Covid’19: Notable Updates from The World of Work

Covid-19 has been all over the news for all the wrong reasons. And rightly so; it has affected everything it has touched. But what about the world of work? We look at a few stories below that highlight the influence of the novel coronavirus so far.

August Update ( Week 3-4)

  1. Demand for WFH jobs three times as compared to pre-Covid levels

With more companies extending their remote policies, work-from-home jobs have jumped three times as compared to pre-covid levels. A jobs survey that pointed this out also found out that the number of applications have also grown by seven times in the last few months.

Furthermore, the percentage contribution of remote work has also quadrupled in 2020 vs 2019. In fact, according to the report, the keyword ‘Work From Home’ is one of the top 3 searched keywords on job portals.

Work models are also undergoing change as jobs seekers are being offered WFH options for traditional in-office roles and field work jobs.

  1. Job postings across all industries increase

Reports suggest that the number of job postings across all industries in India have increased, with healthcare and engineering leading the way. A real-time measure of the labor market in July — which can also be construed as a trend in job postings — reflected a 42% decrease as compared to 2019.

The data also suggests that Civil Engineering job postings in June 2020 was 26% lower than the figure for the same month in 2019. In July 2020, the figure is lower by 10%. In healthcare, the growth of surgeon and physician for June 2020 was recorded at 31% lower than June 2019. Following the trend, the same jobs in July 2020 were growing 18% lower than in 2019.

  1. India’s annual growth needs to be at 8-8.5% to employ new workers

60 million new workers are expected to join the Indian workforce by 2030. And for this to happen, India must sustain an annual growth rate between 8-8.5%. So says a report released by McKinsey.

Furthermore, the report hinted that to avoid a decade-low annual growth rate of 5%, the economy will have to create 90 million new jobs — outside the agricultural sector — by 2030 and uplift the productivity levels in the labour force by 7%.

Construction and manufacturing also have a huge part to play in the nation’s GDP, job creation, and productivity as per the report. According to an expert, with automation and high-productivity the manufacturing sector can add 11 million jobs and deliver 20% of the incremental GDP.

As for construction, it has the biggest role to play in creating millions of non-farm jobs; to be precise, 24 million out of 90 million jobs by 2030. In fact, experts suggest that construction can create one out of every four jobs outside agriculture and boost productivity.

  1. CXO movement across all sectors jumped in Q1 (FY 2020-21)

A recent study revealed that movement in India Inc’s C-Suite spiked in Q1 (FY 2020-21). As many as 246 CEO moves were recorded during April-June 2020 — an 82% increase from the same time last year.

In total, there were 960 CXO moves during Q1 (2020-21). In comparison, only 754 were recorded for the same time period last year which translates to 27% more movement during the pandemic-hit quarter. Additionally, 19% were women. CXOs engaged in the legal services sector led the movement. They were closely followed by changes in BFSI and media & entertainment, each recording 16% and 13.7% respectively.

Internal elevations in CEO roles in the April-June (2020) quarter stood at 51.2% as compared to 37.7% (Q1 2019). While the number of CEOs who resigned or retired remained, more or less, the same as last year (13-14%), external hiring of CEOs accounted for 34.5% of the total movement this quarter as opposed to 48.8% in the previous year’s Q1.

  1. An advanced degree cannot guarantee employment in low and middle income countries

According to the ILO, unemployment is higher in youth with advanced degrees located in low and middle income countries. According to the report, “Actually, in 82% of low-income countries and in 70% of lower-middle-income countries with data, the unemployment rate is higher for those with an advanced educational level than for those with only a basic educational level, while this is true in 31% of upper-middle-income countries and 16% of high-income countries”.

This basically means that individuals who are highly educated are more prone to unemployment in low-income countries as compared to individuals with basic education. The report also went on to state that the highly educated individuals form the majority of the unemployed community than the employed; people with advanced degrees account for 82% and 10% of the unemployed in low-income and high-income countries respectively.

  1. Average increments in India at 3.6% in 2020

According to the second installment of the workforce and increments survey conducted by Deloitte for 2020, average increments in India stood at 3.6% with only 40% companies handing out increments. The figure stood at 8.6% in 2019.

The B2B survey conducted by Deloitte — especially for seasoned HR professionals from 350 companies across 7 sectors and 25 sub-sectors — also said that of the 10 respondents from India, in 2020, only 4 gave increments, 33% didn’t, and the rest are still undecided.

