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India’s workforce is around 494 million, of which organized temp staff constitutes about 3.3 million. (HT)
India’s workforce is around 494 million, of which organized temp staff constitutes about 3.3 million. (HT)

Task-based temp hiring picks up steam amid covid

  • Such risk-averse models are preferred to keep costs in check, say recruitment firms
  • There has been a increasing requests for task-based hiring in sectors such as IT, logistics and banking

Companies are shifting to hiring for specific tasks for a limited time frame as the pandemic prompts India Inc. to have a more fluid workforce to keep costs in check, according to manpower recruiting firms.

There has been an increasing number of requests for task-based hiring from companies spanning sectors such as retail, logistics, healthcare and pharma, besides banking and finance.

“Covid-19 has accentuated the demand for task-based temp hiring. As businesses have suffered due to the pandemic, companies want to optimize cost. So, they are preferring such risk-averse models where people can be hired on a per task basis," said Chirag Mittal, co-founder and chief executive officer, Gigforce Pvt. Ltd, an on-demand staffing platform.

In the logistics space, task-based staffing could range from delivering a specific number of packages; or in banking, it could be specific to the number of credit card documents being submitted while in the IT space, it could be about building an entire website.

To be sure, task-based staffing differs from temporary hiring, which is not necessarily outcome-driven. In temporary staffing, the payment is still driven by the number of days an employee works or on a monthly basis. In task-based system, however, the focus is more on the outcome of the task being performed—a service fee which is determined mutually between the one offering the service and the one availing it. Besides, there is no employer-to-employee relationship in a task-based gig. Also, there are two types of payment terms—first, after completion of a task while the second is milestone-driven.

“Companies are driving outcome-based performance rather than looking at fixed-term employment; therefore task-based service requirements are increasingly growing," said Vijay Sivaram, chief executive, Quess IT Staffing.

As per the National Sample Survey Office’s periodic labour force survey 2017-18—the latest available data—India’s workforce is around 494 million, of which permanent workforce constitutes 37 million and organized temp staff (tripartite contracts) is about 3.3 million.

According to Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and executive vice president, Teamlease, given the uncertainty, a few employers are exploring options to pick up gig workers for a few very short-duration or activity-based job roles.

Despite the business upheaval caused by covid-19 and the large-scale job losses, recruiters said that it is still a challenge to find workers for task-based roles. “When we employ people for task-based hiring, their biggest apprehension is that this is a task-based job and there is no security. He is worried about what will he earn the next day. So, he prefers to wait out for a temp job than a task-based one," said Mittal at Gigforce. He said his company offers counselling to workers who are apprehensive about task-based jobs.

To some, task-based hiring is also a stop-gap arrangement till they find full-time employment. Many students also take up task-based jobs to earn an extra buck.

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