Marco Valsecchi, country manager and MD, Adecco India
Marco Valsecchi, country manager and MD, Adecco India

Contractual hiring provides more agility at a lesser cost: Adecco India MD

  • The ratio between contractual hires and permanent hires has remained fairly stable but will gradually tilt in favour of flexi hiring
  • The ‘sociology of work’ is morphing, as employees become more flexible and mobile

The Adecco Group is the world’s largest HR solutions and temporary hiring firm that was founded in 1996 as a merger between Adia and Ecco, two of world’s top three personnel services firms. In an interview with Mint, Marco Valsecchi, country manager & MD of Adecco India, talks about the changing dynamics and hiring trends in the IT industry. Edited excerpts:

What is the demand for full-time versus contractual hiring in IT companies?

The ratio between contractual hires and permanent hires has remained fairly stable but will gradually tilt in favour of flexi hiring. IT companies need labour flexibility to deal with stiff competition from the global market, volatility, and demand to quickly capitalize on new technology adoption. Contractual hiring provides more agility at a lesser cost than hiring a full-time workforce. Out of the estimated total employee base of 3.9 million in the IT sector, 13% are flexi workers. However, the percentage of full-time hiring is robust since, on one hand, most employees perceive it as a financially viable option as it offers social protection and statutory benefits. Employers, on the other hand, need full-time employees for right hiring for their business needs particularly at the mid-senior roles to shoulder consistent workload responsibility, people management, higher accountability, productivity, and long term loyalty.

Which are the IT skills that are highest in demand, the so-called exotic skills, for which one can command the highest compensation?

Some of the skills in high demand are Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Machine Learning, Analytical Reasoning, Data Science, Cloud Computing, UI/UX Design, Mobile App development, Natural Language Processing, Game Development, and Industrial Design.

Do young employees prefer to work in startups more than traditional companies? What's motivating them?

The ‘sociology of work’ is morphing, as employees become more flexible and mobile; while the concept of ‘jobs for life’ is getting scarce and the workplace has become more global and diverse. Most young employees including first-time hires exhibit a remarkable preference to work in fast-growing, innovative startups. These employees have distinctive traits that can help them thrive in an uncertain future of work. In particular, early-stage employees stand to enjoy a unique opportunity of taking on multiple roles to cross-collaborate and take ownership. For most, the rapid growth of startups vis-à-vis traditional companies resonates with their professional growth curve and gives them higher visibility in the organization. The flatter structure and smaller team size that is often seen in startups allow employees to give more attention to each of their projects.

How do you see the demand for on-site hiring given the tightening of the H1-B/L1 visas?

There is a dip in on-site hiring owing to increase in protectionist policies, stringent compliance requirements and decreased visa issuance of H-1B/L1. Although most Indian IT companies have rallied, they have borne the brunt of escalating cost pressures and margin depletion due to subcontracting and ramped up onshore hiring. We have seen an increase in demand for recruitment process outsourcing where our clients can take advantage of our end-to-end process knowledge. For example, we are also collaborating with Modis US for an offshore recruitment delivery centre in Vizag for IT and engineering talent. It delivers a huge competitive advantage in serving our enterprise clients in the US and Canada where talent shortage and retention is a major issue due to increased salary expectations. The focus is to improve performance and allow our local recruiters to focus on higher-value tasks.

Do you observe shrinkage in the average duration employees spend in a company?

The average tenure in the IT sector was estimated at 3.3 years for 2018. Last year was a very eventful year for the IT sector with large-scale layoffs by many IT companies due to business volatility, protectionist immigration policies, and constraints against outsourcing. Reasons are varied – job dissatisfaction, compensation, career advancement, work-life balance, employer brand stickiness.

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