Here are the other key findings from the survey:

  • 7.5% – average increment in 2020 (for companies who handed increments)
  • Less than 10% – companies who gave increments more than or equal to 10% in 2020
  • Factors that have affected 2020 increments: Covid-19 and timing of increments
  • Higher increment given by companies (as compared to others) who decided increments before March lockdown
  • Lowe increments given by companies expecting decline of more than 20% in revenue for FY 2020-21
  • Actual increments across all sectors lower than what was projected 6 months ago
  • No average double-digit increment for any industry in 2020
  • Highest increments in life sciences sector, lowest in services and manufacturing
  • E-commerce/digital industry known for double-digit increments struggled to match past figures

August Update ( Week 1-2)

  1. Most companies ready for virtual hiring

According to a recent survey of 114 respondents belonging to HR and talent acquisition, 3 out of every 4 firms believe in their remote hiring plans. Moreover, sectors such as IT/ITeS, e-commerce, telecommunications, science & technology show a higher readiness for virtual hiring. 

The findings from the survey also suggest that more than 50% of the companies have semi-active hiring plans for the next 3 months, which, they hope will open up in Q3. 18% have active hiring plans and another 18% of the respondents have stalled their hiring agenda completely. Furthermore, the 18% who are active see their hiring activity gain +7% to reach 25% in Q3 whereas the other 18% with paused plans see a decline of -11% in the coming quarter. 

The survey also had the following to report:

    • Hiring will achieve pre-covid levels in April 2021
    • Hiring set to become fully active starting January 2021. 43% respondents see active hiring plans in January 2021 as opposed to 12% who feel it’ll pick up come April 2021
    • It will take another 8 months or so to witness the same hiring numbers as April 2020
    • Hiring volume for campus recruitments will be low and the cycle will be longer
  1. 9 lakh jobs up for grabs on Delhi Govt job portal

As many 9 lakh jobs are vacant on the Delhi Govt job portal. The portal, which was launched by the government on 27th July to help job seekers find jobs and employers hire manpower, has posted remarkable figures. According to the authorities, 22 lakh jobs have been posted by 6,271 employers. Moreover, 10 lakh vacancies have already been filled. There were duplicate and fake job postings as well on the portal, to the tune of 3.57 lakh, which have since been removed.

It is understood that almost 12.6 lakh candidates experienced job hunting for the first time on the portal. Furthermore, the government plans to start a poster campaign to raise awareness about the portal. Some of the leading brands who have been advertising job opportunities on the portal include Reliance, Amazon,  Kotak Mahindra, HDFC Bank, G4S Security, Aditya Birla Group, HDFC Bank, Flipkart, Amba Embroidery, Assam Tea, HDFC Life,  and Shangri La Hotel. 

As for the job roles, the employment minister of the Delhi Government said that the bulk of the requirement posted on the portal included teaching, infotech, human resources, computer hardware and delivery, warehousing, front-office management, business accounting, data entry, sales, marketing, back office processing, customer support, and administration.

  1. Gratuity entitlement without 5 years on the job could soon become a reality

Employment tenure, which was earlier long-term, is quickly being replaced by a time-period lasting 2-3 years. Seeing this trend, the Government of India is considering easing the requirement for gratuity payments.

Gratuity is an employee benefit that is given to employees by an employer for their service. As of today, the rule to receive gratuity is that an employee has to complete at least 5 years in service for one employer. The gratuity amount is equivalent to 15 days of pay in a year. If reports are to be believed, the government is being pushed to bring down the 5-year waiting period to 2-3 years.

A large section of workers all over the country have to wash their hands off gratuity due to increased risk to job security today and contractual work. Seeing this, many are in favour of the reduced waiting period and are pushing the government to implement it. Trade unions also believe that workers lose out on gratuity and companies, in-turn, save costs as they lay them off just before the end of their 5-year waiting periods.

According to reports, the reform can be implemented in two ways. Either the time is brought down for all or there is a proportional change for some sectors.

  1. Delhi Government’s ‘Rozgar Bazaar’ strikes a chord with the unemployed — 8.27 lakh job seekers register themselves on the portal

Rozgar Bazar, the Delhi Government-run job portal which was launched on 27th July has started off with a bang. According to the officials, as many as 8.27 lakh applicants have registered themselves on the platform. 

What’s interesting is that — even though people are losing jobs, businesses are partially resuming operations, and the number of Covid cases continue to spike — the number of vacancies and job opportunities on the portal far exceeds the number of applicants. There are reportedly 10+ lakh jobs posted by 6300+ employers on the portal.

