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Randstad CEO: There's a surge of hiring activity in India

But HR service provider Randstad says the "cost-arbitrage" factor which made the country popular has reduced

Salil Panchal
Published: May 4, 2015 06:19:38 AM IST
Updated: Apr 30, 2015 06:39:47 PM IST
Randstad CEO: There's a surge of hiring activity in India
Image: Joshua Navalkar
Moorthy K Uppaluri, chief executive officer, Randstad India

Hiring activity in India has started to pick up rapidly, especially in fields like sales, information technology (IT), trade marketing and banking, and is likely to continue through the year, says Randstad, the world’s second largest HR service provider. In an interview with Forbes India, Moorthy K Uppaluri, chief executive officer, Randstad India, says that his firm has witnessed a “surge of activity” in recent months. “Clients are asking us about proposals; mandates are opening up for permanent recruitments and extension or expansion of contracts on flexible jobs—where the employee would be on Randstad rolls—which would provide these resources to clients,” he says.

Several sectors including technology, ITES (information technology enabled services) and multinationals, for expat-related jobs, have also started looking for fresh recruits. Apart from top IT companies, in recent months, ecommerce firms and public and private sector banks have all been busy looking to hire people. However, according to analysts, a discernable trend in the software sector is that bulk hiring of engineers and freshers has come down; recruitment is now need-based and to fill niche segments.

In IT-related recruitment activity, Randstad is seeing more demand for recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), where an employer often seeks to fill up thousands of jobs quickly. It is when an employer outsources or transfers all its recruitment needs to an external service provider. RPO business for Randstad India grew by 120 percent in the 12 months to December 2014 since 2013. “We see great momentum in our RPO business and it is definitely the fastest growing business vertical in 2015,” says Uppaluri, adding that it could constitute more than a quarter of Randstad India’s permanent business by this December.

The hiring of expats is also on the rise. At present, an average of 30,000 to 35,000 expats work in India. “This number is set to increase by around 10 to 15 percent, as India returns to a path of economic growth,” he adds.

Uppaluri says India will continue to be an attractive market, but the “cost-arbitrage” factor which made the country popular for companies—as jobs were outsourced to save costs—has diminished. “Factors like high inflation, attrition levels, talent mobility and rising aspirations of the youth will be difficult factors for companies to deal with,” he says.

Randstad highlights another trend common to Indian companies: Recruiters only look for a ‘job fix’, that is, when they have a job, they identify, interview and finalise the recruitment. They do not complete the other two aspects of recruitment: Boss and company fit, where the potential employee gets a clearer assessment about his employers.

Globally, Randstad is involved in the staffing of 600,000 people every day, 10 percent of which are in India. But currently, the Indian market contributes only two percent to Randstad’s total global revenues of €17.24 billion. The Dutch multinational firm has around 1,800 active clients in India, about 90 percent of which are from IT, manufacturing, energy, pharmaceuticals, business/finance and consumer goods/retail sector. While declining to give details of Randstad India’s performance, Uppaluri says that revenues have been growing at a compound annual growth rate of 35 percent over the past five years.

(This story appears in the 15 May, 2015 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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