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Infra Hiring: Perception vs reality

Infra Hiring: Perception vs reality

Much planning has gone into the infrastructure sectors, but as repeatedly reported in the media, the sectors have not performed to expectations. A recent study of hiring trends reinforces that truth. Shashidhar Nanjundaiah reports.


The organised sector in India has created 739,064 jobs between January-September 2010 and 394,700 more jobs are being added in the current quarter, reveals the latest results of Ma Foi Randstad Employment Trends Survey (METS). K Pandia Rajan, MD, Ma Foi Randstad, said, “The Indian economy and sector players are preparing for growth. We expect aggressive hiring and increase in payscales in the coming months.”


The perception that infrastructure sectors are growing exponentially, given huge allocations and daily activity, is at best misleading, however. While construction—along with real estate and hospitality—was one of the three top hirers in 2011, many infrastructure sectors, including energy, transport and logistics, were relatively moderate performers. Goods traffic by railways and cargo handled by ports are two major indicators of performance of the transport sector. July-September 2010 has shown poor growth for both, 2.3 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively. The employment number in the sector in 2009 was 26.38 lakh and was expected to grow to 26.75 lakh by December 2010.


“A lot of outsourcing happens in infrastructure since many are non-permanent and contractual,” E Balaji, CEO, Ma Foi Randstad, told us, adding “Although our infrastructure is still lacking and there is frenetic planning on its growth all around, talent in infrastructure is still found wanting. In roads and airports, talent lacks in project management and leadership.”


Balaji says the scale of infrastructure projects is enormous today—and we are not accustomed to building airports with, say, 60 million passenger capacity, or eight-way expressways. Infrastructure is manpower-intensive, but the leadership talent needs a boost. Dripto Mukhopadhyay, VP, Analytics and Products, Indicus Analytics, the company that administered the research, said because infrastructure’s growth has a multiplier effect even in other sectors, the hiring estimates can be different, based on measurement using the ‘input-output’ methodology. “Employment generation in infrastructure will result in jobs in other sectors as well. Additionally, most hiring is in the unorganised sector.”


The October-December 2010 projection shows that India is almost in track with the high growth rate it had before the economic crisis. At the beginning of 2010 METS predicted one million new jobs in 2010. The latest survey reflects a more-than-anticipated growth in the hiring sector with sectors such as healthcare, real estate and construction leading the pack.


The estimates of actual job creation from January-September 2010 was arrived at, after surveying the employment trends in 660 companies across 13 industry sectors in eight cities—Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. These companies were queried about (a) hiring in the first nine months of the year and (b) hiring intentions over the next three months.


Ma Foi Randstad, a leading integrated HR services provider, has been conducting the employment trends survey since 2004.

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