With favourable demographics, current growth rate of over 7%,
business friendly government policies and advancing technological
developments, the employment market in India is bound to boom
and this creates a massive potential for the staffing industry.
However, whether this potential is realised to advantage depends
heavily on how the changing dynamics of the workforce is identified
and tapped. The ascendency of Recruitment agencies does not lie in
blindly following the trends but rather in innovating and staying
relevant despite the changes in the recruitment world.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: COMPLEMENT NOT SUBSTITUTE
However great may be the hype for AI and how it will revolutionise HR, one thing is for sure, it can only complement but never replace humans. Technology can help you filter out resumes but not assist you in handling job offers or advice you regarding your talent acquisition strategies. Not falling blindly for the trendy tech, there is need for differentiation of tasks in the recruitment process which can be facilitated and hence improved by AI and the ones that require human action. It has been observed that feeling confident about using AI in recruitment, many companies have developed in-house recruitment. Although this has helped them in activities such as sourcing candidates but AI has just taken over the logistics part of the job and not the very art of recruitment which requires the strategic analysis and constant candidate engagement which is what staffing agencies specialise in. The advent of AI in recruitment for recruitment agencies can be seen as much of an alley as it helps them shift their focus to tasks that provide them an edge, the advisory service and value addition. AI can be highly advantageous for staffing companies in two important spheres: processing big data and eliminating the unconscious bias. Setting up appropriate algorithms AI can be used to filter resumes, automate repetitive hiring processes, conduct pre-assessments, scheduling interviews etc. Due to absence of human element in its functioning, it is bound to be more objective and fair.
“The AI impact in the Indian recruitment industry is still not massive, however its gradual progression and future potential cannot be ignored. Recruitment firms should not rule it as a threat but rather use it to their own advantage to strengthen efficiency while focusing more on human side of hiring.”
GIG ECONOMY: FLEXIBILTY IS THE TREND
Unlike the developed countries where short term employment arrangements are greatly changing the world of work, India is yet to embrace the trend due to its traditional norms of work such as job stability. However, the gig economy carrying all its benefits is slowly impacting the Indian labour market as a win-win for both companies and workers providing them flexibility and autonomy. Since this kind of arrangement is not very familiar to the companies or the candidates, the question becomes how does the two find each other? The answer is Recruitment agencies. Being specialists in the field, consultants can act as trusted advisors for the company to procure talent on a short term basis and can also help independent candidates find the kind of work they are looking for amidst the long term hiring nature of job vacancies. Some would advocate social media as another means but there lies a huge risk as there is no authenticity established at either ends since the gig economy is still a new idea to many, which a why a recruitment agency will bring the needed trust by validating the job position as well as the candidate claims.
IT & FLEXI STAFFING As per a report by Indian Staffing Federation, the Indian IT flexi Staffing industry was worth USD 3.04 billion in 2016-17 and is expected to grow around 14-16 % per annum till 2021. The report also claims that E- commerce and start-ups alone are expected to witness 17.3% growth of IT flexi staff. The IT flexi staffing market is the largest in the state of Karnataka ($1.05 billion) followed by Maharashtra ($0.48 billion) and then Delhi($0.23 billion).
This surging demand for flexi staffing (i.e. hiring professionals as per requirements for a particular period of time), especially in the dynamic IT industry can be well understood given the multiple advantages of hiring temporary labour including creating a more flexible labour structure, meeting specialist demands on time, cost saving in hiring etc. This increasing demand for talent can be met more efficiently by companies by partnering with recruitment agencies who with their specialised skills can help cut hiring time and expenses, expose the corporates to larger pool of potential candidates and turn out to be a strategic ally in the coming war for talent.
GETTING READY FOR WORKFORCE OF THE FUTURE
Demographic dividend has been emphasised as a major contributor to the growth of India. Compromising of 46% of its workforce presently and millennial income contributes 70% of household income in the country, claims Morgan Stanley report. As if attracting millennial talent wasn’t enough of a challenge for recruiters, the Gen Z (born after 1995), successors of the millennials are gearing up for the employment market. Millennials have witnessed the growing technological advancement but the Gen Z were practically born in the technological age and can’t relate to a world sans it. Hence the recruiters surely needs to mend their ways for the future workforce. While the millennial workforce has been the trendsetter as opposed to the ideology of workforce that proceeded them. They place greater emphasis on smart work than hard word, value room for creativity and innovation at workplace and believe in social equality and transparency. In short, they aspire for growth but with given flexibility. The Gen Z is bound to follow into these values but with a much stronger intensity. Gen Z is also shaping a more superior workforce in terms of technological awareness by acquiring skills of AI, blockchain etc.
SOCIAL CHALLENGES: THE QUESTIONS OF DIVERSITY AND
WORK LIFE BALANCE
With rising debate over gender wage gap and diversity in workplace, and the rise of the millennial workforce who believe in less discriminatory and more inclusive work culture, diversity and inclusion’ has emerged as a top trend in HR in recent years with companies now focusing their recruitment practices to bridge the diversity gap. It is no longer just a question of improving work culture but also of boosting productivity. As per the report by Allegis Group, more diverse and inclusive companies turn out to be more competitive, innovate and have greater candidate attraction over their peers. Despite the stated advantages, India still lacks heavily on this aspect as for instance, women constitute only 27% of the country’s workforce.
The biggest responsibility to achieve this agenda lies at the very stage of talent acquisition wherein in order to put diversity strategy to action, the recruiters need to form a better hiring strategy, by creating job descriptions that appeal to a more diverse candidate pool, by using blind resumes which remove personal identification information to curb the unconscious bias, and supplementing