New Delhi: For those looking for jobs—at a time when recruitment has slowed and firms are letting go of people—it’s time to think creatively, say recruiters and hiring consultants.
For starters, consider sales and marketing positions, as these are the most stable in any sector. “When the chips are down, you need to have more people giving visibility, pushing products and services,” says Sampath Shetty, vice-president at staffing firm TeamLease Services Pvt. Ltd. This applies across industries, from retail to consumer products to media companies, he says.
Always in demand: Sarang Deshmukh, Fortis Hospital. Sudhanshu Malhotra / Mint
Second, don’t be scared of jobs that seem boring. “Recruiting for more mundane positions is going on right now; sales, back-end operations and customer service, voice and non-voice, for BPOs (business process outsourcing),” says A. Sudarsan, vice-president, marketing, at training company Expertus Inc.
Then there are the perennial, recession-proof industries, such as infrastructure that executes projects over years, and insurance, which has ramped up operations for the income-tax season and is pushing harder in rural markets.
The downturn can also provide a chance to try something new. “Though opportunities are bleak and lean at this point in time, it’s a good time to switch industries,” says TeamLease’s Shetty.
Switching industries can also mean going over to sectors that are new in India or different types of new roles. Look at hot sectors such as health, hospitality, media, entertainment and renewable energy, advises Yeshasvini Ramaswamy, director of human resources firm e2e People Practices Pvt. Ltd.
Regional media, for example, is growing faster than the local talent pool can staff it, says Ajay Ramanuja, who heads a broadcast consultancy Aj Impact Media Pvt. Ltd.
“One fixation in (the) past was that guys working here will have to be language specific, but not anymore,” says Ramanuja, referring to a dozen new Kannada and Telugu language channels which are recruiting from outside their home states.
Here are some other sectors which could see a spurt in hiring in 2009, albeit with new job profiles:
This is a booming sector but one that’s also looking for newer types of staff. In addition to the growth of specialized postgraduate programmes in streams that include health care and journalism, schools are also looking for new talent.
“As more and more Indians who stayed abroad are returning to India, there is space created for developing schools similar to what they experienced,” says Ramaswamy.
One such chain of schools, Indus World School run by education training institute Career Launcher India Ltd, doesn’t even hire teachers, rather, it hires mentors.
“We say we are taking care of the children or facilitating them,” says Rashmi Virendra, 33, who teaches Class I at Indus World School in Indore. Her experience as a teacher didn’t prepare her for this type of school, she says.
To find teachers that fit the bill, the school uses extensive psychometric tests to assess whether a candidate is a learner and how much they love children, says Gopal Karunakaran, vice-president of the school chain. With a different focus in the recruitment process, less than half the mentors hired have previous teaching experience.
A different role: Rashmi Virendra, Indus World School. Shankar Mourya / Mint
India’s market for renewable energy—solar, wind, hydropower and biofuels—is at $500 million (Rs2,450 crore) and growing by 25% a year. But without any existing talent pool, companies are recruiting from sectors such as consumer goods and finance.
Amit Kumar, director of renewable energy technologies at The Energy and Resources Institute, or Teri, identifies a talent gap in research (companies need physicists and engineers to develop new products), consulting (to advise state power authorities and ministries), manufacturing (engineers need to design plants) and operations (for technicians to maintain the plants). Even traditional roles are being revamped to fit the needs of the renewable energy industry. Rajendra Gupta launched products for telecom services provider Bharti Airtel Ltd and consumer goods maker Procter and Gamble Co. before moving six months ago to head the sales team at D.light Energy Pvt. Ltd, a solar energy start-up that sells lamps in rural areas.
“I was not aware that light is such a serious problem, the health hazards of kerosene, it gets on fire, and all sort of problems,” Gupta says, “but we came to know when we went to the rural market.”
D.light chief executive Sam Goldman says he plans to triple the company’s 20-person headcount in the next year. One position he is struggling to fill because it has little precedent in the Indian workforce; someone who can market renewable energy to consumers in rural areas.
Health care, which is a $35 billion industry, is expected to reach at least $75 billion by 2012, says a 2008 report by consulting firm Technopak Advisors Pvt. Ltd, absorbing thousands of new doctors, nurses, and physiotherapists along the way.
Spreading light: Rajendra Gupta, D.light Energy. Ramesh Pathania / Mint
The expansion of private hospital chains also means a dearth of trained hospital administrators and managers, according to E. Balaji, chief executive for headhunting firm Ma Foi Management Consultants Ltd.
Ramaswamy says she is working with hospitals—particularly in smaller cities—to define what is known as care management roles. They are positions that cover everything from what happens to patients when they walk into a hospital to counselling a patient’s family members after an operation.
Biomedical engineers such as Sarang Deshmukh, who works at Fortis Hospital in New Delhi, are also in big demand. These engineers deal with all the technical equipment that helps a modern hospital function, from operating magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, machines to dealing with artificial hearts.
“Two, three years ago, no one wanted to go there,” says Ramaswamy, referring to the related field of microelectronics, “but now reputed colleges will have them.”
So, find out your calling and apply.