India Inc on recovery path; 53 pc companies to raise headcount in 2021: Report

While COVID-19 led to a dip in hiring activities by 18 percent in 2020, optimism is already starting to show, with companies looking to increase their headcounts in 2021.
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Even as India's hiring activities declined last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is a sudden increase in demand with about 53 percent of companies saying they are planning to increase their headcounts in 2021, according to a survey.

The pandemic adversely impacted economies across Asia-Pacific, including India, which had entered 2020 with robust hiring activities, according to professional recruitment services firm Michael Page India's 'Talent Trends 2021 Report'.

It added that the pandemic led to a dip in hiring activities by 18 percent in 2020.

The survey-based report, however, added that optimism is already starting to show, with about 53 percent of companies in India looking to increase their headcounts in 2021.

Michael Page India Managing Director Nicolas Dumoulin said, "Technology and healthcare sectors witnessed significant activity even during the lockdown phase given the sudden increase in demand for relevant talent across functions."

He added that hiring activities among internet-based businesses such as ecommerce and education technology remained relatively robust across India and is expected to maintain the momentum in 2021 as well.

According to the report, India projects an optimistic outlook for 2021, with 60 percent of the employers surveyed intending to increase salaries, while 55 percent of the companies planning to give out bonus payments and 43 percent of them looking to give out more than one month's worth of bonus.

The results for the report was drawn from a survey across 12 Asia-Pacific markets, including in India, among over 5,500 businesses and 21,000 employees, of which 3,500-plus are directors or CXOs.

The report further showed that the healthcare sector is expected to see the largest percentage rise in salary at an average increase of 8 percent, followed by fast-moving consumer goods (7.6 percent) and ecommerce/internet services (7.5 percent).

The technology boom in India has only further accelerated especially in the software-as-a-service (SaaS), health-tech, edtech and gaming industries with rising demand for professionals in the artificial learning and machine learning space, it said.

Many companies have capitalised on the availability of Indian techies looking to return to India as a result of the pandemic, it added.

Over 74 percent of technology companies in India expect a 14 percent rise in headcount and are open to considering talent remotely available, offering flexibility to the right candidate under the hybrid work model.

There has been an increased demand for hiring at the leadership level in private equity, venture capital as well as other asset classes on buy-side like credit or distressed, hedge funds, public markets and impact funds, and this trend is expected to continue in 2021, it stated.

Most of the non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and financial technology companies are likely to focus on skill sets such as analytics-driven risk, digital marketing, strategy-driven portfolio management collections, alliances, and partnerships.

Meanwhile, it said that over 68 percent of ecommerce companies in India expect a 12 percent increase in headcount in 2021.

Growth in ecommerce has also led to a rise in the number of tech-enabled platforms in logistics and warehousing, it added.

Industrial warehousing has fuelled demand in real estate as well with 44 percent of property and construction companies in India expecting headcount to increase by 10 percent in 2021.

Further, essential delivery startups and hyperlocal startups grew in 2020, increasing the demand for profit and loss heads and product management professionals.

Startups in India examined their core businesses and retrained focus on profitability last year, while larger conglomerates took time to increase their reach and influence and establish new lines of business, which is likely to continue this year as well, Dumoulin added.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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