Job creation: A big challenge for the government
With the nationwide unemployment rate increasing, creating jobs will remain a key challenge for New Delhi.
There seems to be no respite from the pangs of unemployment in India. Hiring by India Inc. has slowed down again, leaving scores of fresh graduates in the lurch. While IT/ITeS companies and startups predominantly lead the slowdown in job creation, most other industries are going slow in their recruitment plans. Specialised hiring firms claim that the white-collar workforce has taken a severe beating.
Layoffs are a part of one’s life now, with pink slips flying thick and fast across IT companies and startups. The concept of job security has lost its relevance. In recent months, tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, IBM, Meta, Amazon, Cognizant, and big startups such as Byju’s and Ola have fired thousands of employees in India. Reasons could be varied: cost-cutting, tough macroeconomic conditions, reduced revenue visibility, and a freeze on fresh hirings after a few quarters of over-hiring. In several cases, the companies have blamed it on the ‘underperformance’ of the staff. The other culprits are artificial intelligence and data analytics. IBM CEO Arvind Krishna’s candid admission recently that AI would take over 7,800 human jobs in the next five years is an eye-opener. According to him, AI could replace some back-office functions and human resources. Tech giants are realigning their human resources and looking for people with skill sets in areas like AI and machine learning to replace the existing staff who do not possess the required skills for futuristic tech services and tools.
The hiring frenzy of 2022 is completely missing. According to a recent report, about 2.25 lakh active jobs are open in the market as per hiring firms, about 1 lakh fewer than a year earlier. It is alarming that the muted performance by staffing firms in the April-June quarter of 2023 is akin to the previous lows seen in April-June of 2021 in the post-pandemic era.
In some sectors, tech talent continues to be in demand as non-tech industries undergo a digital transformation. Several companies in banking and non-banking, hospitality, automobiles, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and education are seeking skilled IT talent to drive their digital progress. On the flip side, there is still some hope for blue- and grey-collared employees, according to hiring firms. However, with the nationwide unemployment rate increasing, creating jobs will remain a key challenge for New Delhi.