The (reported) numbers — on the portal launched by Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal — bring much hope to a faltering economy and job security. Delhi was one of the worst-affected regions by the pandemic. Many businesses shut shop, migrant workers fled and life came to a standstill in the capital. The overwhelming response that the portal has received from jobseekers and employers in a span of just a few weeks is a welcome sign now that the lockdowns have been lifted.

  1. 24 lakh migrants registered for jobs, only 5000 were hired  

According to sources, officials from the Union Ministry of Skill Development recently informed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour that as many as 24 lakh migrant workers had voluntarily registered themselves on the ASEEM (Atmanirbhar Skilled Employer-Employee Mapping) portal by June end. 

The migrant workers had registered on the portal to seek employment across 116 districts. Reports say that the ministry informed the panel that of the 24 lakh, 2.1 lakh were adequately skilled for as many as 48,000 jobs, but only 5,000 were ultimately hired.

The measly figure of 5,000 is understood to be the direct result of various reasons, one of which is low wages being offered that are not in line with the skills of the workers. The other possible reasons include job roles not matching the skills and employer terms and conditions of employment that require jobseekers to undergo training in another state before being hired.

  1. Low employment under MNREGA in July 2020, but still better than July 2019  

The Union Ministry of Skill Development informed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour about the employment opportunities provided to migrant workers through MGNREGA in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh. According to them, while employment under MNREGA in the states for the months of April, May, and June was high, the numbers dipped in the month of July. They attributed the drop in figures to the monsoon season when work is limited and claimed that it was three times higher than July 2019 figures.

It’s important to note that with the onset of the pandemic, the union budget allocated INR 61,000 Crore to MNREGA. Furthermore, the Modi Government also made an announcement to present an additional INR 40,000 crore. The ministry also informed the panel that various states have been asked to utilise the funds under MNREGA.

When asked by the committee what was being done to provide employment opportunities to workers outside Panchayats, the ministry claimed that although the old rule is still in practice, their government has provided job cards to migrant workers in their respective Panchayats.

July Update

  1. The same number of hires as last year? More or less, says TCS

Despite the drop in revenue due to the pandemic, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) says that it plans to hire around 40,000 fresh graduates which are almost the same as the previous year. According to them, the number of hires, based on their final decision, might float just below or above 40,000.

Not only that, but they also plan to conduct US placements and hire 2,000 to lessen the dependence on the hard-to-get L-1 and H1-B work visas. TCS has hired over 24,000 freshers and experienced candidates from tech and management schools in the US since 2014.

Giving more insights into their hiring practices in India, the IT and consulting giant said that of the 40,000 hired last year, 87% are active on their learning platform, over 8,000 have finished one or more digital certifications before joining, and between 8,000-11,000 undertake online assessments on a weekly basis.

  1. Only a few techies get jobs that pay over INR 8 lakhs    

According to industry studies, tech institutes in India produce almost 15 lakh engineering graduates every year. And amongst them, only about 2.5 lakh engineers bag relevant jobs in the tech industry. 

Furthermore, the software domain offers close to 2.2 lakh jobs out of which 1.8 lakh jobs in the IT sector provide a salary package between 3-5 lakh per annum. The dearth of industry-ready skills, as specified by experts, is the reason behind such numbers in the industry.

Employment and compensation data collated by such studies also puts a spotlight on the number of freshers who receive decent offers. As per the information, of all the engineering jobs only about 40,000 jobs offer learning potential and packages ranging between 8-10 lakhs per annum; equivalent to almost 3% of the 15 lakh engineering graduates. And this 3% are candidates from Tier 1 colleges which means that candidates from Tier 2 and Tier 3 colleges aren’t getting equal opportunities and that the remaining 12.5 lakh graduates have to settle for non-technical jobs. 

  1. Indian US graduates increasingly looking for jobs in India

The jobs crisis in the US and restrictions on work visas has led to more Indian US graduates looking for job opportunities in India. Sources say that some of the sectors they’re applying to include edtech and gaming which have been witnessing massive growth and popularity since the last couple of months.

According to information made public by a firm, they now receive close to 3000-5000 resumes every month of which 60-70% are open to positions in India. The number of resumes now as compared to pre-COVID levels have risen by 30-40%. Indian nationals are now interested in returning to India for jobs. This observation is reinforced by the fact that less than 1% or 100 candidates enquired about open positions in India last year.  

  1. Women working remotely experiencing anxiety, stress and lack of motivation 

4 in 10 women are dealing with high levels of anxiety, stress, and lack of motivation according to a survey which collected responses from 250 women across Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, and Hyderabad.

