After facing a lay-off in May, Bengaluru-based software engineer Ridhhi Sharma was unemployed for six months. He tried searching for a new position but could not find a suitable one. However, the festive season turned his luck around, with Riddhi landing a job in Flipkart as a digital market strategist. There are concerns though — low payscale and the contractual nature of the job.
Riddhi is now earning Rs 10,000 less as against the previous company’s remuneration. “Every year, during Diwali, Independence Day or Christmas, thousands of jobs are generated especially by e-commerce, fintech and retail companies. However, they hardly retain employees, which is a concern, and I am preparing for another job interview,” he said.
Likewise, Kolkata’s Gopal Ram recently got a job in Amazon, months after he lost his position as a Swiggy delivery boy during the pandemic. Being the sole earner in a family of six, Gopal faced the most challenging times during the prolonged five to six months of lockdown, and this job has brought some respite. However, the fear of losing job plays on his mind all the time.
According to a report by the employee management firm Betterplace, around 14 lakh jobs will be created in 2020 for blue-collar workers, adding that 80 per cent of the overall demand comes from the gig economy. Job search website Indeed in its recent report mentioned that there was an increase in the contract or temporary jobs posting by 119 per cent following the pandemic.
Both Amazon India and Flipkart have generated around one lakh jobs. Amazon India said in a release that they will continue to create thousands of additional opportunities across the network to support customer demand across the country this upcoming festive season. However, the companies are skeptical about the permanency of the positions, saying, “The jobs are contractual in nature, and the growth of the employees will depend on the basis of their work.”
Neeti Sharma, senior vice-president at staffing firm TeamLease Services, said, “The vacancies being created are short term, and like every year during the festive season, the employees are hired on three, six and nine months of contracts. Also, the uptick in hiring will change following the festive rush from February.” The recruitment is not only restricted to certain sectors but from retail to manufacturing, banking, every sector witnessed a positive hiring spree due to normalisation, said Sharma.
Also, as the companies are looking for skilled staff, the experienced people who had lost their job in a pandemic are preferred. “Around 20 per cent of the retrenched employees got a call from their own employer, while 50 per cent of the experienced people landed with a job in other companies. Most of them are getting a low pay scale or same, but some received a good hike,” said the Senior Vice President, TeamLease Services.
The recently launched QJobs witnessed a surge in registration among job seekers considering the festive rush. In a reply to indianexpress.com, it stated, “It’s not the festive hype, but moreover it’s the effect of the reviving business following the unlocking process. Also, the certain boom in the gig economy in a few sectors might not be long-lasting, as the companies are hiring due to demand which will hardly stay for long.”
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Nivedita Sharma got a 50 per cent hike during the retrenchment period for her role in the new company- Opinion of You and I (OPOYI). “Fortunately I got the best workplace so far with a better salary. The flexi job is so far the best among the companies I have worked for.”
It’s not the blue, pink or grey-collar workers who are badly hit, the pandemic has wiped out all employment gains made in the white-collar space. Suresh Seth who was a manager before with Blue Dart Express for 15 years lost his job in the COVID-19 period. Suresh presently got a job at First Flight Couriers, but is contractual in nature. “After 15 years, a job loss makes the family unstable, and the new job contractual in nature is not healing the pain, as always in fear of bad news.”
The data by Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) revealed that the white-collar employment for May-August was at 12.2 million, the lowest since 2016. The data further stated that the year on year (YoY) job losses were at 6.6 million for white-collar workers, while workers associated with the industry were the next hardest hit losing 5 million jobs.