The momentum in the job market seems to have slowed in April, impacted by the ferocious second wave of the coronavirus infections. The closing figures for April registered a fairly steep fall of 31% over March and emerged the lowest closing count for 2021.
The jobs count — active, refreshed and accepting applicants — barely touched the two-lakh mark against over 2.90 lakh in March. However, the good news is that companies honoured the offers made in the earlier buoyant quarters. Moreover, the demand for experienced hands has increased.
Kamal Karanth, co-founder, Xpheno, a specialist staffing firm, observed the sharp second wave and re-emergence of geographic and economic lockdowns resulted in jobs being taken off the shelf. “The current drop will need to be monitored further to see if it triggers a further drop curve likethat in Q1 of FY2020-21,” he said.
The fall in job opportunities is steep at 31% and shows signs of a panic response. “This seems to have dwarfed the 18% drop witnessed in the same period last year ,” Karanth said.
Full-time opportunities were also lower by 33% in April than the March count. While contract based opportunities shrank by 25%, part-time opportunities grew 25% and internship openings grew by 11%. At 1.8 lakh active openings, the full-time opportunities reduced by over 85,000 in comparison to March. This drop in volume of active full-time openings is expected to create a hiring backlog in the near-term within the current quarter.
While hiring activity across experience bands saw an average decline of 13% in April with the 0-3 years’ experience band being the most hit witnessing a decline of 19%, fall in hiring for 13 plus years’ experience was much lower at 9%, data from Naukri.com shows.
According to the jobs portal, hiring momentum has been impacted across sectors, including healthcare and life insurance, albeit at a lower level. Hiring in sectors such as insurance declined 5%, pharma and biotech declined 9%, while that of medical and healthcare by 10% in April 2021.
The IT-Software sector, which has remained shielded and drove robust hiring over the pat few months witnessed a decline of 12% — lesser than the national average. Other sectors such as FMCG and Telecom witnessed declines of 15% each. The retail sector, which grew in March 2021, experienced a sharp decline of 33% in April due to restricted operating hours or closure owing to lockdowns in many parts of the country. Sectors such as hospitality and travel, banking and finance and teaching and education remained highly impacted in hiring activity during the month.
The shutdown of schools, hotels, and non-essential offices led to a sequential decline in demand for professionals in the education and hospitality space, which declined by a third each. Hiring for marketing and advertising suffered a fall of a sharp 26%.
Pawan Goyal, chief business officer, Naukri.com, said, “The hospitality, travel, retail and education/teaching sectors continue to be the first few sectors to be most impacted as was the case during the first wave while the pharma/medical/healthcare sector remains shielded.”