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IT, retail hiring slump sees job seekers turning to newer sectors

IT, retail hiring slump sees job seekers turning to newer sectors
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First Published: Thu, Mar 19 2009. 12 02 AM IST

A catalyst? Niche portals reflect the change in the job search market. Some websites that offer job listings focus on one sector, such as advertising or the legal industry, while others focus on speci
A catalyst? Niche portals reflect the change in the job search market. Some websites that offer job listings focus on one sector, such as advertising or the legal industry, while others focus on speci
Updated: Thu, Mar 19 2009. 11 05 AM IST
New Delhi: Last month, when recruiter Rachita Saini of Clearway Advisors posted a job opening for the wind arm of GE Energy, around 40% of the applicants came from the technology sector, with little background in energy. “I have received quite a few resumes from people looking to switch,” she says.
Recent senior hires at wind turbine manufacturer Suzlon Energy Ltd also came from fields as varied as software, retail and steel. Malay Shah, for instance, left Infosys Technologies Ltd last year to handle strategy at Suzlon. “Renewable energy was an interesting growth story, with 100% year-on-year growth in the past five years,” he says.
Now, as traditional large employers, such as those in information technology, or IT, and retail, constrict hiring in response to the economic slowdown, job seekers from those industries are starting to look at sunrise sectors, such as renewable energy and pharmaceuticals, in India.
A catalyst? Niche portals reflect the change in the job search market. Some websites that offer job listings focus on one sector, such as advertising or the legal industry, while others focus on specific experience levels.
One of the job portals Saini posted on, Workosaur.com, a website that caters to managers who earn at least Rs10 lakh a year, is tapping into this trend and teaming up with training firm PM Dimensions Pvt. Ltd to help candidates switch to these newer industries.
Of the 35-50 jobs that are posted each day, three-four are from the energy sector, says Nimish Adani, who started the website five months ago. One month ago, he says, only one or two jobs a day came from that field.
“The downturn hit some segments really badly,” says Adani, an Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, graduate who worked with BharatMatrimony.com and Clickjobs.com before launching the website. “Energy, clean tech, nuclear energy—these segments are really growing and a lot of people are looking at them as the industries of the future.”
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To be sure, the renewable energy sector hasn’t escaped the downturn entirely—Suzlon reported a Rs59 crore loss in the third quarter—and some recruiters say that until companies return to expansion mode, mass recruiting from other sectors is unlikely. “In this particular industry scenario, my clients don’t want to take anyone from outside the industry,” says Hariharan, a recruiter with Head Hunters India Pvt. Ltd who works with clients in the energy and water treatment sectors.
But executives expect the renewable energy sector to bounce back quicker than many others. “Most of these companies have huge growth plans and customers are ready,” says Shah. “They’re just waiting for markets to open up.”
The courses that PM Dimensions offers, anticipating similar growth, are in areas such as the economics of a power plant and fuel management within nuclear energy and technical courses to train managers looking at opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry.
Such tie-ups and niche portals reflect a growing segmentation in the job search market. Some websites that offer job listings focus on a specific sector, such as Afaqs.com for advertising and Rainmaker.co.in for the legal industry, while others such as Workosaur.com and Firstnaukri.com focus on the specific experience levels of the working population.
Senior professionals tend to have different job search preferences, says Adani. For example, he says, they prefer not to upload their resumes into common databases and tend to search for new jobs from their current offices—Wednesdays and Thursdays, between 11am and 3pm, are the most popular time slots.
Such users are also more likely to be looking for jobs by function than by industry, says Adani, and so are more open to a switch to newer industries.
PM Dimensions does courses both for companies and individuals. Nuclear energy courses are among those most in demand, says one of the firm’s founders, Sukrut Jobanputra.
The firm recently developed and trained a team at a power company which is evaluating opportunities in the nuclear business, he says—none on the team had any background in nuclear energy.
Roles that are similar across sectors such as human resources, finance or marketing are relatively easier to switch to, says Shah, who believes his background in consulting for Infosys made the transition easier. “You get to work with a number of other industries, from semiconductors to software services to retail—that cross-industry exposure sort of helped me,” he adds.
Another techie who wanted to switch industries, Aditeshwar Seth, first looked to real estate last year as a way to move out of the outsourcing industry. “Even services were getting commoditized,” he says, “it was getting pretty mundane.” He took a job looking at business strategy for a Mumbai-based real estate group. “From (the) job content perspective, I had to literally start from scratch,” he says.
Now, he says he’s considering a senior job offer in the power sector. The interview “conversations weren’t around power, they were more on business strategy,” he says. “The sector is something you can pick up.”
While it is a little early to signal a fundamental shift in job demand, the hiring slump in IT and financial services might serve as a potential windfall for new sectors. “Online job search” may well be the catalyst.
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First Published: Thu, Mar 19 2009. 12 02 AM IST