Article: From gig to big in real India: Navigating the hiring challenges


From gig to big in real India: Navigating the hiring challenges

Is India embracing the gig economy? We take a look at what panelists had to share during a panel discussion co- hosted by People Matters and Indeed during the People Matters Talent Acquisition Conference 2019 about tackling recruiting challenges in India.
From gig to big in real India:  Navigating the hiring challenges

Identifying the right inbound recruitment channels can go a long way in ensuring that there is a steady pool of talent professionals on whom TA professionals can rely


Gig economy as a buzzword is new. But, the concept of working on different “gigs” or projects is age-old. 

Construction workers who work intermittently on various projects are one such example. (However, this is not out of their own choice). When you think about white-collar jobs, insurance sellers have been entrepreneurs or freelancers in their own right. 

As the workplace is increasingly turning into a global office interconnected with technology, the concept of gig economy has penetrated into the corporate world as well. 

During a panel discussion co-hosted by People Matters and Indeed at the People Matters Talent Acquisition Conference 2019, the focus was around the theme of From gig to big in real India: Navigating the hiring challenges. 

The discussion revolved around the concept of gig economy, identifying the right talent pool of gig workers and using the right kind of content to tap into the existing pool of gig workers. Employees are increasingly willing to sacrifice the additional benefits that come with a permanent job, such as gratuity or health insurance, in exchange for a greater amount of flexibility that allows them a healthy work-life balance, and the opportunity to simultaneously pursue multiple interests. However, there are some gaps and opportunities for both TA leaders and the staffing industry. 

During this panel discussion experts like Bharat Jayaprakash, Senior Director- Inside Sales, Indeed India; Vinod Subramanian, Chief Operating Officer, FlexAbility, RPO Initiative of ABC Consultants; Saleel Panse, Head TA (India), Mondelez International; and Satya D. Sinha, CEO, Mancer Consulting Services shared their insights into the gig industry while Ester Martinez, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, People Matters, was the moderator of the discussion.

Gig economy is here to stay with employers such as Uber, Zomato, Swiggy and most recently Amazon joining the companies that are operating successfully with a flexible workforce. 

In the US alone, by 2023, 50 percent of the workforce is expected to be working as freelancers. This shows us that across the board, the way of working has changed. And so must the way of hiring. In India alone, about 7.7 percent of all companies that posted job openings for India offered flexible work options, according to a study conducted by Indeed. Moreover, the sectors that are leading the space of flexible job roles include: media, real estate, legal, hospitality, tech help, management, medicine allied and education. 

“The gig workers are a pool of opportunity if we are able to capture it,” said Satya D. Sinha, CEO, Mancer Consulting Services. He however warned that the gig economy can become a threat if we are not able to tap into this pool.

Apart from the traditional part-time and intermittent workers, a new wave of highly-skilled workers, demanding flexibility have hit the talent markets. These include software developers, data analysts, data scientists, website developers, android app developers etc. who are now looking to not only expand their sources of income but are also seeking out various types of projects that would prove challenging and rewarding at the same time, added Bharat Jayaprakash, Senior Director- Inside Sales, Indeed India.

“You have to ensure that you reach the right set of talented people whom you are looking for,” said Jayaprakash. “Moreover, your company must be visible to these job seekers - only then would they go, read your job description and apply for the job. Targeted inbound recruitment is the key.” 

Identifying the right inbound recruitment channels can go a long way in ensuring that there is a steady pool of talent professionals on whom TA professionals can rely. 

Apart from identifying the right channels, it is crucial to get the job description right. 

“It starts with the job description. If it is a creative job, ensure that it is creatively written,” Jayaprakash said. “If it is a technical job, ensure that those technical words are in the description.” 

Crafting the job description innovatively increases the chances of receiving an application by almost 30 percent, he added quoting a data point from a recent survey from Indeed. 

Penetration of gig workers into traditionally structured companies and into newly-created firms is visible across sectors. From banks looking for people who are skilled in product development to startups looking to scale up at a fast pace - everyone has turned their focus towards hiring a contingent workforce. 

“It is happening everywhere. We are all creating different platforms where you can find gig workers. The most successful platforms are those that cater to a diverse talent pool,” shared Sinha. “As staffing firms’ leaders, we should all start creating a vertical for recruiting gig workers.” 

A major challenge that staffing firms face when it comes to hiring gig workers for their clients is the volume of hiring that is expected in a short span of time. That’s where tapping into the existing network of previous employees or those who have gone on a break and getting those recruiters to work part-time or on a freelance basis can go a long way, said Vinod Subramanian, COO, FlexAbility - ABC Consultants. 

“Trust levels are very low when it comes to interviewing gig workers,” Subramanian said, adding that apart from high-volume hiring, the reliability factor can also prove to be a challenge if not tackled head-on. Ensuring that there are mechanisms such as a test and background checks using technology can help not only staffing agencies to identify the right and reliable talent but also help TA leaders wean out the unwanted applicants. 

As the world of talent acquisition dynamically evolves around us, the need of the hour is to equip businesses with a strong staffing expert who can tackle the needs of the rapidly transforming workforce. Finding the right talent is vital. More important than that is to find the right talent at the right time. And, of course, ensuring that the right talent is placed for the right job role. 

“The question remains, who is going to take that first step to invest time, effort, and resources to create the gig worker platform?” said Saleel Panse, Head TA (India), Mondelez International, who has observed that most of the functional aspects of staffing and recruitment are being increasingly outsourced. A platform that connects directly with the target pool of talented giggers is going to be a gamechanger, when it comes to the future of work. 

In this equation, albeit there are a lot of variables and dependencies on the hiring manager, the line manager and the talent acquisition leader. Staffing companies of today’s digitally disrupted world are seeing a rise in the demand for their expertise. When the demand for new skills is changing at a speed faster than ever before, HR leaders are facing new challenges every day when it comes to identifying the coveted resource who will possess all the skills that are essential for the future of work. 

While India Inc. is on the brink of making gig opportunities a mainstream way of working, it is beyond doubt that the staffing industry and TA leaders must also gear up to transform their processes, revamp employer branding messages and establish authentic connections with their target pool of talented workers.


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Topics: Recruitment, #PMRoundtables, #Hiring

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