Firms to hire briskly, says Manpower Inc

Firms to hire briskly, says Manpower Inc

Bangalore: India’s job market is yet to recapture the highs seen in 2008, but it seems set to outdo 2009—a year when the economy slowed down—if the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for the first quarter of 2010 is any indication.

Also See Improving Job Prospects (Graphics)

Indian companies are the most optimistic in the world, according to the survey that covered 71,000 employers across 35 countries. It covered 5,109 companies in India. The survey, done in the last month of every quarter, indicates the hiring trend for the following quarter. The current survey reflects the January-March trend.

India’s adjusted net employment outlook for this quarter is 39%. The outlook is the difference between the proportion of employers who say their headcount will increase in the three months to March and those who say it will decrease, adjusted for seasonal variations.

This number is the highest it has been in five quarters, an indication of a return to normalcy in the job market. Anecdotal evidence to the effect has been surfacing for some time—last week, Wipro Ltd said that it would hire 5,000 people in the next two months and in October, Infosys Technologies Ltd said it would hire 2,000 more people in 2009-10 than it had initially expected to—and the Manpower survey provides statistical proof of the trend.

“Most companies are coming out of their shell," said Cherian Kuruvila, director operations at Manpower Services India Pvt. Ltd, the Indian arm of the Milwaukee-based firm. “2009 has been a year of restructuring." He added that 2010 will see a mix of replacement hiring, to fill up vacant positions and hiring for new positions, signifying expansion.

The adjusted net employment outlook is highest in the services sector, at 47%. This includes IT, back-office services and hospitality. “The services sector had become overcautious in 2009," said Kuruvila. “Services had tightened up the most," he added.

Kuruvila also sees the hiring activity as a result of more business being outsourced to India.

“I clearly see an uptake in the marketplace," said Sudheesh Venkatesh, head, human resources (HR) and HR shared services, at Tesco Hindustan Service Centre, the outsourcing arm of British retail chain, Tesco Plc. He added that his company had grown its headcount from 3,000 to 4,000 in 2009 and intends to grow it to 5,000 in 2010.

Indian companies in all seven sectors covered by Manpower expect to hire people.

Manpower’s findings come in the wake of second quarter gross domestic product growth of 7.9%, prompting economists and investment banks to revise upwards their expectations for GDP growth in 2009-10.

Graphics by Sandeep Bhatmnagar / Mint