“The epidemic has impacted trade and this would mean that companies would look to conserve their bottom-line by saving costs. As a knee-jerk reaction, it could hit hiring. We have received this feedback from our conversations with companies. If this snowballs into a bigger issue, we may not meet our targets of doubling growth numbers in the next fiscal year. Targets may have to be revised downwards,” said Joseph Devasia, India MD, Antal International, a global executive recruitment company.
BTI Executive Search MD James Agrawal said there have been delays in accomplishing regional and international assignments, which contribute 20-25% to the firm’s turnover.
“Managers are unable to travel on assignments and interviews, and this has temporarily impacted the hiring business,” said Agrawal.
International SOS, which is a leading provider of travel and medical security risk service, said, over the past month, it has seen a very large spike in calls to its assistance centre in India, with its customers and companies reaching out for help on medical and security fronts. Firms rely on such travel advisory to give guidance to their employees for travel to China and Southeast Asia.
International SOS India MD Neeraj Balani said: “India and China share a strong relationship in both manufacturing and services industry. Majority of our manufacturing industries look at China for import of raw materials, WIP (work in process) or even spare parts. As Chinese factories shut supplies of the raw materials and spares, it will start impacting the manufacturing in India, lowering our output. Standstill factories not only means a lower goods output, the manpower in factories will be affected too.”
On the services industry, Balani said most of the large IT firms have a tightly integrated delivery models where multiple centres collaborate to service the same customer. “A shutdown in China affects the overall delivery of a services company. Travel restrictions also means senior management across countries are unable to travel for key meetings and decision-making,” said Balani.
However, Sanjay Shetty, head (strategic account management), Randstad India, said these are early days to judge the impact on hiring. “We are not seeing any impact on hiring at the moment. We will have to wait and watch how things turn in the next couple of weeks. If the condition improves, it will be back to business as usual. However, if matters worsen, decision makers from sectors like manufacturing, which depend heavily on raw material supply from China, may have to take a relook at their business plans,” said Shetty.