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Michael Page Talent Trends Report indicates more hiring and increments in India this year

After almost a year of slump due to the covid-19 pandemic, hiring is picking up pace. Nearly 53% Indian companies are intending to hire, as compared to 42% APAC (Asian-Pacific countries) businesses, this year, says the Talent Trends Report 2021 prepared by the UK-headquartered recruitment company Michael Page.

In India, the hiring percentage had plummeted to 18 per cent since March. But now, despite the impact on business, 60% of the organisations are looking to offer salary hikes, where 55% companies are considering bonus payments, in which 43% are providing over one month’s wage as bonus. The report, which looks at the APAC region including India, saw the participation of 660 Indian companies and 4,600 employees from the country.

After 10 months of the pandemic, trends that were in their nascent form in the latter half of 2020 are becoming clearer.

For instance, healthcare and life sciences, fintech, and tech-based companies like e-commerce and ed-tech organisations have seen a robust growth last year and will continue on this tailwind this year as well. According to the report, 74% tech companies are planning to expand their staff strength by 14% with anyone open to working full-time remotely.

Some of the roles that are seeing high demand include engineering and data scientists, growth hackers, performance marketers, sales and business development, research and development, and legal counsel, the report says. Leadership hiring in private equity, venture capital and other asset classes is also showing an upward swing.

Considering people will continue to interact and manage teams virtually, skill set and experience match (69%) weigh highest in the priority when hiring, followed by culture fit (48%), how much the talent will cost (31%), soft skills (13%), with least priority given to the location of the candidate (12%).

Salary expectation

Although many organisations have rolled back on salary cuts or given bonuses, healthcare sector will see the highest percentage of average salary increase—about 8%; FMCG (7.6%) and e-commerce/ internet services (7.5%) follow close behind.

Not surprisingly, the lowest salary increase will be in property and construction (5.3%) and industrial and manufacturing (5.9%) this year. Banking and financial services (60%) and transport & distribution companies (60%) lead businesses that are looking to offer one-month bonuses. One in three companies expect promotions, especially for mid-management employees (79%), to be postponed this year.

In spite of the work-life changes that the pandemic has brought, remuneration and benefits continue to be the top factor in accepting a job, followed by scope and responsibilities, future internal growth opportunities, work culture and, finally, company brand and reputation.

According to the report, technology and healthcare and life sciences sector will offer highest salary increases to new hires, up to to 15-25% and 15-20% respectively in 2021. FMCG, industrial and manufacturing, and professional services on an average will offer 14% increase from the candidate’s current salary. Overall, employees expect 19-20% increase from their current/ last-drawn salaries across hierarchies.

Surge in demand for gig workers

With workplaces going virtual, organisations are warming up to project-based hiring.

The 2018 Michael Page survey found that 55% of professionals are interested in becoming contract or gig workers. The tech sector, in particular, is viewing this as "one of the long-term growth areas in India", with 22% companies across APAC actively looking for short-term gig workers with specific skill sets. For now, 47% companies are looking to fill the skill gaps in their talent pool by investing in training their existing workers, 34% are considering automating basic processes, 38% will hire for key areas, 23% will look for short-term gig workers, while the rest will outsource.

“As we see the economy moving towards recovery, companies will look at a strategy that will ensure retaining existing talent and hiring new ones to bridge the skill gap, especially specialised talent in certain key growing areas in technology and healthcare," says Nicolas Dumoulin, managing director, Michael Page India.

"Companies will be looking at a dynamic working culture along with competitive remuneration and benefits package to attract talent," he adds. "Startups in India, examined their core businesses and retrained their focus on profitability last year, while larger conglomerates, took the time to increase their reach and influence and establish new lines of business. This will continue in 2021.”