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Hiring activity in the country has been a mixed bag with sectors such as Construction, Insurance, Oil & Gas and ITES going slow on their hiring plans, but others like Auto and Pharma continuing to hire fresh talent. Most industries have started feeling the brunt of a slowdown with sectors like Construction, ITES, Oil & Gas and Insurance witnessing a 17%, 10%, 8% and 6% dip in hiring levels in June-12 when compared to the same time a year ago. Software Services, Banking and Pharma sector however has seen their hiring levels pick up by 9%, 16% and 19% respectively in June-12 over June-11. Auto and the Heavy machinery sector has seen hiring numbers similar to what it was last year.
The unemployment rate stood at 3.8 percent in the last financial year, according to the annual survey by the Labour Bureau. This was a steep decline in comparison with the earlier survey which found the rate to be 9.4 percent. The difference was due to the sample size. Unemployment in rural areas was at 3.4 percent and 5 percent for urban areas. The majority of those earning a livelihood were self-employed or casual labour. About 48.6 percent were self-employed and 31 percent were casual labourers. DS Kolamkar, director general of the bureau, said the high rates of self-employment were striking. The survey was done to assess the impact of global economic events. Joblessness in India was found to be much lower than global trends. Data was collected from a sample of 128,298 households.
Trends in IT hiring and benching will be keenly watched amid expectations of muted first quarter growth. Infosys, along with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), will be the first to report numbers that may not be as anticipated because of the slowdown. Infosys is expected to pare the revenue guidance for the current financial year to 7 percent to 9 percent from the 8 percent to 9 percent forecast at the end of FY12. Analysts expect Wipro Technologies to clock 1 percent growth over the previous quarter. TCS and HCL Technologies are expected to grow 4 percent. Pankaj Kapoor and Apoorva Oza, analysts at Standard Chartered, expect muted revenue growth at Infosys and Wipro despite a strong Q1. Macroeconomic conditions in both the U.S. and Europe may continue to affect the industry, with outsourcers delaying decisions on technology spending.
Yes Bank is on a recruitment drive and plans to add 7,100 people in the next three years. The bank is going retail in a big way and is adding to its workforce and branch network. It expects its employee strength to grow to 7,200 in 2012-13, which means an addition of 1,500 people in the current year. Federal Bank is also planning to hire between 1,200 and 1,400 people this year. The bank currently has 978 branches and is expected to hit the 1,000 mark soon. The plan this year is to add 150-200 branches. Meanwhile, medical technologies and services provider GE Healthcare will hire 400 people in India by December. Half of these will be recruited for its R&D centre in Bangalore. The company’s India revenues grew 25 percent last year.
Telecom tower company GTL may be planning to lay off 1,500 employees as it seeks to cut costs and service its debt. A set of employees has reportedly been asked to leave by July 31 and another set by August 31. The company has 35,000 employees. It has closed down several units and has undertaken a massive downsizing drive. A GTL official denied any large-scale lay-off and said the churning was due to a shift in focus to the power business. GTL is under a corporate debt restructuring scheme, under which it can repay its Rs 6,000 crore debt at 11 percent interest rate over eight years. It reported a loss of Rs 453 crore in 2011-12 and has been laying off people for the last five months. Half of its employees in Mumbai have quit.
Midsize IT firms are tweaking training programmes for the fresh engineering graduates they recruited this year. Bangalore-based MphasiS is planning to almost double its training duration from three months to six months. It will include the concept of blended learning this year, with domain training being introduced at the entry level, said Usha Subramanian, vice president and head, technical and domain learning. Organisations are increasingly acknowledging that engineers need to be trained in skills other than technical. NIIT Technologies has increased its training period by 20 percent since last year. This year, the focus will be on non-technical and soft skills. As the training period gets longer, salaries will get lower. Amit Bansal, CEO at PurpleLeap, an Educomp and Pearson joint venture, says a midsize IT company typically pays Rs 25,000 per month as salary but Rs 15,000 as stipend.
Industry is recruiting differently abled people in keeping with the spirit of “inclusion and diversity”. Sectors such as IT/ITeS, banking, financial services and insurance as well as retail and telecom are hiring staff with disabilities. They see two advantages, a diversified workforce and lower attrition rate. It also enhances the company’s brand image. Vidya Rao, programme manager, employment, EnAble India, says diversity is the buzzword in the recruitment space. Companies are also sensitising their employees. EnAble India is an NGO that trains persons with disabilities and prepares them to join the mainstream workforce. Wipro has been hiring between 80 and 100 employees with disabilities annually. It recruits candidates from technical and management campuses, direct enquiries and lateral hiring drives. Niranjan Khatri, general manager, Welcomenviron Initiatives, ITC Welcom Group, says the differently abled workforce performs very well if given niche opportunities.
