Indian Economy Still Hiring, But Cooling

Oct 26, 2011
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Healthcare is expected to create 248,500 jobs this year, leading all other sectors including tech. But even as go-go as healthcare is, the pace of job creation there has subsided some.

Nothing surprising there, except that this is India we’re talking about, and not the U.S.

Ma Foi Randstad, the international HR service provider, says India’s torrid jobs growth is slowing up, though the numbers are still at a pace much of the world would envy. According to a Randstad survey of 13 industry sectors, 3rd quarter employment in those sectors was projected to grow by 353,900 workers. But a survey at the end of the quarter estimated the actual hires at 331,200, leading the company to headline its economic summary “Indian Economy: sluggish but not panicky.

Randstad’s quarterly surveys cover only a fraction of the country’s 478 million workers, more than half of whom work in agriculture. However the so-called “organized sectors” in the survey contribute a disproportionate share of the nation’s GDP, employing about 35.2 million workers.

As in the U.S., healthcare is the fastest growing of the 13 sectors in the Randstad survey. The company estimated employers would add some 63,800 workers in the 3rd quarter. It now estimates that 60,400 jobs were added.

Only two sectors showed above expected growth: Pharmaceuticals, where 1,300 more jobs than the original 11,300 are believed to have been added, and real estate and construction, which added 1,110 more jobs than the initial 29,600 estimate.

The tech sector, employing about 2 million workers, fell 9,000 jobs short of the 55,500 estimate.

Notes the Randstad survey, “many IT firms (are) becoming cautious in their hiring. This has been further accentuated by the decline in attrition rates since the economic downturn, which has come down to 15% from 25% in the last couple of quarters. Many of the firms are hiring based on their immediate project needs.”

One positive for U.S. and Canadian tech recruiters is that a slowdown in India should make recruiting overseas candidates a little easier. That should be especially true for companies hiring in-country workers to staff their overseas operations.

It should also lessen some of the impetus for H-1 engineers in the U.S. to return to India. Though U.S. companies have seen some Indian expats leave for jobs in their home country paying not much less than they were earning in the U.S., the exodus has been small. Now, with the declining value of the rupee, and the slower pace of hiring, that’s one less issue.

Despite the slower than expected job growth, and a slowdown in the growth of the GDP, from a high a few years ago of 9 percent annually to this year’s projected 7.5 percent, Randstad’s report says “the long term growth story of India is still intact.”

Adds Randstad, “even though a deceleration in job growth rates is now being experienced, in the longer term the economy still retains the wherewithal to jump back — the numbers may be sluggish, but there is no need to press the panic button as yet.”

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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