As per the 'Impact of COVID-19 on Talent Acquisition' survey carried out by a week into the lockdown, three out of five companies looked at both hiring freeze and postponed candidate onboarding as a likelihood while 15% of companies considered potential layoffs on account of the impact of COVID-19 and the resultant lockdown.
The survey garnered responses from 195 companies across sectors including information technology, manufacturing, education, banking, consulting, pharma, insurance, consumer goods, and durables, and retail.
A week into the lockdown, 4 out of 5 organizations were already planning a reduction in hiring numbers with overall talent acquisition budgets coming down. Graduate hiring will witness a marginally lower impact as a result of lower cost and complexity. However, the highest impact will be seen in the middle to senior levels.
When it came to sectors, BFSI (banking, financial services, and insurance) and manufacturing are likely to see the maximum impact on hiring. Meanwhile, among sectors that are considering possible layoffs and hiring freeze early on, travel and tourism, construction and building materials, and BPO are likely to be hit the most as per the survey.
Tarandeep Singh, CEO, APAC and the Middle East, Aon Assessment Solutions stated, “Even as we witness an overall economic slowdown, resilient organizations with agile processes are staying the course with their business strategies. We are seeing industries like information technology, e-commerce, and logistics staying neutral to positive about hiring and growth. A key reason for this is their investment and efforts in building and adopting virtual business processes and technologies.”
When it came to the primary challenges for companies amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, productivity and workforce planning topped the list. 4 in 5 organizations see maintaining productivity as their top challenge. Given large scale economic disruption and supply chain shocks, manufacturing is facing difficulties in workforce planning; 3 out of 4 retail companies are struggling with hiring in the supply chain due to lockdown and migrations, the survey revealed.
The survey points out what generally looks to be the trend in corporate hiring this year. With salary cuts, delayed increments, hiring freezes, and layoffs, this is going to be a tough year for corporate India. How rough will it become in the next six months, remains to be seen.