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Hiring outlook up, but few willing to relocate

MUMBAI: The second wave of the pandemic has not impacted hiring intentions of organisations. However, candidates in mid to senior roles are expressing unwillingness to relocate, even in location-critical roles, over family health worries and lockdowns.
Last year, when the pandemic struck, hiring had gone into a freeze. Given the learnings from the previous year, the situation — although unpredictable — is not as bad, say hiring experts.
TeamLease Services co-founder & executive VP Rituparna Chakraborty said the first lockdown was followed by some disastrous impact on the economy and on jobs.
“We have seen momentum build gradually since September 2020. Till March 2021, while we didn’t completely recover, we have witnessed noticeable improvement in economic sentiments as well as intent to hire across a few key segments while others remained static,” said Chakraborty.
Antal International India MD Joseph Devasia said, “Last year, companies put hiring on hold or froze it completely. But this year, all the hiring mandates we are working on are active and we have even got new mandates from at least 80% of our existing clients.”

A fresh challenge in hiring now appears to be convincing candidates to take up job offers which require relocation. This trend was initially seen for cities that are witnessing a spike in Covid cases. However, with new government restrictions and lockdowns being imposed, the trend is now pan-India.
“We are seeing an increased number of candidates unwilling to progress on roles that need relocation. In the last 4-6 weeks, nearly 50% candidates are not open to consider relocating this year. About 70% of these candidates either have a family or have aged parents living with them and wouldn’t want to take any health risk involved in relocating within the country,” said Devasia.
CIEL HR Services CEO Aditya Mishra said, earlier candidate “drop-offs” happened due to counter-offers or competitive offers. “Now, at least one-third of drop-offs are taking place due to unwillingness to relocate,” said Mishra. This could result in higher costs for an organisation that may not be able to source the best talent locally. The panic situation as seen last year, however, is not visible today in hiring. “So far, no job offers are being revoked,” said Mishra.
Chakraborty said certain sections of skilled candidates who can opt to work remotely are taking this stance on not relocating.
“Pressure from parents is playing a role in this decision, mostly for those who are single. However, this could be a momentary phenomenon as jobs is probably not the only attraction which draws them to cities,” said Chakraborty. She added that in the long run, certain cities will remain attractive and aspirational for most candidates.
TeamLease’s Employment Outlook Report (EOR), which captures the intent to hire, reveals an improvement across sectors as of March 2021 when compared to March 2020.
The improvement is higher for educational services, knowledge processing outsourcing, healthcare & pharmaceuticals, e-commerce, IT and FMCG, as compared to sectors like travel & hospitality and retail.

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