The year 2021 was a year of change. While economies across the globe struggled with a new wave of COVID-19, the event had a significant impact on the labour market, revealed findings from the half-yearly hiring tracker released by the world’s #1 job site, Indeed. The India Hiring Tracker HY2 2021 analyzed employers and job seekers between July and December 2021, to understand the quantum of hiring and job-seeking activity, roles employers prioritized, expectations jobseekers held, and how all of this came together to facilitate a good match between the two sides.
The findings reveal that COVID-19 was a catalyst for the employees that pushed them to re-evaluate and re-think their professional priorities. As many as 71% of employees surveyed said, they are rethinking their careers and may even see “if a different career is worth pursuing”. While 51% pondered if their current job is fulfilling a purpose, a larger proportion – 67% questioned themselves of being in the right job. Another 61% of employees also said that they are seriously thinking to reprioritize their job in favor of other life priorities. The consequences of the re-evaluation have resulted in about three out of ten employees thinking of quitting their current jobs. Moreover, the thought has occurred to a greater proportion of male employees (31%) than female employees (19%).
The data clearly indicates that COVID-19 has brought a paradigm shift in the priorities of the employees. For 68% of surveyed employees, job satisfaction was solely ranked as ‘very’ or ‘most’ important aspect followed by salary and job satisfaction for 62%. Work-life balance was a close third with 61% of employees prioritizing for the same.
Although employees are looking for flexibility, work-life balance, the purpose of work, and job satisfaction, the data, however, indicates that it may take some more time to transform this into a reality. 77% of employees said that their workplaces do not offer flexibility, while only 7% got the privilege of the flexibility of working fewer hours for reduced pay. Irrespective of hierarchies and education levels most employees (49%) were found working 5-day a week with 51% of them clocking 6-8 hours a day.
Remote work seems to have blurred lines between personal and professional lives, more than half of male employees (57%) worked for 6-8 hours a day during COVID as compared pre COVID where only 15% of male employees worked for the same duration. While the percentage of female employees working for 6-8 hours has grown marginally to 43% from 41% pre-COVID. Surprisingly, 40% of employees said that they had no intention of working for fewer hours and at least 35% of employees intend not to work for fewer hours in 2022.
The report further revealed that for most of the employees (87%), 2021 was a lackluster year and nearly half of them (47%) said that 2021 didn’t go as they expected. However, employees seem to be positive about 2022 as 73% of employees said they expect to bring a conscious change in their work lives.
On the contrary, employers seemed to have had a good year as they decisively scaled the overall hiring activity. The proportion of employers that hired during HY 2 (July – December 2021) jumped to 53% from 44% in HY 1 (January – June 2021). Most of the employers onboarded entry-level and junior-level candidates. (81% of employers hired entry-level candidates and 66% hired junior level candidates during HY-2, as compared to 69% and 57%, respectively, during HY-1). Employers further ramped up hiring for roles in functions such as sales (73% in HY 2, up from 69% HY -1), technology (61%, up from 52%), and marketing (59%, up from 55%) during HY- 2.
The data indicated that Information Technology was the front runner with 69% of the employers from the sector hiring during HY-2, up from 63% in HY-1, followed by E-commerce & Technology Start-ups (65%, up from 60%) and Telecommunications (47%, up from 39%). Among the cities, Bangalore retained the top position in HY – 2 with 70% of its employers’ hiring during the same period as compared to 66% in HY-1. Mumbai followed for the second spot (63% in HY-2, up from 58% in HY-1) and Chennai managed the third spot with an impressive run (59%, up from 41%).
The data also indicated a shift in business priorities to overall performance management from stabilizing the business as sales roles that were popular with employers in HY -1 paved the way to data analysis and analytics roles. Hiring for Data Science and Analytics roles was up 31% in HY – 2 from 10% during HY – 1. The shift also meant big focus on business delivery – the Product / Project Engineer role had a spectacular rise from barely 3% employers hiring during HY-1 to 19% hiring during HY-2.
When it came to reprioritizing career goals, employers (50%) stood with the employees as the latter reprioritized their career and work aspects. Employers seem to be empathetic towards the trials that employees underwent during the second wave and are seriously reconsidering their vision and mission. Flexibility at work was another aspect that employers and employees saw each other eye to eye. Although currently, the majority of employers do not offer flexibility, nearly 21% said that they are at different stages of introducing flexibility at work.
“COVID-19 has led employers and employees to introspect their career and work priorities and the sentiment is rightly reflected in Indeed’s India Hiring Tracker. The tracker sees employers and employees in tandem as employees reprioritize their career and work priorities. Flexibility at work continues to remain an important conversation and it is important to pay attention to what employees want, to enable them to thrive in a new work environment. Similarly, with more employers hiring in the second half of the year and businesses changing their hiring priorities from sales roles to data analytics roles indicate that businesses are well past the recovery phase and are poised for strong growth.”