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8.3% Projected Hiring Expansion In 2024 With Increased Demand For Talent In AI/ML, Data Science & Cybersecurity

Manufacturing, BFSI, automotive, retail, and travel & tourism identified as leading sectors for hiring in 2024. Bangalore, traditionally an IT hub, witnessed a 16% decline due to saturation and high talent costs. However, the projected surge is 11% in 2024. Focus on sustainability initiatives and green practices will create new roles in environmental, social, and governance areas

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foundit delves into the dynamic landscape of hiring trends witnessed in 2023. The trend report offers an in-depth overview of the industries and roles that thrived and faced challenges, coupled with a comprehensive outlook for 2024, projecting an overall hiring expansion of 8.3 per cent.

Hiring Activity Slows Down in 2023, but Shows Signs of Recovery in the Last Month

According to the data from the latest foundit Insights Tracker(fit), hiring activity in 2023 was 5 per cent lower than in 2022, indicating a slowdown in the job market. However, the index also showed a 2 per cent increase in the last month of 2023, suggesting a possible turnaround in the hiring scenario. The economy experienced a shift towards the end of 2023, breaking the previous trend that had been consistent since mid-2022. The job market entered a phase of variability, where both quit and hiring rates stabilised. Despite the lower number of job openings, the imbalance between job openings and hires pointed to the ongoing difficulties for businesses to find the right talent.

Resurgence in Consumer Spending and Digital Innovation Fuel Growth for Key Sectors in 2023

In 2023, certain sectors showcased remarkable resilience and growth, becoming beacons of success amid a challenging environment. The maritime and shipping industry surged by 28 per cent, capitalising on increased global trade, and adeptly managing supply chain disruptions. Simultaneously, the Retail and Travel & Tourism sectors, both witnessed a 25 per cent uptick, reaping the benefits of the resurgence in consumer spending. The Advertising, Market Research, and Public Relations (PR) sector saw an 18 per cent increase, attributed to the rise of digital marketing and e-commerce. NGOs and Social Services witnessed a steady 12 per cent growth, reflecting a continued commitment to social causes. Office Equipment/Automation saw a 6 per cent increase, indicative of the growing importance of automation in streamlining business processes. The Oil/Gas/Petroleum, Power sector witnessed a growth of 4 per cent and Garments/Textiles/Leather, Gems & Jewellery, demonstrated moderate growth at 1 per cent.

Skill Gaps, Supply Chain Disruptions, and Inflation Hit IT, Education, Manufacturing, and FMCG

Conversely, certain sectors faced significant challenges, registering negative growth. IT-Hardware and Software, experienced an 18% decline, reflecting challenges from saturated markets, skill gaps, and global competition. The Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology & Life Sciences, sector (-12%) and the Banking/Financial Services, Insurance sector (-9%) also experienced a decline in hiring. Manufacturing faced disruptions with an 8% decline, attributed to supply chain issues and rising input costs. BPO/ITES, Engineering, Cement, Construction, Iron/Steel, and Education also faced challenges with a hiring dip ranging from 8 to 4 per cent. FMCG/Food & Packaged Food saw a 3 per cent decline, feeling the impact of inflation and evolving consumer habits.

HR & Admin Standout as Companies Prioritises Workforce Management and Engagement

Within organisations, functional roles experienced significant shifts, reflecting a strategic response to the evolving business landscape. Roles in HR & Admin witnessed a 9 per cent increase in demand, highlighting the imperative for efficient workforce management and employee engagement strategies. The Hospitality & Travel sector displayed a similar growth trajectory witnessing a notable increase of 9 per cent. Conversely, customer service roles faced a 24 per cent decline, due to increased automation and technology adoption within customer service functions, reflecting a broader industry trend.

Finance & Accounts roles-maintained stability with a flat growth rate of 0 per cent, showcasing a steady state in hiring within this functional domain. In contrast, Sales & Business Development and Legal roles experienced a marginal decline of 1 per cent, indicating a relatively subdued demand for professionals in these sectors during the year. Similarly, the Engineering/Production sector saw a modest dip of 3 per cent, reflecting the challenges faced by industries in this domain, potentially influenced by factors such as supply chain disruptions and global uncertainties. Purchase/Logistics/Supply Chain took a 5 per cent hit, further underlining the ripple effects of global economic fluctuations.

