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The hiring activity in India is projected to slow for the sixth consecutive quarter, according to a new survey.
Manpower Group Employment Outlook conducted a survey of 4,910 employers across India and found that 61 percent of respondents plan on maintaining the same number of employees in the next three months. Though 16 percent indicated an intention to increase hiring, this rate is at a considerably slower pace compared to last year’s July-September numbers.
After factoring in the percentage of employers with intentions to reduce worker headcount in the next three months, Manpower reports a net employment outlook of +14 percent - a sharp drop from the +22 percent reported in the same quarter in 2016.
“Although India’s outlook is comparatively optimistic when measured against the majority of countries and territories participating in the survey, the third-quarter forecast (July-September time frame) is the least optimistic since the survey was launched in 2005,” says the report.
The survey suggests that the top hiring sectors in the next quarter will include the wholesale and retail trade sectors, the education sector, and transportation and utilities sectors. Manufacturing and finance insurance, on the other hand, are projecting comparatively weaker hiring trends. The manufacturing sector projects a particularly steep drop, with Manpower estimating a +9 percent net employment outlook compared to the +19 percent outlook in the last quarter.
The Manpower survey also reports sharp drops in hiring rates in the South, East and West of India. Though the South region indicates the strongest labor market forecast with a net employment outlook of +21 percent, this number is still 6 percentage points lower than the previous quarter.
AG Rao, Group Managing Director of ManpowerGroup India, cited the uncertainty in the current global market as explanation for the reduced projections. “In the wake of uncertainties in global markets, employers in India are adopting a wait-and-watch policy,” Rao said.
With an ever-increasing technological emphasis in the modern economy, Rao added that Indian employers must respond to the changing business requirements. “It is important for Indian employers to redefine their workforce strategies and adopt innovative ways to leverage the strength of their employees and stay competitive in an increasingly volatile economy,” AG Rao stated.
Some groups are reporting similar survey results, but with a more optimistic spin. Professional recruitment consultancy group Michael Page International Recruitment stated that “a huge majority (80 per cent) of employers surveyed say hiring activity will range from steady to strong over the next 12 months — numbers that are higher than the Asia average.” Michael Page suggested that hiring will continue despite the global economic slowdown due to the continued increases in foreign direct investment.
This emphasis on India’s IT sector comes at a time when diplomatic developments with the US are geared to complicate India’s outsourcing employment relationships with American technological companies. US president Donald Trump has declared time and time again his intention to keep jobs on the hands of American citizens, and a recent memo released by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services echoed these sentiments, putting into place potential changes to American visa policy that could bar thousands of Indian IT workers from working on US soil.
With a meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Donald Trump planned at the White House on June 26, the details of these important policy changes will likely be a priority.
Meanwhile, Indian employers continue their quarter-to-quarter trend of reduced employment opportunities, and though an aspiring Indian worker’s prospects remain optimistic compared to most countries who participated in the survey, they lag behind the employment availabilities in many Western countries.