The survey found that even though men at home are lending a helping hand, they’re not doing enough resulting in more stress for women at home. Moreover, 67% of managers respect timings and 33% don’t. The burden of having to balance household chores and increased workload is taking a toll on their mental health, with 50% experiencing motivation challenges which, in turn, has led to 75% of women taking more time to finish their tasks.

What’s more, given the current scenario where 55% of job losses have occurred for women, they’re not willing to speak up about issues regarding work-life balance.   

  1. Airtel working with NSDC to train youth in the financial sector

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has partnered with Airtel Payments bank to train the youth in rural and semi-urban areas for employment opportunities in the financial sector.  The programme which aims to focus on skills development for the youth uses the collective expertise of NSDC’s infrastructure, experience, network and Airtel’s industry insights.

The collaboration has the objective of training youth for entry-level job roles such as field sales executive and business correspondent. Given the ever-rising usage of 4G services and smartphones in India, the programme has emphasized digital financial and online banking services. Furthermore, the programme will also extend to NSDC’s e-Skill India initiative and create awareness about digital financial services through learning modules.

  1. Portal being developed for blue and grey collar workers

As a result of the mass exodus of migrant workers from cities and them losing their means of livelihood due to the pandemic, NITI Aayog is coming up with a portal that will connect almost 200 workers with employers.

A total of 7 digital products are being developed by NITI Aayog. Of these, is Unnati, a job portal being developed through a private-public partnership where the government will act as the trustee, owner of personal data. Moreover, they will also authorise the operations, ensure data protection, and decide which external third-party, if required, will have access to the information.

The other product is the Swasth app which is a telemedicine platform, seemingly capable of  delivering healthcare facilities. The government is leveraging Artificial Intelligence to develop products (portals, interfaces, and apps) for digital KYC verifications, unified logistics, exchange and usage of agricultural data, benefits to businesses, higher education to everyone, and lending to individuals belonging to the low middle-income class.

  1. Jobless: 66% of Fresh Campus Graduates

A recent survey with close to 1300 college graduates as respondents shows a worrying sign — 66% of graduates do not have job offers. What’s more, of the 33% who have graduated, offers have been rolled back and postponed for 9% and 44% of the respondents respectively.

The survey also says that placement opportunities for the year 2020 have been affected for 82% of the colleges. The credit, of course, goes to the pandemic which has impacted internship offers for 74% of students just entering their final years.

Candidates though are not losing hope. 17% have turned to referrals for employment and others are seeking the help of alumni. Furthermore, 70% have signed up for online courses.

  1. Covid-19 To Wipe Out 340 Million Full-time Jobs?

So says the report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). As much as 11.9% of global working hours, which is equivalent to 340 million jobs, will be lost if another Covid-19 wave hits according to ILO.

Not only that, the report also says that as many as 400 million full-time jobs, which again is equivalent to a 14% dip in global working hours, was lost during the second quarter of 2020. They also warned that recovery in the second half of the year will not be enough to reinstate global working hours recorded before the  pandemic.

The pessimistic forecast of the ILO’s report suggests that challenges in the second half will continue and full-time jobs will be lost despite the responses and changes in policies. Suspecting another upsurge in Covid-19 cases and enforced lockdowns, the forecast also predicts a slow recovery. The work time losses for the 1st quarter especially in developing economies are evident from the figures released by the ILO: Africa (12.1%), Arab States (13.2%), Asia Pacific (13.5%), Central Asia and Europe (13.9%), Americas (18.3%).

  1. Skills Training and Certifications for Migrant Workers 

As many as 3 lakh migrant workers in 116 districts across 6 states are in line to receive skills training and certifications in the next 125 days. 1.5 lakh workers will receive certification under the RPL programme and the rest will be trained under STT.  

The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) certification involves training for 12-80 hours whereas Short Term Training (STT) typically takes 300-500 hours for fresh skill training for various job roles.

In an effort to provide employment to migrant workers in their home states, the Ministry of Skill Development And Entrepreneurship (MSDE) plans to spend a portion of the INR 12,000 crore package allocated for the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal initiative.

As per the sources, training is to be imparted after the states share a list of the migrant workers willing to stay in their respective districts for a year with the GOI, and forward a categorization of various job roles to National Skill Development Corporation. The ministry has also directed districts to forward information about job opportunities and employers with more than 30 workers so that atleast 2.5% of the workforce can be engaged under the Apprenticeship Act.

