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MUMBAI : C -suite hiring has fallen by 50% following the covid-19 outbreak and this is far worse than what was witnessed during the 2008-09 global financial crisis, said headhunters. The worst affected has been the hiring of expatriates, they said.

C-suite refers to leadership roles such as chief executive officers (CEO), chief financial officers (CFO) and chief operating officers (COO).

“Growth-related appointments at companies have come off by up to 50-60%. Companies have communicated to us that there is a freeze on leadership hiring for the next six months. So much so that if an offer has been made but the candidate has not resigned (from their present companies), it should be revoked," said Jyoti Bowen Nath, managing partner, Claricent Partners, a talent consultancy. “At this juncture, companies do not want to add on liabilities in terms of additional salaries."

Companies are now trying to fill critical roles internally even if the person does not tick all the boxes.

Headhunters are also not sure how roles for geographic boundaries will be redefined as covid-19 has impacted all major economies.

“Our clients don’t know how the US and European markets will pan out when the dust settles. Roles for many C-suite executives in these geographies may become redundant or be redefined because of the economic slowdown," said the managing partner of a hiring firm, requesting anonymity.

Banking, financial services and insurance, retail, logistics, manufacturing and fast-moving consumer goods sectors, which had been on a hiring spree, have been impacted the most, said experts.

The outbreak has already claimed jobs in the aviation, travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors though headhunters expect these sectors to recover within the next two quarters.

“I don’t foresee new mandates for hiring coming in at least for the next three months," said R. Suresh, managing director, Insist, a boutique executive search firm.

General hiring has also been severely impacted with companies slamming the brakes on hiring plans. Increments and promotions will also be put on hold for this appraisal season.

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