The services sector grew at a moderate pace in June, recording eight months of growth, Financial Chronicle reports. HSBC’s services purchasing managers’ index, which gauges the activity of about 400 firms in India, dropped to 54.3 in June from 54.7 in May. However, it has topped 50 since November, signifying growth. Driven by domestic consumption, order flow was the strongest in four months. However, weak demand from the U.S., the euro zone and the U.K. does not bode well for Indian companies. Firms also added jobs at a faster pace in June to deal with the surge in new business and reduced backlogs. The jobs index for the services sector rose to 51.1 in June, from 50.5 in May. Businesses are relatively optimistic about the outlook for the coming 12 months, but sentiment has eased a bit from the previous month.
European technology, consulting and engineering specialist Alten Group is looking to boost its headcount in India. The company currently employs 800 engineers and plans to increase the number to 2,500 by 2016. Alten is focused on engineering research and development in aerospace, railways, energy, telecom and healthcare. It had a turnover of €1.07 billion. The company acquired Calsoft Labs in May 2011, enabling it to expand its expertise in telecom product engineering and cloud computing. Gerald Attia, deputy CEO, said it plans to make strategic acquisitions in India in wireless communications, VLSI design and big-data analytics. Alten expects growth in its India operations to ride on the increased use of electronics, demand for greater fuel efficiency, greater localisation and lack of availability of skilled personnel in advanced countries, Attia said.
The biotechnology sector is confronted with a unique problem. It has excess manpower, but lacks skilled people in certain areas. There is enough by way of numbers, but skilled manpower is in short supply, according to Nandita Chandavarkar, director operations of the Association of Biotechnology-Led Enterprises (ABLE). There is confusion regarding the definition of biotechnology, says Shyam Suryanarayan, CEO of HR firm C-Drive, which focuses on placements in the science sector. Biotechnology is only correlated with biopharma, but the field is in fact quite vast, covering biofuels, nutraceuticals, drug discovery, medical equipment and biosimilars. There is a need for courses and curriculum to suit the requirements of the different segments of the biotech industry. ABLE is planning to launch an online portal which will allow biotechnology students to gauge their skills.
Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance has picked Sunil Sharma as appointed actuary. He has worked with companies like Swiss Re and GE Financial Assurance, among others. He has experience of more than 21 years in life insurance and reinsurance practice areas in India, USA, UK and South East Asia.
World Bank CEO Jim Yong said the crisis in the eurozone was a serious threat to the global economy and European countries should act to restore stability. The world’s economy “remains highly vulnerable”, Yong said on the first day of his new job as CEO. He added that the World Bank had an economic and moral imperative to help address risks to global growth, no matter where they happen. When a crisis hits and no safety net is in place, the effects can be devastating. His immediate priority in the current volatility would be to assist developing countries maintain progress against poverty, he said. Mr. Yong’s predecessor Robert Zoellick too had pointed out a number of times the danger that the euro crisis and indecision among European leaders posed to the rest of the world.
Several students from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) are opting for jobs in institutions or organisations unrelated to their fields. Mundhadha, 18, a first-year electrical engineering student, has chosen not to intern with a traditional, core discipline-related company. Instead, he has joined a newspaper office. Sarvesh Kumar, 21, a third-year civil engineering student, has completed a two-month internship at an advertising agency this summer and is happy with the experience. The institute’s students are also venturing into the social sector. Avanti Fellows, a two-year-old non-profit group, has hosted a number of interns from IIT-B. The company helps poor children get admission into top medical and engineering institutions. Urjit Yajnik, dean of student affairs at IIT-B, says students put their analytical training into whatever they decide to do. The institute encourages them to pursue their aspirations.
Bank of America Corp has been cutting jobs in its commercial banking unit in recent weeks even as it tries to boost the group’s business, people familiar with the situation said, reflecting the bank’s broader struggles to grow in a tepid economy.The job cuts are the latest round in the bank’s cost-cutting program, known as Project New BAC, and focus on the unit that makes loans to mid-sized companies around the country. Analysts expect Bank of America to disclose more about the current round of New BAC when it posts earnings on July 18.