Dec 05, 2017 02:44 PM IST | Source:

Indian leaders feel less strain of talent shortage, pin hopes on contingent workers

Indian C-suite leaders have a lesser strain of talent shortage than their counterparts in the region, as per a report by human resources firm KellyOCG.

M Saraswathy @maamitalks

Indian C-suite leaders have a lesser strain of talent shortage than their counterparts in the region, as per a report by human resources firm KellyOCG. In its Workforce Agility Barometer Report: Navigate Asia Pacific’s Future Talent Frontier, KellyOCG said companies are optimisimg their contingent workforce and linking HR strategy to the broader business strategy.

Contingent workers – otherwise widely known as free agents or gig workers – form the external workforce of organisations and consist of freelancers, independent contractors, micropreneurs, small business owners and temporary or contract workers. As work is increasingly automated, businesses face new challenges.

Workforce agility is an organisation’s ability to swiftly scale its workforce in highly uncertain economic times and remain resilient despite emerging disruptions. To determine businesses’ current state of workforce agility in the region, KellyOCG asked C-suite leaders about their talent acquisition practices, how they see their talent needs transforming, and their plans for their companies’ future.

The study was conducted amongst 210 C-suite level executives across India, Singapore, Australia, and Malaysia from industries such as banking and financial services, life sciences, healthcare and medical services, and manufacturing. A majority of respondents in the region (61 percent) said they expect a negative impact on their business because of talent shortages in the next three years. However, in India, there seems to be some bit of positive sentiment, with 54 percent of C-suite members feeling less of a negative impact due to talent shortage.

About 57 percent of Indian C-suite respondents acknowledged that majority of business growth currently is being driven by workforce availability and adaptability followed closely by digitisation, technology and innovation (54 percent of respondents agreed).

This, the report said, indicated that not only technological prowess drives growth, but the right kind of workforce to enable this growth is equally important.

In India, the role of HR is immense with more than half of respondents admitting to having engaged their HR team right at the beginning of the business strategy development stage itself. An additional 27 percent of respondents engaged with their HR teams at the operational planning stage.

“C-suite leaders understand that more needs to be done to ensure workforce planning is addressed when developing business strategies. In today’s challenging business environment, some leaders are already working towards ensuring that they have a nimble workforce. To adapt during times of uncertainty, they are becoming increasingly dependent on contingent workers,” said Francis Padamadan, Country Director, KellyOCG.

Close to 52 percent of C-suite leaders in India cited the ‘lack of available talent’ as the most difficult issue faced when it came to attracting talent. However, Indian firms have a plan in place to overcome this talent shortage by building contingency plans for a short term (between 1 to 3 years) when compared to the rest of the markets which makes the system resilient to face any form of shortage in the short to mid-term period.

At the same time, 68 percent of top executives recognised that the contingent workforce gave them ‘access to specialist skills and expertise that lie outside of the organisation’.

Besides traditional permanent work arrangements, flexible work arrangements are commonplace.

Project-based assignments are gaining popularity in the developing countries and almost 71 percent of them in India expect to maintain or increase their percentage of contingent workers in the next two years.

Over the past few years, KellyOCG said that it has seen businesses in the region expanding their use of the contingent workforce and leveraging this talent pool more strategically. Many companies are now looking beyond filling immediate talent shortages and have started to recognise the contingent workforce as an integral part of a more holistic workplace.
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