An average employee is looking for quicker rewards and employers are constantly battling manpower costs, attrition and hiring pressures
The younger generation is less enamored by typical 9-5 jobs and has a propensity to experiment with newer skills and applications
Discussions with senior professionals in the industry, both line and HR people, is drawing the picture of what 2012, and maybe the next 18-24 months, could look like for jobs and talent. There is a general talk of uncertainty in business growth, but all agree that the actual actions on the ground are still of a reasonably buoyant economy. The overall experience of 2008-2009, where there was a recessionary trend globally (India was still relatively insulated), is also at the back of people’s mind, being fairly recent. Here are the distilled five major trends out of the many conversations that I and my colleagues have had leading up to this year.
Companies will look for direct link between skills and jobs rather than pure qualifications: The pressure to fill ‘vacancies’ given the growth phase, and the fact that educational qualification does not add to skill levels necessarily are posing a problem for companies. Companies are realizing that ill-skilled talent not only contributes to productivity loss, but qualified (but unskilled) talent can potentially be an overhead in terms of training costs and expectations management.
Interestingly, the fallout is back-flushing into the educational institutions. Students and parents are realizing that just pure qualification does not make them employable. An ASSOCHAM study says, “India is now home to 3,393 engineering colleges that have 14.85 lakh seats available. Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh have about 70 percent tech institutes. When admissions closed this year (2011), AICTE estimated that nearly two lakh seats were unfilled.”
Hiring for attitude at all levels will be more prevalent: This sounds a bit contradictory to the first point made, but here is the catch. Employers and managers (and specifically HR managers) are quite fed up of the constant battle to manage employees whose ability and willingness to contribute is overshadowed by their lack of stickiness to organizations. An average employee is also looking for rewards quicker than contribution, and employers are constantly battling manpower costs, attrition and hiring pressures.
In a scenario like this, managers are increasingly valuing employees who may have average + skills, may not be superstars, but add positive energy to the organization with their positive language and a sense of balance. More importantly, they are neither time wasters for themselves or management, and are clearly focused on long term careers.
Small town hiring will become more sophisticated and sharp: The potential of smaller cities and towns as both consumer markets and employee markets has not been hidden. A recent published studies which captured trends of job openings in major 56 cities and 32 sectors, showed that from a sample of 6,53,782 employment opportunities generated during the period April-March 2010-11, Tier II and Tier III cities of India recorded a share of 61.8 percent in total job creation out of the total. This is also a reflection of a “more hungry to succeed”, willing to learn, and less costly talent pool available in Tier II and Tier III cities.
What is also visible is the willingness of employers to access and engage with wider talent pools by going to next level cities and towns.
The management of young talent will be priority: The proportion of population in the working age group (15-59 years) is likely to increase from approximately 58 percent in 2001 to more than 64 percent by 2021 and there will be approximately 63.5 million new entrants to the working age group of 15-59 years between 2011 and 2016. In 2020, the average Indian will be only 29 years old, compared to 37 in China and the US, 45 in West Europe and 48 in Japan.
There is a clear need for a completely new way of managing the new talent pool, albeit some core principles will remain the same. HR policies and traditional ways to hire, train, engage and retain are already outdated.
New, unheard of jobs will open up in newer sectors like healthcare, property management, hospitality, specialized infrastructure, etc: Like any other economy, where newer classes of consumers are emerging in large numbers, newer products and services and related infrastructure will be developed. Employment generation will be a natural consequence. Add to that the growth of the economy, an aspirational population, and the youth with a consumerist lifestyle and a new found confidence to spend; and it adds up a host of innovations in products and services, and specialized jobs and skills. Everything from sports management to photography support can be a new vocation, skill and employment generation opportunity. This is also clearly driven by a spirit of entrepreneurship, which is clearly increasing with growing opportunities and confidence. Industries related to lifestyle and youth are generating jobs and vocations never heard of before in significant numbers. The younger generation is also less enamored by typical 9-5 jobs and has a propensity to experiment with newer skills and applications to create value.
All in all, these issues have been talked about for a while now, but are clearly much more visible and prone to action now. Irrespective of how 2012 is for the world in economic terms, unless something dramatic happens, how we deal with these trends in India will be key to determining the future of employment and talent for us.
Bimal Rath is the Founder of Think Talent Services Pvt. Ltd.