  1. Amazon India offers 20,000 seasonal opportunities 

As many 20,000 temporary employment opportunities are being offered by Amazon India’s customer service wing. In a bid to improve online shopping experience in India and worldwide, Amazon India in its recent statement said that these opportunities will be created in cities such as Hyderabad, Mangalaore, Kolkata, Jaipur, Noida, Coimbatore, Pune, Lucknow, Bhopal, Indore and Chandigarh within the next 6 months.

Given the state of the pandemic and the reluctance of employees to leave their homes for work, Amazon India said that most of the opportunities created will be under their Virtual Assistance program that offers flexible work-from-home options. 

This announcement comes on the back of Amazon’s initiative in May to hire as many as 50,000 personnel in their warehousing and delivery networks.

  1. High labour supply will narrow the urban-rural wages gap 

After studying the data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), experts are of the opinion that with supply of labour in excess without much demand, wages in urban settings will plummet and soon catch up with rural numbers. According to CMIE, with no jobs in urban areas where cost of living is much higher than rural areas, workers either migrated back to their homelands or dropped wages and found odd jobs to survive. 

Unemployment rates also dipped from 38.4% in the previous week to 37.8% in the last week — ending June 28 —whereas labour participation fell from 42% to 41.4%. The data released by the CMIE also recorded 30-day moving averages for both rural and urban employment at 10.6% and 12.4% respectively which resulted in the unemployment rate of India recording 11.1% on June 29.

  1. Reopening of offices records increased demand for housekeeping staff

With more offices opening up, companies have started demanding candidates for housekeeping, security, facility management, and office administration. And human capital management companies have already started hiring, onboarding, and managing such blue-collar personnel for various companies.

The same companies are witnessing a revival in hiring. The hiring numbers in the month of April which stood at a couple of thousands is now quickly gathering pace and hitting pre-covid figures.

According to them, it’s not only facility management and housekeeping that are in demand. Sectors like e-commerce and food delivery which faced a delivery staff shortage of 25% are quickly strengthening their workforce. The growth projection for delivery staff which was earlier 25% is slated for a 10-12% increase as a direct result of the increased demand from the e-commerce sector and non-e-commerce sectors trying to build their own logistics teams.

  1. Improved demand for freshers in white-collar jobs

According to job portals, white collar jobs for freshers are increasing. But, the need for talent still lags 30-60% behind pre-covid numbers. The lockdown, layoffs, and the economic slowdown resulted in more than 70% decline in hiring. However, hiring trends have regained momentum since Unlock 1.0.

Fresher jobs now are at two-thirds the pre-covid figures. And this will ultimately result in some of the freshers being left out or needing to compete at the highest levels through reskilling/upskilling to get job offers. 

The industries/sectors posting the maximum number of fresher jobs for candidates with 0-2 years of experience include the likes of BFSI, banking, healthcare, IT-software, ITeS, BPO, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and financial services, said the job portals with companies like, Tesco, NTT, Reliance Industries, Simplilearn, HCL Technologies, Bajaj Capital, Amazon, Paytm, Muthoot Finance, Wipro, IBM India, Accenture,WNS Global, Microland, Ernst & Young Global Business Services, Tech Mahindra, Dell and Mphasis hiring. 

As for the in-demand roles, the companies are on the lookout for IT software developers and engineers, sales and marketing executives, data entry operators, telecallers, and back office staff.

June 2020 update

      1. E-commerce, delivery and other sectors witness hiring trends

There is a demand for a workforce after the lifting of lockdown and a shortage of migrant workers. According to reports, the following sectors are witnessing an escalation in hiring:

      • Education
      • Delivery and e-commerce
      • Laptop and tablet manufacturers
      • Processed food
      • Pharma and healthcare
      • IT and ITes
      • Security management
      • Safety gear & personal hygiene product manufacturers

In the last 2 months alone, Wildcraft has hired over 30,000 and plans to add another 70,000 to their workforce directly or through third-party payroll. Online meat delivery startup Licious has hired 300 individuals since the lockdown. According to their co-founder Vikas Gupta, Licious lost 50% of their workforce (delivery and backend operations) when the lockdown started. Now, their workforce is 2,000 and counting.

E-commerce too hasn’t slowed down their hiring plans either. As a result of increased online demand and the festive seasons starting in August, Amazon last month hired 50,000 workers for their fulfilment centres and delivery network. Flipkart too are honouring their hiring commitments, providing internships, and adding last-mile delivery executives to their workforce.

