INDIA INC LOOKS FOR POLL BOOSTERThe upcoming general elections are set to play a key role in the job market, with HR experts pinning their hopes on a stable government to help create over two million new jobs and boost hiring activities by 30-40 per cent this year. As per estimates of various human resource consultants and executive search firms, India Inc need to hire 12-14 lakh new workers in 2014 to meet their existing business needs. However, hiring activities may accelerate substantially if the Lok Sabha polls results in a stable government with minimal alliance partners and consequently more than 20 lakh new jobs can be created during 2014, consultants say. Across various sectors, companies in India are estimated to have created over 10 lakh new jobs last year, but weak economic trends also resulted in large-scale layoffs and considerably cut into net job market addition during 2013. In the run-up to polls, which begin tomorrow and will continue till May 12, the job market has already seen a major upsurge in demand for professionals in areas like media, PR, event management, market research and social media as political parties spend big-time to woo voters. However, most of these hirings are temporary in nature and any major boost for permanent or longer-term employment opportunities would largely depend on poll results, which will be announced on May 16. Experts believe that future hiring activities would get a major boost if verdict is for a stable government with minimum allies, as such an outcome would lead to an increase in investments and add to the economic growth momentum. "A stable government with minimal allies shall definitely contribute towards a positive job landscape," said Rituparna Chakraborty, Senior VP & Co-Founder of leading HR consultancy firm, TeamLease Services. Chakraborty, who is also President of Indian Staffing Federation, said that India needs to create jobs in excess of two million this year. Echoing similar sentiments, leading executive search firm GlobalHunt's Managing Director Sunil Goel said that new job creation may witness 30-40 per cent growth if the polls results in a clear verdict. "A full majority for any political party will bring the firmness and long-term good policy impact to grow the economy and create job opportunities in the market rather than just having the policy to get vote bank," Goel said. Going by various employment index, the Indian job market is showing an improvement on a month-on-month basis since the start of this year. The Monster.com Employment Index, a monthly gauge of the country's online job demand, is on an uptrend since October 2013.
Surveys conducted by leading job portal Naukri.com also show similar results. According to the portal, hiring activity in India saw significant improvement in the first two months of 2014 and this momentum is likely to pick up significantly going forward once the uncertainty around elections are over. HR experts said that the Indian economy is already showing signs of growth and a revival of manufacturing sector can exponentially improve the organised employment landscape. Many political parties have also made tall promises around the job market. The worrying factor remains, however, that there seems to be no clarity around the path towards fulfilling these promises, experts said. While every political party may commit itself to creating new job opportunities, it may be difficult for any ruling party to implement their plans if there are five or 10, or even more, coalition partners as that might put a question mark on the stability of such a government. In such cases, even the global investors' confidence goes down and they remain in wait-and-watch mode till the time they get convinced for their investment returns, which in turn creates lot of job opportunities, GlobalHunt's Goel said. Irrespective of which government comes to power, the actual boost to the job market would not come from the government-sponsored guaranteed employment schemes, but would need job creation in the organised sector, the HR head of a leading corporate house said. This can be possible only through revival of manufacturing sector and through greater emphasis on infrastructure development and by rationalisation of labour laws, he added. According to ManpowerGroup's latest Employment Outlook Survey, India has emerged as the most optimistic nation in terms of hiring plans for the next three months and sectors such as aviation, IT & ITeS and retail are likely to see an increase in payrolls. Employers across most sectors in India had been apprehensive about hiring due to uncertainty in overall business environment. However, things are expected to improve in 2014, found the survey which covered 5,302 employers in India.