep up? Will you be cutting down your workforce?

In May, we will be providing the caretakers (at the homestay villas) with rations.

We will also be explaining to the landlords that we are no more in a situation to pay the rent and to adjust it against the security deposit.

We the founders have let go of our salaries 100% for March and April and shall do the same for May as well.

We don't plan to cut down the work force as once business is back to normal we will need the same staff to resume their duties. It's better than hiring newbies as it will require a lot of training again.

What is your advice to young graduates looking for jobs in the travel and hospitality sectosr?

I would advise them to hold their horses and not try to jump into a job right after the lockdown.

For one, it will be a competitive market more than ever due to the layoffs that have happened in the past month or so.

Secondly, the tourism sector is going to take at least a year before it comes back to where it was. And too is subjective if there is no second wave of coronavirus.

They rather use these first couple of months to re-evaluate their speciality and try taking up a course/diploma that will help them prepare better.

What are some of the most promising job roles and sectors that will produce more jobs in the month to follow?

The manufacturing/industrial as well as e-commerce sectors are capable of creating more jobs in the coming times.

Reason being, a lot of companies have already decided to shift their plants/factories to India either from China or just to have a second base.

This will tend to create more hiring of local employees who understand the Indian market better as compared to their foreign counterparts.

And the e-commerce sector because people have learned amidst the lockdown the true potential of an e-commerce platform being still operational under the circumstances the world was in and how it doesn't need more than a desktop, the right skills and the Internet to figure a new platform out or to keep one going.

Young professionals are stressed about their careers and future. What is your advice for them?

Getting stressed right now due to the stoppage of things is not going to help your case, but only play with your mind and probably lead you to making stupid decisions.

I would advise them to use this free time to learn and add more skills to their CV, to figure out a Plan B in case their Plan A doesn't work out the way it was intended to post the lockdown.

Your advice to youngsters wanting to start-up. Dos and Don'ts to follow your advice to the class of 2020.

I always believe a start-up is always fresh with their ideas and ready to take off, but with the way things have been for the past couple of months and are going to be for the months to come, I would honestly advise them to tread carefully.

Some ideas that they thought or have seen work in the past may not necessarily react the same way that they did and therefore one should spend more time in the R&D stage or even in the Beta stage, in order to be 101% certain that it's going to give the desired results.

Do keep those ideas floating. Don't get too messed up in the fake news of today.

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