Staffing firms form industry lobby group for image makeover, growth

Staffing firms form industry lobby group for image makeover, growth

New Delhi: Some staffing firms in India have joined hands to form an industry lobby group to highlight issues important to the rapidly expanding sector.

Eight firms including TeamLease Services Pvt. Ltd, Ma Foi Randstad, Adecco India, Kelly Services (India) Pvt. Ltd, Global Innovsource Solutions Pvt. Ltd and Gi Staffing Services Pvt. Ltd have formed the Indian Staffing Federation “to professionalize the Indian employment landscape", the association said in a statement on Thursday.

These firms together find employment for around 600,000 people every year in the Indian organized sector, it claimed.

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“Collectively, we provide employment opportunity to around 10 million people across 80 countries every year," said K. Pandia Rajan, founding chairman of Ma Foi Randstad, who is also chairman of the federation.

“This (coming together) gives us insight into best practises...(and) enables us in working with government to facilitate a suitable, legal and regulatory environment that is positive," Rajan said.

The new body said it can help the government in doing away with rigidities in labour laws and prevent “over-regulation and under-governance of labour issues".

“We believe that by coming together, we can reach out to more people in terms of employment and help employers get skilled yet flexible workforce and boost investment sentiments," said Rituparna Chakraborty, a vice-president at TeamLease.

A reason for the 13-day strike at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd’s Manesar plant was that temporary workers agitated for equal pay and perquisites with permanent workers, rather than just demanding a separate labour union, Mint had reported on 14 June.

The car maker claimed that industrial unrest earlier this month caused a revenue loss of around 500 crore and a production loss of at least 12,600 cars.

“Post the workers strike at the Maruti factory, there is a corporate sentiment that contract labour is not good for them," Chakraborty said. “But we think this is not a practical way out."

Hiring temporary workers, also known contract labour, is cost effective for companies, she added.

The human resource industry in India is worth 11,000 crore and is growing at a pace of over 25% a year, according to the federation’s estimates.

As many as 1.6 million new jobs would be created in the country’s organized sector in 2011, but finding skilled manpower remained a huge challenge for local firms, “with 67% employers struggling to meet their critical level hiring targets", the association said in the statement. “The staffing agencies will have to take on this challenge of creating employability."

The newly formed lobby group has been invited to be a part of a working group on labour laws for the 12th Five-Year Plan, according to Arun Maira, a member of the Planning Commission, India’s apex planning body.

The association could “bring fairness to workers, give a flexible workforce to the industry, and provide continuous training to workers", Maira said.

These staffing firms should also cater to the needs of small- and medium-scale industries, he added.

To be sure, smaller staffing firms were worried that the new lobby group may end up as a cartel.

The grouping “will take away the works of smaller firms," an executive at a small staffing company said. “The threat is real as they are well networked." He spoke on condition that neither he nor his firm be named.

The global staffing industry is worth €221 billion (Rs 14.19 trillion), according to Ma Foi’s Rajan.