While companies may be looking to hire in the fields of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Big Data, the telecom sector seems to be gearing up for the next phase of disruptive discomfort by letting go over 60,000 employees by the year-end. Paul Dupuis, CEO of the staffing company, Randstad India went on record stating that, “There will be an impact to the tune of 60,000-75,000 jobs on the workforce of telecom service and infrastructure providers in 2019 as a consequence of the consolidation activities. We expect the effect to continue through 2020 with a similar number of redundancies for the segments mentioned.”
This consolidation-focused massive job-cut trend is reason enough for different units of the telecom industry be it, operators, infrastructure companies or related retail segments to optimize talent acquisition processes.
TeamLease Services stated that out of around 65,000 telecom jobs that would be slashed by March 31st, 2019, customer support would be losing around 8,000 heads while 7,000 employees in financial functions would be rendered jobless. Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder of TeamLease also said that while this will take the sector by storm yet again, with the industry stabilizing, the job losses would be eased as well and the sector will look at hiring freshers.
2017-2018 saw multiple changes in the sector as Vodafone India and Idea Cellular prepared for their merger, Bharti Airtel revved up to buy Tata Teleservices’s mobility segment and Telenor India and operators Reliance Communications and Aircel charted out their exit. These in turn lead to a high attrition of 20-25% in this industry that employs about 25 lakh individuals.
While telecom operators Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Vodafone Idea have not yet commented on the job loss or stated an estimate of the same, speculation, fears and anxiety soar high.
Rajan Mathews, serving an office that represents the major telecos of the country provided a ray of hope. “We are over the worst hump and now companies are looking to hire in areas like AI, big data and 4G network expansion. The first two quarters of FY19 saw the worst and that is over,” said the Director General of the Cellular Operators Association of India.
According to TeamLease, while there will be substantial loss in employment, areas such as project management and IT infrastructure will be looking at the creation of many new roles in volume. Profiles such as data team leaders, technical directors and network installation experts will be undergoing a rise in demand.
The sector, which underwent a reduction in the number of telecom service providers from 8 companies to only three players at present in just over two years, has now been showing some signs of stabilization according to most industry experts. Is the worst truly over? How long will the period of stability last, if the sector does find its balance? When will the next wave of job cuts swoop across the industry? Time will tell.