Second wave of COVID-19 to impact blue-collar, gig jobs : Report
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Second wave of COVID-19 to impact blue-collar, gig jobs : Report

The second wave of the pandemic in the country is likely to have a ‘short-term setback’ mostly affecting the blue-collar jobs and the gig or temporary workers especially in the retail, hospitality, aviation and construction industry, according to a report. As India’s economy tried regaining its footing earlier this year, the number of job opportunities rose 32 per cent during January-March 2021 as compared to the preceding December quarter, hinting towards an economic revival in the country, the report by global recruitment specialist Michael Page said.

However, it stated that in the ongoing second wave of the pandemic (April and May 2021), India is witnessing a decline in the economic activity owing to the localised lockdowns, but the impact on the economy is unlikely to be as devastating as in 2020.

The report is based on information, facts and data procured from within Michael Page India’s platform.

Compared to last year when there was a national lockdown and movement was completely restricted for 30 days, currently, business activities are operational with limitations to ensure safety and well-being of people, it noted.

The second wave will only result in a “short-term setback”, however, in the medium term, the growth outlook remains stable for the rest of 2021, it added.

This will not impact the livelihood of salaried employees to a great extent, but it will affect the blue-collar jobs and the gig workers as thousands of migrant workers and daily wage labourers returned home when some states announced lockdowns in prominent cities, the report noted.

The sectors which will see the maximum impact in India are retail, hospitality, aviation as well as property and construction.

“This current situation in India has impacted many people and their families leading to disruption in their daily lives. Therefore, we have noted a drop in confidence levels among candidates to change jobs, this has impacted the hiring market adversely,” Michael Page India Managing Director Nicolas Dumoulin said.

The report noted that the sectors which will continue to lead hiring this quarter will be IT and healthcare.

“The second COVID-19 wave comes at a time when India’s economy has made a resilient comeback. Firms and consumers have rapidly adjusted to the new normal,” Dumoulin said.

Currently, the IT sector is very buoyant and Bengaluru continues to be the hotspot in IT-related hiring, he said, adding that talent is scarce as the task is much more than the available pool of resources.

“More and more traditional companies are making the shift to digital processes and implementation leading to a surge in demand for IT support. India also has a very strong position as a shared services centre for IT companies globally and we will see this trend continuing for a long time,” he added.

Michael Page India Associate Director Nupur Mehta observed that hiring activities in the healthcare sector are up by almost 35 per cent and within diagnostics and MedTech specifically, there is a 10-15 per cent increase.

“We have seen a lot of positive movement in India’s healthcare sector since last year. There is investment coming in from private equity and venture capital firms as well as pharmaceutical giants especially in the diagnostics segment,” Mehta added.

To deal with the talent crunch, hiring managers in India’s healthcare are looking at the talent coming from the FMCG sector right now for digital, technology and marketing positions, the report said.

The demand of returning Indians from overseas has increased for skills that are currently not available in India and contractual hires in support functions have also risen, it said.

The second wave of the pandemic in India has created a surge in demand for technicians in the diagnostic labs for short-term contracts as well as nurses and paramedics.

There is even more demand for medical specialists in home ICU set-ups, essential deliveries for the quarantined and medical affairs, it stated.

This has again opened plenty of new jobs in India’s healthcare sector, in skillsets different from what was traditionally needed in this field, it added.

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