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Coronavirus pandemic | Not only entry and mid-level roles, leadership hiring too is frozen

These search firms are now looking at alternate pricing models and greener pastures to tide over the crisis.

April 16, 2020 / 05:03 PM IST

Arun Kumar* was recently recruited for a CXO role in an Indian manufacturing firm for a handsome remuneration. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the company revoked the offer rendering him jobless.

In another case, a CXO, who was an expat, recruited for an Indian firm had made his travel plans. But travel restrictions were imposed and his offer too has been rescinded.

As the businesses across the world tackle the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic, CXO roles have become a casualty, say experts. These search firms are now looking at alternate pricing models and greener pastures to tide over the crisis.

Take Claricent Partners for instance. The firm usually does 20-24 CXO placements in a year and takes about 20-30 percent commission. But now, most of the scheduled CXO interviews have been cancelled or indefinitely postponed.

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Even the ones that are in motion are no way near closing the deals since the interviews have moved to Zoom or other virtual platforms.

“Well you cannot expect the company or the candidate for a remuneration of, say Rs 2 crore, to accept without meeting face to face,” asks Jyoti Bowen Nath, Managing Partner, Claricent Partners, an executive search firm.

Newer business models

Now with no hiring happening, the business has gone haywire. The company is now looking at different pricing models and newer clients to tide over the crisis. “We are exploring different pricing models," Nath said.

Instead of reducing the commission, the company is exploring payments in instalments or milestone-based. In case of Catenon APAC, another search firm, Gaurav Chattur, its Managing Director, said helping companies in assessing talent, map talent and also help identify people that can be let go with minimal impact on business, morale and future potential.

Tech hiring

But it is not like hiring have totally stopped. Firms are still recruiting for replacement roles that are critical. For instance, consumer good firms are still hiring for critical and replacement roles, an expert said.

Sunil Goel, Managing Director, Global Hunt, an executive search firm, said that another area where executive hiring continues is R&D. These roles, Goel explained, are typically hired keeping in mind long term returns rather than short-term. So these profiles, he added, will continue to see hiring.

Cloud and digital roles will also see hiring as the COVID-19 has turned focus on technology. Kris Lakshmikanth, Managing Director, Head Hunters India, said there are new requirements in the cloud and analytics area, as the current leadership is unable get a grasp the latest technologies.

Though the positions might not be filled immediately, there is demand for senior positions in both IT and non-IT firms for these newer requirements, he added.

*names changes to protect identity

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Swathi Moorthy
M Saraswathy
first published: Apr 13, 2020 08:14 pm