      1. Virtual hiring cuts down on the time taken to hire top-level executives

According to search firms, the time taken to fill leadership positions in companies has been cut down to half. The credit goes to online interviews and remote working amidst the pandemic, which according to them has also saved time and reduced travel fatigue for employers and candidates.

With international travel suspended, the selection process moving online, and cutting down on the time needed to coordinate and schedule interviews between the candidates and the company’s leadership executives, the search for candidates has reduced. Another search partner said that in-person meetings have boiled down to only 3 or 4 virtual meetings.

While many are still experimenting with the online model of hiring, they are of the belief that it will continue post the pandemic.

      1. Covid-19 and data privacy: Cyber Security jobs in demand

The pandemic, lockdown and the trend of remote work has resulted in companies finding ways to protect their environment against data breaches. Employment agencies and portals now report that this has led to atleast 30% increase in job searches related to cyber security. Moreover, job postings under this category have increased by 6%, especially between April-May 2020.

Between Feb-May, software development job postings and searches also increased by 13% and 37% respectively. As for the age group, the most number of searches are conducted by people aged between 25-29 years, closely followed by 20-24 and 30-34-year-olds. It’s the millennials and Gen-Zs — who are just joining the workforce — that show the most interest for cyber security jobs.

      1. Jobs continue to be revoked and deferred at B-schools across India

As many as 58 job offers have been revoked by leading B-schools in India, which includes the old and new IIMs and NMIMS. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the numbers are more than usual, say the placement officials from the institutes.

As per the report, the recruiters which belong to fin-tech, ed-tech, startups, hospitality, automobile sector have either revoked offers or deferred the date of joining. 

In the report, a senior official from an old IIM said that the joinings have been deferred to October; earlier candidates would join by May-June. This, according to him, is most concerning as a majority of the students study on loan who must start paying their EMIs before drawing income from their new jobs.

Candidates with revoked offers and deferred date-of-joining are either looking for other jobs with the help of the institute or turning to professional sites like LinkedIN. Institutes are also tapping into their respective alumni networks to get their students placed.

          1. Atleast 21 million employed in May 2020 due to partial lifting of lockdown

According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), more than 21 million were employed in May 2020 following the partial lifting of the lockdown. However, this improvement in employment was restricted to wage labourers, self-employed, and small traders.

Employment data collated by the CMIE for the last week of May showed that:

          • The unemployment rate dipped to its lowest figure since lockdown (20.2%)
          • Employment rate spiked to its highest (30.9%)
          • The labour participation rate increased to 38.7%

    Data for the entire month had the following insights:

          • The unemployment rate for May stood at 23.5% (same as April)
          • 2% improvement in employment rate; 27.2% in April  to 27.9% in May
          • 2.6% gain in labour participation; 35.6% in April to 38.2% in May
          • A decline in salaried jobs; 68.4 million in April to 68.3 million in May
          • 5.5 million jobs in businesspersons/self-employed category in May (9.3%)
          • 14.4 million out of 21 million jobs for small traders & wage labourers (39%)
          • 1.4 million jobs in agriculture/farm sector in May as compared to April (1.2%)
          • Employment in May at 303 million; average workforce in 2019-20 at 404 million — 100 million out of jobs which were better off than April’ figures which stood at 282 million signalling 122 million individuals out of jobs
          1. SWADES initiative under the Vande Bharat Mission kicks off

To help the India returnees who have lost jobs due to the shutdown of several companies across the globe, the government has kicked off its skill mapping exercise under the Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support (SWADES) initiative.

This exercise plans to register only those returnees who have come back to India under the  Vande Bharat Mission. A majority of the returnees belong to states like Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh. They’re employed in sectors such as oil and gas, aviation, IT & ITestourism and hospitality, and construction in Gulf countries, primarily Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and UAE.

The objective of this programme is to build a database of such returning individuals listing their skills and work experience so that they can be employed by Indian and foreign companies. The returnees have to fill up a SWADES skill form, post which they will be issued SWADES skill cards. The collected database will then be shared by the government with companies.

So far, 35,000 Indians have returned under the Vande Bharat Mission. One of the objectives of the mission is to bring Indians back safely from the aforementioned gulf countries where atleast 80 lakh Indians reside.  

          1. Companies laying off employees and helping them find jobs

Layoffs have been a staple for many companies ever since Covid-19 hit the shores. While it’s not good news at all, some companies are making an effort to help them find jobs.

