Startups such as Curefit, Bounce, and StayAbode swoop in to offer jobs to Jet Airways employees
This past weekend, business news headlines were dominated by Jet Airways’ shutting down of operations, and speculations on where that leaves its 22,000 employees, many of whom have not received their salaries for months.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, with several companies coming forward to offer jobs to Jet staff. And it’s not just rival airlines like SpiceJet. Startups, too, have shown interest in hiring Jet personnel who are facing sudden unemployment.
Ankit Nagori, Co-founder, Curefit, took to Twitter and reached out to Jet Airways employees, asking them to apply for relevant jobs at his fitness startup.
This was soon followed by Vivekananda, Co-founder of Bounce, asking the airline’s employees to apply for jobs at his bike sharing startup. StayAbode, and Intellistay Hotels soon followed suit.
While the exact number of jobs these startups are offering is unclear, each startup is looking to take on board 100 to 150 people. Bounce alone is looking at close to 150 people in different roles across business, product, R&D, sales, and other corporate roles.
SpiceJet is believed to have already hired over 500 people - pilots, cabin crew, and general corporate staff. At present, media reports indicate that Jet Airways has suspended most of its operations, and had asked its pilots to take a 50 percent pay cut.
However it is unclear if Jet employees, who may take up jobs with these startups, will be letting go of salaries that are months overdue from Jet Airways, or if they would appeal for legal action.
This isn’t the first time that startups have come forward to help out corporate employees facing downsizing. In 2014, when Yahoo laid off engineers, the tweet, ‘Yeah Who!’ by Deepinder Goyal, Co-founder and CEO, Zomato, created waves when he called out to engineers to apply for a job at his Gurugram-based foodtech startup.
Startups - the new job creators?
One of the biggest job creators in the country in the recent past has been the IT industry, which employs around four million people. Of late, however, hiring in this sector has dropped due to factors like slowing demand for IT services, increased automation, and the shift to digitisation.
Over the past few years, startups have been adding jobs to the economy. According to a Nasscom report, startups hired close to 1.7 lakh people in 2018, and added over 40,000 new jobs. And while many believe hiring has been sluggish at ecommerce platforms, overall headcount growth rate has hovered at 40 percent over a three-year period.
Startup unicorns are the biggest source of employment in the country. Today, India has over 22 unicorns, many of which got the coveted status last year, while three became unicorns this year. Ten new unicorns emerged between 2011 and 2017, and going by reports and talk in the industry, many will soon touch the $1 billion valuation mark by the end of 2019.
Technology will be key
In its recent report, Unicorns: Employment Accelerators?, Xpheno, a Bengaluru-based specialist staffing company, stated that unicorns in India cut across segments such as ecommerce marketplaces, on-demand services, travel and logistics, fintech, and digital content, and had a direct employment base of around 60,000 people in FY 2019.
“Technology continued to be the top growth function for employment, followed by business development and sales. As more Indian unicorns (and ‘soonicorns’) continue to enhance their competitive technology fibre and differentiating sales ecosystem, employment acceleration observed is expected to continue into 2019 and 2020 across more new and non-traditional industry sectors,” the report said.
A report by Randstand stated that startups are likely to create as many as three lakh new employment opportunities in a few years. Randstand India CEO Moorthy K Uppaluri said in the report, "Although predominantly startups are found in technology-related fields such as ecommerce, cloud computing, and data analytics, in recent times, many non-tech startups are emerging across sectors like education, microfinance, agro-based products, and corporate consulting.”
Across companies, technology hiring dominates, accounting for a 50-percent rise in employment in startups. According to Xpheno data, unicorns such as OYO and Udaan have, over the last one year, witnessed over 100 percent growth in employment in their engineering and IT functions. The second key focus area of hiring has been in the sales and development function.
A boost to indirect employment
But these jobs aren’t restricted to direct engineering, technology, sales and marketing roles. These are also open to indirect employee base of delivery executives and drivers.
According to BetterPlace, a platform that manages the lifecycle of blue-collar workers, around 1.7 million people are engaged as delivery personnel, drivers, and security employees. The report, published late last year, adds that there will be 21 lakh job openings in the blue-collar segment in 2019, of which around 14 lakh will be absorbed by the gig economy.