Senior Management roles experienced a significant 12 per cent reduction in hiring overall, but there has been a notable 9 per cent increase observed within the last month, indicating a potential shift or resurgence in demand for these roles, especially in the Manufacturing & BFSI sectors. This trend may be indicative of a strategic reevaluation of leadership structures within organisations hinting at a sustained growth poised to persist. Meanwhile, Software, Hardware, and Telecom roles registered a decline of 13 per cent, possibly influenced by technological saturation and evolving industry demands.

Emergence of Tier-2 Cities as Potential Growth Engines Driven by Cost Competitiveness

A notable shift in geographical hiring patterns emerged in 2023, driven by cost considerations and improved quality of life in smaller cities. Ahmedabad, experiencing a 6 per cent growth, emerged as the top hiring hub, enticing companies with its talent pool and cost competitiveness. On the other end of the spectrum, traditional employment giants like Bangalore and Pune witnessed declines of 16% and 13 per cent, respectively. The decline in these IT-centric cities can be attributed to skill gaps, underlining the urgent need for continuous upskilling and adapting to market demands. On the flip side, smaller cities like Baroda (-1%) and Coimbatore (-5%) managed to weather the storm with a moderate dip, showcasing their cost competitiveness and potential for future growth. Notably, Kochi (0%) and Jaipur (0%) held flat growth, indicating resilience. While Delhi-NCR, Chennai and Mumbai faced a 5%, 8% and 7% reduction in hiring, respectively, Hyderabad took the lead with an 11 per cent dip. These cities may need to reevaluate their strategies to address industry-specific issues or capitalise on emerging opportunities.

2024 Outlook: Positive Trajectory for Job Market and Emerging Trends

As businesses gear up for 2024, foundit anticipates an overall hiring expansion of 8.3 per cent, with Bangalore expected to surge by 11 per cent among metros. In terms of industries, key sectors that will experience increased hiring include Manufacturing, BFSI, Automotive, Retail, and Travel & Tourism.

· Anticipated Technological Advancements: Increased demand for talent with expertise in emerging technologies is anticipated in 2024. While initial delays in IT hiring are possible, demand for AI/ML, Data Science, and Cybersecurity experts is expected to soar. These skills are essential for enabling digital transformation, innovation, and security across sectors.

· Sustainability Initiatives and Green Practices: Industries focusing on sustainability will prioritise roles related to green initiatives and eco-friendly practices. These roles will help organisations assess and manage environmental, social, and governance risks and opportunities.

· Strategic Guidance in an Evolving Landscape: Consulting firms will seek professionals with diverse skill sets for strategic guidance in an evolving business landscape. These professionals will help organisations navigate the challenges and opportunities arising from the technological advancements, and regulation changes.

· Financial Expertise in High Demand: The demand for experts in financial analysis, risk management, and compliance is expected to persist in 2024. These experts will help organisations manage their finances, mitigate risks, and adhere to regulatory norms.

· Fractional Hiring: Amidst limited skilled talent, the focus will shift to fractional hiring, leveraging specialised expertise without full-time commitments, enhancing agility, and operational efficiency.

· 2024 Talent Strategy: There will be greater emphasis on skills assessment, training, and career progression making it imperative to explore and integrate AI tools along with the skills to stay pertinent and competitive in the evolving landscape.

Sekhar Garisa, CEO of foundit, said, "Stepping into 2024 marks a shift from resilience to an era of remarkable growth in certain sectors. It is not merely about scaling up teams but fundamentally reimagining how we approach recruitment. In this dynamic landscape, the key to success lies in prioritising investments in cutting-edge technologies like AI, fostering sustainability practices, and seeking strategic guidance. Despite the increasing role of automation, it's crucial to acknowledge that the human touch remains unparalleled in a tech-driven world, underscoring the importance of upskilling initiatives. Companies that go beyond the conventional and actively invest in their workforce, champion inclusivity, and lead the charge in sustainable practices will attract and retain the brightest minds in this evolving employment landscape."



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