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Amid startup layoffs, larger job market remains buoyant across sectors

While thousands of startup employees have lost jobs, the number is small if one looks at the larger employment market canvas, experts said. While IT and ITes sector will continue its run, e-commerce and logistics as well as export oriented sectors including textiles, leather goods are doing well. Consumer goods sector will increasingly hire more as well as the retail and hospitality sectors.

New Delhi / June 23, 2022 / 05:12 PM IST

The larger job market in India remains buoyant across sectors – even amid layoffs by a clutch of startups in recent months – and employees will generally continue to call the shots through FY23.

“We see FY23 to remain an employees’ market with some amount of adjustments. Employees still have the bargaining power, opportunities and enjoy the benefit of demand,” said RP Yadav, chairman of Genius Consultants, a staffing and human resource company.

While information technology and IT-enabled services will continue recruiting, e-commerce, logistics and export-oriented sectors including textiles and leather goods are doing well in terms of hiring. The consumer goods sector will increasingly do well, as will the retail and hospitality segment, according to staffing firms, HR experts and talent managers.

The near-normal level of economic activity in retail and hospitality is indicative of a revival in these sectors after a prolonged phase of weakness due to the pandemic and offers a positive sign for the larger labour market, they said.

While thousands of people have lost jobs in the startup space, the number is small if one looks at the larger employment market canvas, experts said. More than 10,500 Indian employees working in startups were let go in 2022, according to data based on Moneycontrol Research and other media reports.


India’s employment rate increased marginally to 37.07 percent in May from 37.05 percent in April, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, a private entity.

Strong environment

“A bit of calibration is happening but the overall employment environment is still strong and will remain positive across sectors,” said Suchita Dutta, executive director of Indian Staffing Federation. “Some startups have laid off people as investors and promoters are focusing on profitability over growth projections. But it may not be a barometer of the overall employment market in the country, which is vast, diverse and layered.”

Amrit Jaidka Arora, chief human resource officer at Digit Insurance, a unicorn backed by Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Group, said the company is increasing headcount continuously and working to fill 600 positions across technical and non-technical roles.

Dutta said several staffing firms are not able to supply temporary workers to the tune of 30 percent of late, which shows appetite is strong and there is a demand-supply mismatch.

Experts and talent managers said that while there is keenness to hire more freshers including apprentices, mid-level and senior executive hiring won’t get subdued. This is true in segments of startups as well.

The assessment syncs with official indicators like exports, which have jumped in the first two months of FY23, and positive net payroll numbers. Besides, consulting firms Aon and Deloitte have projected a very good appraisal season this year, indicative of employer focus on talent retention.

India’s merchandise exports rose 22.5 percent to $77.08 billion in the first two months of the current financial year (April and May) from a year earlier. The latest net payroll numbers as calculated by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation jumped in April from a year ago and a month ago. The EPFO  added a net 1.7 million subscribers in April.

Sectoral overview

Yadav of Genius Consultants said IT and ITeS hiring will continue and won’t taper in FY23. Retail has picked up well and demand for workers in export-oriented sectors such as leather goods and textiles is steady. There’s good traction in the tea sector, too.

“We see job creation remaining steady this year and even afterwards” with the government’s spending and focus on infrastructure and defence, Yadav said. In the manufacturing sector, factory floor jobs are going up and as the economy normalises further, it will do better, he said.

In banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), there is demand for support services and marketing roles. In consumer products, support and sales as well as factory floor roles are in demand.

Recruiters and staffing firms said in logistics, there is good demand from companies for staffing in warehousing and delivery. In retail, 30 percent of the jobs available and created are for office roles and the rest for stores and warehouses.

“If you visit a food court or a mall, let’s say in NCR, one will realise that footfalls have gone up significantly, which effectively means headcount additions are going on too to match demand,” Dutta of ISF said.

She said over the next six months, the fast moving consumer goods and the fast moving consumer durables segments will absorb more people. Demand for gig workers is up and e-commerce continues to be a strong employer. The central bank’s action to tame inflation by increasing interest rates won’t harm the employment market, she added.

On startups, Dutta said while edtech has seen a softening of demand, the reopening of physical campuses in school and higher education segments has created good opportunities.

“Startup hiring is a bit soft in patches, but we continue to see good demand within the ecosystem. A large number of startups are not spoken of or written about actively but they continue to hire,” said Aditya Narayan Mishra, chief executive of human resources firm CIEL HR.

Even online job portals such as Naukri and Monster have projected a strong momentum in the employment market.

While hiring in travel and hospitality grew almost four-fold YoY, retail and real estate also ramped up offers by 175 percent and 141 percent, respectively in May. Besides, hiring activity was robust in insurance, banking and education.
Prashant K Nanda is an Associate Editor at Moneycontrol .
first published: Jun 23, 2022 05:12 pm
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