Upward trend in companies looking at on-demand staffing

The impact of Covid-19 has resulted in many new trends in IT recruitments, including the fact that there is an uptick in demand for businesses interested in on-demand staffing – billing based on the number of hours/days of work only. Candidates are also open to working in this model, says Ramesh Alluri Reddy, Director-Managed Services & Professional Staffing, Adecco Group India

What has been the impact of Covid-19, on IT hirings, not only for the IT industry but IT positions across sectors?

Ramesh Alluri Reddy, Director-Managed Services & Professional Staffing, Adecco Group India

IT hiring has slowed down across sectors with demand dropping to less than 30 per cent compared to pre Covid hiring in April/May. In spite of a phased increase in hiring the trend still remains at 45 – 50 per cent compared to the same time last year. However, we see a positive sentiment in hiring IT positions for new collared skills in AI/ML, IoT, robotics, and 5G networks

Any interesting trends you have observed regarding IT recruitments since March this year?

· Permanent hiring has slowed down considerably – more than contractual staffing.

· An uptick in demand for businesses interested in on-demand staffing – billing based on the number of hours/days of work only. Candidates are also open to working in this model.

· Large scale remote working is the new normal and clients are increasingly conducive to their employees stationed in tier 2 or 3 cities or hometown and not insisting on the place of work. This is opening up an opportunity for the best talent to get placed. Once some semblance of normalcy is restored this could result in attrition if offices open up and people are particular on location.

· Remote onboarding – cycle times reduced by over four times.

· Expansion plans on hold by customers – delay in new IT projects, cautious spend on IT budgets, and slow down new initiatives.

· Existing initiatives are also stalled/slowed down in many cases leading to a large ramp down of the existing workforce.

· Customers looking for more value for the money spent – increased emphasis on multi-skilling with the incumbent workforce.

Can you share with us the challenges of virtual hiring and how have you set the processes in place as a leading staffing organisation?

· We have seen a rising increase in faking – resumes and interviews. We mandate video calls, ID verification online, and do the checks before we present profiles to customers.

· This unprecedented situation has also mandated access to a decent home office setup, laptop configuration/maintenance. We offer on-demand only services basis payment on the number of tickets served– we have proactively sourced profiles who are open to work in this model and provide this as a service. Organisations also benefit from pulling talent from an existing pool of on-demand workers that fit certain desired skill sets.

Which industries are witnessing IT recruitments, and why? Also, for which positions?

· Fintech and payment gateways due to increased digital transactions from home.

· Online retail industry due to increased traffic to buy digital

· Online education industry seeing good traction

· Across these industries we see demand for administration and development positions.

Which IT skills remain the most in-demand?Has the pandemic and the lockdown driven the demand for hiring people with particular skill sets?

· Requirements are high across cloud and big data, full stack developers, cloud and database administration, UI/UX, and data science-related skills. Java with various multi-skill combinations like ReactJS, NodeJS, Golang, Python is in hot demand.

· Demand high for network admin, cloud technologies, core development with the full-stack experience, cybersecurity, and agile DevOps skills.

With news of retrenchments, how do you foresee the demand vs supply panning out for IT hirings in the next six months?

Employees getting furloughed or retrenched – mostly possess generic skills or people who have not got upskilled/cross skilled in the recent past. Underperformers face the biggest threat of being rationalised. Generic project management skills are also not in high demand. The demand is very skill dependent.

Niche/multi-skilled workers are still in demand and it is still difficult to hire these passive candidates as they mostly drop out at the last minute – the main reason being they don’t want to take chances and let go of their current job in these trying times.

Are you witnessing any impact on IT salaries?

No major change. We have seen pressure on bill rates but not on salary levels. Budgets are being adjusted by shelving initiatives, delaying projects rather than compromising on salaries on work deemed important.

How will the pandemic and its aftermath work out for the gig economy?

We anticipate short term work options and the gig economy to become bigger. Candidates are looking for more flexibility and work closer to their area of interest. The current situation has also altered the mindset of employees who increasingly prefer to work from their hometowns and today much of the talent in demand has moved to hometowns closer to tier 2 and 3 cities. There is a lesser expectation from both employers and employees on presenteeism. Customers are also more open to contracting due to lesser administrative hassles and given the short term nature of many projects and current uncertainties.

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