Swiggy, for example, recently gave pink slips to 1100 of their employees. But they’ve also been busy working with outplacement agencies to place their ex-employees. Many businesses have had to let go of their employees due to a downturn in business. Some of the brands who have resorted to layoffs include Zomato, Makemytrip, Uber India, Cure.fit, Oyo, Ola, Lendingkart, Airbnb, and Sharechat. 

According to outplacement agencies, who say that their growth is 30% annually, say that although layoffs are happening, other companies are hiring. An initiative by businesses to place such candidates brings a huge sigh of relief as most companies do it free of cost.

In fact, partnering with outplacement services isn’t the only initiative they’re undertaking. Swiggy, for example, are helping former employees revamp their resumes and are offering counselling services, expenses for communication, and medical insurance.

          1. Only 5% of companies in India have plans to hire in the July-September quarter  

According to reports, 5% of  Corporate India has plans to hire in the July-September quarter. Moreover, 2% expect a decrease in their headcount. On account of the uncertainties created by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the survey — which recorded the response of 693 companies in India — reported 46% of companies unsure about their plans and 47% anticipating no change in their payroll.

Taking these numbers into consideration, the net employment outlook stands at 3% which gains another +2% — taking seasonal variations into account — bringing the total to +5%.

The net employment outlook is the difference between companies with hiring intentions and those expecting a decrease in headcount.

The outlook has been weakest since the survey began 15 years ago. Moreover, it has lost ground by 9% points on year and by 7% points since the last quarter.

          1. Manufacturing and services not the sectors to drive job market in Q3

Finance, mining & construction, real estate and insurance will be the major sectors driving the jobs market in Q3 (July-September); so says a survey with responses collected from 695 employers. 

And that’s not all. Manufacturing and services sectors also show the weakest trends in the coming quarter. As per the same survey report, wholesale and retail trade segments were affected the most by Covid-19 and the ensuing lockdowns; 88% of them reported facing challenges as a  result of the pandemic. The survey also added that North and South India projected positive hiring trends, which were comparatively better than the trends projected by India’s Eastern and Western regions.

          1. Amazon India to add 50,000 seasonal roles

With life returning to normalcy outside the containment zones, e-commerce giant Amazon India plans to create 50,000 temporary roles in its networking and warehousing divisions.

In the official statement released on May 29, 2020,  the company announced that these (temporary) jobs are being created to meet the sudden demand by people out in the public. Furthermore, this move is aimed to create a mix of different roles in the aforementioned divisions and as part-time, flexible independent contractors under the Amazon Flex programme.

          1. Government Payroll Data indicates formal sector jobs dipped by 44%

The recent payroll data released by the Government of India indicated that March was the worst month for formal job creation in 2019-20. As per the data, jobs added in ESIC witnessed a dip of 30.6% in March against February whereas jobs in EPFO dipped by almost 44% in the same month as compared to February.

The report — which assimilates payroll data of new subscribers for various social security schemes run by EPFO, ESIC, and PFRDA — also shows the addition of new subscribers belonging to Central, State governments and the private sectors under the National Pension Scheme. As many as 87,877 signed up under NPS in March against 60,002 in February, indicating a 46.6% increase.

          1. Demand for remote work increases by 377% between February-May

According to a recent finding, the search for remote work opportunities by job seekers was indexed at over 377% between February and March 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surge in search terms such as ‘work from home’, ‘remote’ and other related keywords. The report also indicated that job postings for telecommuting or remote work have soared by 168%.

          1. 60% of HRs favour virtual work post lockdown

Having entered Unlock – I, the first phase of the end of the lockdown scenario across India,  almost 44% of HR managers say that they’re willing to call 30-40% employees back to offices. The report surveyed more than 1350 HR managers and senior leadership across multiple industries and found out that out of 10 HR managers atleast 6 are going to stick to virtual work even after lockdown. 

The report also indicated that 27% of companies have already implemented changes to support remote work, 23% are investing in collaboration tools to improve communication for WFH scenarios, and another 20% are in the process of integrating tools and platforms for their remote employees.

The other findings from the survey based on feedback from the respondents were as follows:

          • 74%: Employee queries about job cuts and salaries
          • 13%: Employee queries about workplace policies
          • 25%: Managing workforce productivity
          • 23%: Ensuring uninterrupted work experience for employees
          • 19%: Enabling provisions for the financial and mental wellbeing of employees

May Update 2020

          1. Construction Sector in India Feeling the Unemployment Crunch

Touted as the largest creator of jobs in India, the construction sector is facing a labour crisis. Ever since the lockdown began, millions of workers have been forced to hang up their boots and head home. 

