Q&A SANJEEV BIKHCHANDANI jobs will also rise.
The IT space where you get
“January saw the jobs
around a fourth or a fifth of your
revenues could see zero-growth?
Which are the growth sectors in
terms of jobs?
Zero or low-positive is something we’ll
index rise 5 per cent”
have to see — IT’s seen a slight change in
January but it’s too early and the change
is really very small so far. BPO/ITeS, by
the way, has done surprisingly well. Tele-
com’s doing well, so is insurance (not be-
As someone who gets anywhere cause the business is doing well, but be-
between 80-90 per cent of his business cause there are new players); pharma
from here, 45-year old Info Edge India continues to be largely strong; real estate
Ltd CEO Sanjeev Bikhchandani tends is terrible; your industry (media along
to keep a close eye on the country’s with entertainment) has seen fresh jobs
jobs market — Info Edge owns India’s hiring fall a little more than half since Ju-
largest jobs portal Naukri.com. Not ly last year; organised retail is in a bad
surprisingly, given the declining shape (if Subhiksha closes, that’ll take
growth in the country’s GDP his
, another 15,000 jobs with it immediately
company has been seeing a — it is important that it be saved).
sequential decline in growth (net Anything related to finance will do bad-
sales rose 49 per cent in the March ly. In the October-December quarter,
2008 quarter, 36 per cent in June, 24 companies stopped buying, so anyone
per cent in September and 8 per cent who’s supplying to industry is also do-
in December) as jobs hiring goes ing badly.
down. He’s mildly optimistic today,
In terms of the kinds of jobs,
saying January numbers suggest a 5
which are the ones that are worst
per cent uptick in new jobs. It’s not
‘dead cat bounce’, he says, ‘the
market’s found a bottom, but I don’t Anything that has the possibility of bring-
know if it’s the bottom’. Excerpts ing in money is doing well (sales), any-
from a conversation with Sunil Jain: thing that adds to costs (HR, advertising)
is seeing cuts. You’d think supply chain
Has the market bottomed out or is would be critical at a time when the bot-
there worse ahead? tomline is in trouble, but the index for sup-
Our latest index, Jobspeak, tries to cap- ply chain jobs is down 40 per cent since
ture this and it shows a 5 per cent rise in July while that for sales is down just 15
January. This compares with a 10 per per cent — companies want sales now,
cent decline in December (in compari- not lower costs with better supply chains;
son with November), so we could be see- the index for new HR jobs is down 40 per
ing a bottoming of the jobs market. cent since July while that for new mar-
Whether it is thebottom I can’t say. I can’t keting and advertising jobs is down 30 per
even say how long we’ll scrape along this cent (companies are looking for short-
bottom right now. The next two quarters run sales not long-term marketing!). Since
will tell us. But my sense right now is that the over all index is down 26 per cent, this
some level of unfreezing is taking place indicates the relative strengths of differ-
in the jobs market. ent types of jobs. Teaching and education,
by the way, is up five per cent — we’ve just
Your index is down nearly a third got into this sector! Government is always
since July, and it goes up 5 per a good place, security services are another
cent in January — isn’t this ‘dead ‘recession-proof’ industry it would ap-
cat bounce’ (drop a dead cat from next six months and optimistic over the they’re not looking around. pear. Lawyers are more in demand than
15 floors — just because it next 12 months. they were last July.
bounces back a bit doesn’t mean What happens to the jobs market
it’s alive)? How is this affecting Naukri/Info depends upon how the global So people are, like in the US, going
Edge? economy fares, and that’s looking in for more education while the
Dead cat bounce doesn’t happen in the
dicey all over again isn’t it? job market’s down?
real sector. It happens in finance. Hiring We had a 21 per cent sales growth in the
people is a long-term commitment, so first nine months, Q4 will be a lot more That’s true. Whatever optimism I have Not really. Go to some of the B-schools
companies do it after a lot of thinking. challenging — we’re hoping to get low is based on a different metric — I’m look- other than the top few, and there’s a huge
double digits for the full year. We had ing at very low-growth in sectors where crisis there. Companies aren’t coming
How does the outlook for the year 32,000 clients for all our services last year, India has a large foreign exposure, and for placements, those that do come are
look, for Naukri, for jobs? we’re at around 29,000 in the last nine a recovery in areas where India has low- offering less jobs and at lower salaries.
It’s confused right now. Our jobs’ index months and should reach last year’s lev- er exposure. This could be in terms of But, at the end of the day, education and
is down 26 per cent since July 2008 — it el by March-end — this is volumes, not markets for goods and services abroad marriage (another area we’re in) are driv-
was down from 1,000 in July to 697 in De- value. This list includes clients, typical- or for raising overseas capital. en by demographics.
cember and then rose to 738 in January ly corporate firms, who pay to be able to But look at GDP versus jobs. GDP
Which are the cities that are the
— so that’s a clear indicator things are trawl through our database of job seek- grew around 9 per cent in Q1 and will
bad. A survey of recruiters we do shows ers, so that they can make offers to them. probably do around half that in Q4 of
that, over 12 months, 38 per cent of them 2008-09 — that’s precisely the trend Chennai and Pune are down around 40
I’d have thought your volumes
are looking at adding new jobs, an equal you’re seeing in jobs. I’m saying that this per cent since July — this is probably got
would have gone up. A lot more
amount are looking at replacement hir- could get worse in Q1 next year, could to do with the auto sector being in seri-
people would be looking for jobs
ing over the next 12 months (this is some- rise to around 5 per cent or so in Q2, and ous trouble (fresh hiring here is down
today wouldn’t they?
thing that’s in freeze right now), and un- to around 7-8 by Q4 (this would give us around 50 per cent since July). Mumbai,
der 10 per cent are looking at net lay-offs. At times like this, those in jobs sit tight, around 5.5-6 per cent for the full 2009- Delhi and Bangalore are all down be-
In other words, I’m pessimistic over the accept a zero-hike, even a pay cut, but 10). So, if Q3 starts looking up, overall tween 25 and 30 per cent.