Global slowdown has dampened hiring prospects of India Inc, causing its outlook to hit the lowest ebb, with only 19 per cent employers having positive recruitment plans in the next three months, according to global staffing services firm Manpower.
This is the weakest outlook observed in India since the survey began in Q3 2005. This outlook represents considerable decrease of 24 percentage points quarter-on-quarter and 27 percentage points year-on-year, the Manpower employment outlook survey for the first quarter of 2009 said.
With this drastic fall, India has lost its top position after two consecutive quarters. Employers in India now report the second strongest hiring intentions globally, next to Peru, which has reported a net employment outlook of 24 per cent.
"Though hiring intentions remain positive, Indian employers are reporting a much slower hiring pace as compared to the last quarter and year. Employers in all the seven industry sectors and four regions have reported considerable decline in anticipated hiring activity for the first quarter of the New Year," Manpower India managing director Naresh Malhan said.
Responding to a query as to when will there be a sign of recovery, Malhan said: "The amount of damage done to the world economy is still uncertain. It will be another 4-6 months, by the time we get to know when the recovery will start. It will get worse before it gets better. Considering the present situation, it is unlikely to improve in the next few quarters."
India is getting into a doom loop, but the country can get out of it with sufficient support from the government as well as private firms, Malhan added.
It is not an outright blanket ban on hiring plans. There is just a slowdown. Companies with robust plans are willing to go ahead, so opportunities are still there. At present, it is a question of re-prioritisation, he said.
"The times may seem challenging but the employment scenario in the country is not as gloomy as the rest of the world and according to the survey, India will be one of the most actively hiring nations for Q1 '09," Malhan added.
However, recruiting confidence among employers in India is the strongest of all the eight countries and territories surveyed across the Asia-Pacific region for Q1 2009.
Of the 3,557 employers surveyed, 22 per cent expect an increase in staffing levels in the first quarter of 2009, four per cent anticipate a decrease, and 63 per cent are expecting no change.
Sectoral analysis shows employers in the services sector as well as the mining and construction sector are expecting the most active hiring environment in the coming quarter with a net employment outlook of 23 per cent.
While, wholesale and retail trade employers reported the least optimistic hiring intentions with a net employment outlook of 11 per cent.
A regional analysis shows that employers in all four regions in India anticipate positive hiring activity over the next three months though all indicate a sharp decline in hiring intentions compared with last quarter and year.
Hiring plans are strongest in East India, with a net employment outlook of 20 per cent. For South India it is 19 per cent. The weakest hiring intentions are reported by employers in West and North India, each reporting the net employment outlook of 18 per cent.
As per the global results, employers in 25 of 33 surveyed countries and territories still expect positive hiring activity in the coming quarter. However, those in 30 say they would slow the pace of hiring from three months ago.