India reports sixth strongest hiring outlook globally in Sept quarter: Survey

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New Delhi: India ranks sixth globally for its employment outlook for September quarter 2024, with 30 per cent of businesses planning to increase their staff over the next three months, according to a global survey by workforce solutions company ManpowerGroup.

India's Net Employment Outlook (NEO), calculated by subtracting employers planning reductions versus those planning to hire, stood at 30 per cent. It weakened from the previous quarter and the same time last year by 6 per cent, as employers are cautious in their hiring intent for the next three months.

India ranks sixth globally for its employment outlook, 8 points above the global average. The survey was conducted in 42 countries.

Globally, Costa Rica reported the strongest hiring expectation for July-September at 35 per cent, followed by Switzerland (34 per cent), Guatemala (32 per cent), Mexico (32 per cent) and South Africa (31 per cent).

On the other hand, Argentina and Romania reported the weakest NEO at 3 per cent.

In the Asia Pacific region, the country has the strongest outlook. India (30 per cent) and China (28 per cent) continue to report the strongest outlook in the region. Most cautious outlooks were reported by employers in Hong Kong (8 per cent) and Japan (12 per cent).

In the latest edition of the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, 3,150 employers in India were asked about their third quarter hiring intentions.

"The global slowdown has been impacting the IT sector in India for quite a while. Added to the circumstances, is the political uncertainty looming over the country due to general elections during data collection of this survey. Clearly, employers are being cautious in their short-term resource planning," said ManpowerGroup's India and Middle East Managing Director Sandeep Gulati.

The real estate sector, however, has seen an increased investor interest with a capital inflow to the tune of USD 1.1 billion led by the residential sector.

"We hope the gap between the demand of specific skills and supply is bridged with strategic long term talent planning in corporates in India. Hire, train and deploy is a strategy that can make a difference to mitigate this problem," Gulati said.

Overall, the hiring intentions in North India stood at 36 per cent, followed by West (31 per cent), South (30 per cent), and East (21 per cent).

Hiring sentiments across all sectors however declined when compared to the same period last year.

Going by the industry size, large organizations (with 1,000-4,999 employees) indicate strongest optimism in hiring with NEO of 42 per cent followed by small (50 -249 employees) and medium (250-999 employees) organizations (34 per cent) and large enterprises (30 per cent).

Sector-wise, the financials and real estate sector and healthcare and life sciences continue to dominate the market with strongest hiring intentions. The weakest outlook is indicated in communication services and transport, logistics and automotive, the survey said.

More than 62 per cent of employers have adopted AI including generative conversational AI with 80 per cent of the senior leadership team optimistic about the positive impact of AI on overall business, as opposed to 68 per cent of frontline and factory workers.

Contrary to common belief, almost 68 per cent of employers plan to increase headcount due to adoption of AI and Machine Learning over the next 2 years led by the communication services sector, Financial and Real Estate, Industrials & Materials and Information Technology.