The Indian workforce is struggling with economic uncertainty and low confidence amid Covid-19, according to a report from LinkedIn.
However, digital transformation initiatives by organisations provide optimism about their professional future.
While India’s hiring rate recovered moderately from 10 per cent in April to 35 per cent in May 2021 as per LinkedIn data, working women and young professionals still remain vulnerable to economic turbulence.
According to LinkedIn’s Labour Market Update May 2021, India’s hiring rate on LinkedIn dropped from 50 per cent in March 2021 to 10 per cent in April 2021. As localised curfews gradually lifted and economic activity partially resumed, the hiring rate witnessed a modest revival to 35 per cent in May 2021.
Women, GenZ struggling the most
The country’s overall workforce confidence has declined after peaking in early March, with a composite score of +54 (down 4 points from +58 in March), according to LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index May 8 – June 4, 2021:
The aftermath of the second wave of the pandemic has left the workforce, particularly Gen Z and working women, increasingly vulnerable to the economic uncertainty in today’s evolving job market.
Working women are 4x less confident than working men, while the average time taken for new graduates to find jobs has increased from two to nearly three months today.
Furthermore, 23 per cent of working women are worried about growing expenses or debt as compared to 13 per cent working men. 84 per cent of working women in India have missed out on a raise or promotion according to the Opportunity Index March 2021.
Digital transformation impact
However, as digital transformation continues to accelerate and fuels economic growth, there is a reason for optimism. Over the past year, amid the pandemic, the demand for Specialized Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, and Data Science roles have gained focus.
Nearly a year later, this demand for IT talent continues to surge as Application Developers, Software Engineers, and SAP Specialists emerge as the top three in-demand jobs today according to LinkedIn’s May 2021 data.
Sectors such as Finance, Corporate Services, and Manufacturing have witnessed a growth in hiring. These are industries with a minimum of 500 job postings and witnessed a month-on-month growth on LinkedIn.
Healthcare and Hardware & Networking have also witnessed a growth in hiring.
However, hiring has declined for industries such as Consumer Goods, Media & Communications, Automotive, Marketing & Advertising and Staffing & Recruiting.
As for the job roles that have been in-demand, the top jobs based on per cent growth (April to May 2021 month-on-month growth) are Software Engineering Specialist, Automation Test Analyst, Dotnet Developer, Java Software Engineer and DevOps Engineer. These are jobs with a minimum of 300 postings on LinkedIn that witnessed the highest month-on-month growth in May 2021.
The average number of monthly learning hours increased 3x in comparing April-December vs “pre-Covid” (Jan-Feb).
Students and people who have just begun their careers(less than two years into a career), and job seekers saw the largest increases in learning hours.
“Ascribed to this digital transformation, remote work has announced its long-term stay — a glimmer of hope for new grads, women professionals, and the future workforce,” the LinkedIn report said.
LinkedIn also shed light on the increasing preference for flexibility and the adoption of remote working policies.
71 per cent of companies in India are keen on moving to a completely remote set-up, while the proportion of entry-level jobs labelled as ‘remote’ increased by 9x between 2020 and 2021. Furthermore, 50 per cent of companies in India are willing to hire remote staff within the country.
“Both organisations and professionals have redoubled their efforts to match strides with today’s increasingly digital and remote job market,” it said.
More than 9 in 10 companies in India are merging roles and looking to fill open roles internally.
However, the Indian workforce has “slowly but surely arrived at the brink of collective burnout,” while struggling with the dynamic hustle for upskilling, tech-proofing, and recruiting.
“This sentiment reflects strongly across the rising demand for flexibility in India as every second (50 per cent) job seeker prioritises location, hours, and work-life balance when looking for a job today,” as per the report.
As per the Workforce Confidence Index (May 8 – June 4), 50 per cent of India’s job seekers value hours or location flexibility post-Covid-19, while 48 per cent of India’s job seekers value work-life balance more post-Covid-19.