The North-East has emerged as a talent hotspot with staffing firms either setting up offices or teams to tap manpower from the region. “To drive growth and find people, recruiters are always on the lookout for virgin territories and the North-East provides a significant catchment of talent,” says E. Balaji, chief operating officer and director, Ma Foi Management Consultants Ltd.
TeamLease Services Pvt. Ltd has made the North-East its focus for the last six months. “As of now, we have hired around 700-800 people from this region,” says Deep Mukherjee, vice-president, operations, TeamLease. The company is tying up with universities, local colleges and institutes and is holding job campaigns at churches and cultural institutions to find talent. Ma Foi’s offices in Guwahati and Siliguri, which hire 50-60 people a month, have seen business grow over 50% in the last one year. Adecco India Ltd, which has its operations in Kolkata and Bhubaneswar, plans to open an office in Guwahati soon. Manpower India’s Kolkata office has also been increasingly hiring candidates from the North-East region.
Headhunters say the region benefits from the presence of good educational institutions, regional engineering and arts colleges and Christian missionary schools. Apart from this, training companies such as Frankfinn Aviation Services Pvt. Ltd, Air Hostess Academy Pvt. Ltd, Hero Mindmine, a division of Hero Corporate Service Ltd, NIIT Ltd and Aptech Ltd have helped create industry-ready professionals.
“The talent base is very strong here and represents a group of people who can be trained in multiple skills,” says G. Raghavan, president, global individual learning business, NIIT Ltd. “There is a fair amount of seriousness about careers in students here. A majority of the students enrol with us for long-term programmes with course durations up to three years,” adds Raghavan. “So, by the time they are out of college, they are armed with another skill set apart from a graduation degree.” NIIT, which boasts of 5,000 students and 21 centres across 16 locations in the North-East, plans to add another four to five centres in the next few months. “Our business in terms of headcount has seen a year-on-year growth of 50% in the last couple of years,” says Raghavan.
“The North-East has always been one of the strongest regions for us,” says Sumeet Yadav, head, retail, VF Arvind Brands Pvt. Ltd. “English language capability is an important criterion on a shop-floor. Language skills, coupled with diligence, make for an easy starting point to train.”
Another advantage recruiters underscore is that people from this region tend to stick longer with a firm. “The rate of attrition is lower in staff from the North-East,” says Balaji, adding: “Limited opportunities make a person work harder and acknowledge the value of work better.”
“People from the North-East look at options outside primarily because of lack of job opportunities in their own region,” says Ramesh Hande, director, staffing solutions, Adecco India Ltd.