Although the Modi Government has allowed certain economic activities to begin, the air of uncertainty caused by Covid-19 doesn’t look like it’s going to dissipate anytime soon. The workers in the construction sector understand this and want to head back home to be with their families. 

‘’Despite providing hygienic conditions, masks, and provisions for food the workers are not willing to return to the (construction) sites”, said one of the employers.

The sector hasn’t had it easy since 2016; demonetisation, garbled reforms in taxation, and now this lockdown has choked cashflow which, according to some experts, will push the migrant workers to head home.

According to Amit Modi, CREDAI President: “Unless there is a resumption in the whole supply chain management of the industries feeding into the real estate sector, the process of construction will again come to halt in the next few weeks.” 

          1. April ‘19 vs April ‘20: Hiring Declines by 62%

According to a recent survey, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, hiring in April 2020 has tumbled by 62% as compared to April 2019. The jobs market in cities also plunged with Delhi leading the way with 70%, followed by Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai each registering 62%, 60% and 60% dips respectively.

As for the industry-wise figures, hospitality (airline, restaurant, hotel, and travel) witnessed a 91% decline closely followed by auto, retail, accounting and finance — 82%, 77%, 70% respectively.

Some industries fared better. 

Dip in insurance stood at 42% whereas IT & software services recorded 49%, and Pharma, biotech, clinical research, 54%.

Covid-19 also plunged figures for hiring across various experience bands.

            • Entry-level executives with 0-3 years of experience — 67% ↓ 
            • Senior-level executives with 4-7 years of experience — 62%  
            • Middle management roles with 8-12 years of experience — 55%  
            • Senior management roles with 13-16 years of experience — 53%  
            • Leadership roles with 16 or more years of experience — 50%
          1. Some Good News: Most Employers Want To Retain Employees Post Covid-19

The world, as we know it, has been turned upside down by the novel coronavirus. And at a time when there is a threat of a global recession looming and people losing jobs, there seems to be some good news coming out of the employers’ circle.

A recently conducted survey with over 1200 management-level respondents across various industries hints that 81% of them are keen to carry on work with the current workforce at their disposal. What’s more, they want to retain them.

The report also indicates that 15% of the respondents will go in for replacement hiring, 53% will not recruit new employees, and 10% believe that there will be new job opportunities.

It’s all not smiles though for employees.

Speaking of increments and bonuses, 61% are against the favour of increments and 27% and 11% are of the opinion that increments will be 5% and between 5-10% respectively. Moreover, 21% of respondents anticipate layoffs for junior, mid and senior-level employees with the first more susceptible to job cuts than the other two. 

          1. Back To Work? More than 90% of Employees Distressed About Resuming Office

Should the world stop spinning given the aptly demonised Covid-19 scenario? Yes and No. It’s a situation of getting caught between a rock and a hard place for all. On one hand, you have a life-threatening condition and a plummeting economy on the other.

Lockdowns have been successful to some degree. but how long can it go on? The Central and state governments are not waiting to find out. Although the nation is experiencing— supposedly — the last leg of the lockdown, the GOI has partially relaxed it and asked member states to open up, albeit carefully. 

On account of this go-ahead from the Central Government of India, several state governments are resuming certain economic activities and companies have already started communicating with employees about staggered callbacks.

But how do the workers feel about it?

Well, a study recorded feedback from 560 India Inc employees from several industries spread across Bangalore, Delhi-NCR, and Mumbai. More than 93% of the respondents say that they’re anxious about going back to work as the health risks are far too great.

By now people are all too familiar with the health, safety, and workplace norms and know what they have to do. But the survey suggests something else too — employers must take complete responsibility to ensure the safety and health of the employees. In fact, 99% of employees want the government to make Corporate Health Responsibility (CHR) — similar to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) — mandatory for all employers.

What’s more, 85% want employers to follow through safety, hygiene, and health standards at the workplace and come up with new ways to ensure the health and safety of employees at work. The survey also touched upon employee compliance: 8 in 10 employees willing to participate in employer-led activities to monitor employee health and 18% willing to comply if the employer can assure data privacy.

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Rishabh Ranjan
Rishabh Ranjan

I have 10 years of experience in SEO, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, and have knowledge in topics like tax, HR, Recruitment & Staffing. When I’m not doing what I do, I suit up, flick the ignition on my bike, and hit the road. But soon enough, I’m back doing what I do best — researching, writing, marketing, and optimizing the content & website.

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