Looking for a job amid pandemic? Here’s good news as job openings jump, work from home becomes new trend

With many more companies now open to employees working from home, August has seen a good jump in the number of white collar job openings. Consequently, the uptick that was seen in July has spilled over to August and over 60,000 jobs have been refreshed and re-listed over the last three weeks, according to data compiled by Xpheno. Co-founder Kamal Karanth, however, is circumspect waiting to see how much of this gets translated into hiring.

Nonetheless, the total active openings which had dropped from 2,00,000 in April to 1,67,000 in May and further to 1,32,000 in June before increasing to 1,70,000 in July, are over 1,90,000 already. These numbers reflect openings at employers that are actively looking for people and accepting applications.

Siddhartha Gupta, CEO, Mercer Mettl, told FE one reason for the increase in job openings is that more firms are now hiring remote workers or freelancers. Hiring in IT space continues to be strong according to Sanju Ballurkar, president, Experis IT, part of ManpowerGroup India who observed that technology positions that cater to distributed workforce management are certainly seeing an uptick. Aditya Narayan Mishra, CEO, CIEL HR Services, said there has been a close to 8-10% pick up in August compared to July, though it would be about 25% lower when compared to August 2019.

Meanwhile, although revenues may be under pressure, increments for corporate employees in 2020-21 will be lower only by 2-5%. Data put together by Bengaluru-based specialist staffing firm Xpheno shows that salaries will go up, albeit marginally, for sectors like IT products and services, IT enabled Services (ITeS), life sciences, pharmaceuticals & healthcare, FMCG, consumer durables, manufacturing and financial services.

Those in the IT sector will probably get average hikes of 9.2%, which would be about 2-3 percentage points lower than last year while ITeS will see increments at about 8.70%, down by 3-4 percentage points. Those working in the life sciences, healthcare and pharma spaces can expect increments of 8.40%, about 4-5 percentage points lower than last year’s average. Employees in FMCG and consumer durables companies can expect their hikes to be smaller by 4% at 7.70%. The potential for hikes in manufacturing is 7.20%, which will be five percentage points below last year.

Those employed in financial services can hope for an average increment of 7.10%, lower by 4-5 percentage points.
Karanth believes double-digit hikes will be given only for selective roles and positions or where there is a chance of losing an outstanding performer.“Those with skill sets in robotics, artificial intelligence, blockchain will continue to command hikes,” he explained. Moreover, demand for professionals in the agriculture or FMCG sectors is high and they could get not just increments but bonuses and ESOPs, he added.

Gupta said those companies that have gained from better market demand for their products or services are doing the regular appraisals, giving promotions and even awarding bonus pay-outs. He added, however, that “even those handing out the increments, are cutting down on the amount and narrowing it down to a few”.

Professionals in spaces like cybersecurity will command increments in the range of 12-18%, those employed in automation roles will see hikes in the range of 12-15%, while medical scientists and microbiologists can expect increments in the range of 10-15%. Digital transformation roles in FMCG and financial services are expected to get increments in the range of 12-15%, while sales and business development roles in manufacturing will command hike in the range of 10-12%.

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