In the aftermath of COVID-19 Wave 2 impact on the Indian economy, one would have expected India Inc. to take a cautious approach to early career talent acquisition. However, the emerging trends are pretty contrary to such predictions. It looks like in 2021, Indian corporates are shaking off their inertia of scepticism and tentativeness and responding to the call of the global talent demands. While the pandemic, through the enablement of remote working, has genuinely enabled “work from anywhere,” Indian technology centers and IT organizations in 2021 are geared up to embrace this opportunity. This means a downstream impact on Indian organizations’ campus drives, hence the country’s tertiary education talent pool.
Some of the big questions on our minds are:
- How are 2021 campus drives going to evolve in the coming months?
- Is it the same across all industries and sectors in India?
- How is India Inc. able to ramp up recruitment outlook in 2021 for specific sectors?
- How should the Indian talent supply side gear up to embrace the upcoming shifts and changes?
Many Indian corporate/ technology organization’s investments in technology enablement systems for different steps of the recruitment process over the latter half of 2020 and early 2021 have helped them restore their original growth plans on talent selection numbers. The year 2021 started on an optimistic note for technology organizations, conservative organizations who did not hire in late 2020; this year opened their doors to new talent acquisition by Q2 of 2021. In the upcoming campus recruitment season (Batch of 2022), the numbers are expected to rise as more organizations adopt the virtual talent selection process and virtual interviewing. Campus Recruitments of 2021 are also likely to adopt technology-enabled solutions that augment the Campus Engagement and Selection Process. Both live and asynchronous video Interviewing has picked up, and the adoption of tools like Zoom, Teams, AI-enabled solutions has increased significantly. The ‘Aon Live’ solution, an AI-enabled virtual interviewing platform, saw an uptake increase by 85%.
Technology-enabled recruitment will likely become a permanent trend as organizations and candidates experience efficiencies and better job performance predictability through a scientifically robust selection process. An AI technology-enabled approach reduces the cost and effort of talent recruitment and impacts the brand perception of the organization for which selection takes place. In the minds of the candidates, it paints the picture of genuinely digitized organizations. Through technology enablement, the selection journey is geared up to be seamless now and can reach out to potential candidates beyond geographical boundaries. In addition, campus outreach is going to be more digitized, with virtual proctoring and AI-enablement. Hence colleges and universities should gear up for the ‘Virtual selection process,’ and the good news is that this will happen with increased volume uptake.
This outlook needs to be looked at through an industry/ sectoral lens as well. Not all organizations have embraced a ‘Virtual selection process’; hence, the different streams will see variations in hiring/ offer uptake on campus. As per the recent Aon Campus studies, education streams that will experience higher uptake by organizations will be for Digital Skills, Full Stack Development, Data Science Skills, Cloud Roles, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence skills. Interestingly, even for technology hiring, emphasizing communication skills in the selection process will be high due to the need for cross geography virtual collaboration and cross-cultural sensitivities. Large technology services organizations like Capgemini, Accenture, Wipro, HCL, Infosys, TCS, Cognizant, Amazon, Deloitte have announced an increase in their Campus hiring numbers in 2021 compared to 2020. Even product companies plan to increase their hiring for Software Developer Talent for higher-end Salaries, especially on some of the skills of future prevalence like Data, Cloud, Full Stack Developer skills.
However, the core skill branches like Civil, Mechanical uptake will be slow in the short term till the manufacturing sector ramps up its selection process. Organizations like Trident industries are already leading the pack on digital transformation in the selection process. Recovery for hospitality, brick and mortar mobility, and travel sectors are expected to go slow. Universities and Institutions that offer future skill building like IoT, AI, ML, Data Science will be considered early adopters to see more robust campus placements.
Finally, organizations aim to unlock true talent potential by casting a wider net on the 2022 talent pool. As a result, we see a rise in diversity-focused hiring, and talent from colleges in remote locations of India can apply for jobs in metro-based organizations and work remotely. In addition, there is a positive uptake of women in IT organizations in India; the top Indian IT organizations are looking to hire 60,000 women in fresher roles.
While overall, it may look like a mixed bag, the 2021 campus hiring outlook is generally positive and geared to unlock previously untapped potential through technology enablement.