While the Omicron wave has led to a fresh wave of restrictions across India, the demand for blue collar workers continues to rise. The pandemic has already changed industries, buying patterns, consumer preferences, and has forced companies to rethink their business models. But the demand for flexi-staff continues to grow. A case in point is the popularity of eating-in rather than eating out, something that began as a safety protocol but is now a habit. This has in turn led to a rising demand for food-delivery staff. From healthcare workers to logistics staff, from manufacturing workers to supply chain personnel, the pandemic is fuelling workforce shortage and surge in unexpected ways.
Lohit Bhatia, President, Indian Staffing Federation (ISF), says “As a result of the pandemic, organisations are reimagining how to tackle the changing market conditions. ISF members are quickly filling gaps and the unusual demand for workforce across sectors. Even as the pandemic waves ebb and rise, our workers, many working on the frontlines, have ensured that India keeps running and companies continues to meet their responsibilities.”
Suchita Dutta, Executive Director, ISF adds, “Our data from Q2 2021-22 shows that blue collar and flexi staffing industry addresses the demand for workforce as soon as it rises. As India opened up after the second wave, the sharp demand for workers was met by the flexi-staffing industry, which ensured that businesses across sectors continued to serve their customers and stakeholders.”
According to ISF’s Q2 2021-22 report on the flexi staffing industry, there was a steady recovery in hiring. Over 2.15 lakh new workers were added year-on-year (Q2 2020-21 vs. Q2 2021-22). Compared with Q1, there was a 9.2 per cent net headcount growth. That’s a significant jump because during Q1 2021-22, the country had come a standstill because of the second wave.
After a slow Q1 2021-22, approximately 98,000 new staff were added in Q2 2021-22. Most of this growth came from the IT, ITeS, eCommerce, retail and healthcare sectors. The construction sector also saw a surge in growth.
The employment sentiment across sectors was positive. In Q2 2021-22, the hospitality industry had started to prepare for reopening whereby hotels and restaurants were noticeably ramping up their workforce.
The writer is Lohit Bhatia, President at Indian Staffing Federation