Job prospects in 2014 better than 2013 but not yet pre-2008 level 

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Sudipto Dey & M Saraswathy | New Delhi/Mumbai, December 31, 2013


IT/ITES, export sector, healthcare to lead the charge in new job creation, Sudipto Dey & M Saraswathy  |  New Delhi/Mumbai  December 31, 2013 Last Updated at 23:08 IST 

Last week when Infosys executive chairman N R Narayana Murthy told a group of students in Mumbai that the IT industry major would hire around 16,000-odd fresh graduates in the new financial year (FY15), it must have brought relief to many graduating students in scores of engineering colleges across the country. A week earlier, another IT major, Tata Consultancy Services, had announced plans to hire 25,000 fresh graduates next year.

Buoyed with the depreciation in the rupee that improved their pricing power with customers, IT and ITES companies are expected to make the most of it in 2014, say head hunters and human resource (HR) heads. Go back a year in time - 2012-end - there were reports of fresh engineering graduates with pre-placement job offers that companies were not willing to honour.

Most HR heads and placement experts, while striking a cautiously optimistic note for 2014, were not willing to stick their neck out on their hiring plans for the full year. Premlesh Machama, managing director, Career Builder, an HR consultancy firm, points out that for most companies hiring outlook now ranges from short- to mid-term which typically ranges between one to three months, based on business necessities.

"Next year, we expect an improvement in hiring numbers (as compared to 2013) as the United States economy picks up momentum, with stability in India economy expected post elections," said Sunil Goel, director, GlobalHunt, a HR consultancy firm

However, Sanjay Modi, managing director, (India/Middle East/Southeast Asia) adds a rider. He does not expect much traction in the job market in the first half of the calendar year. "It will be business as usual in the first half" says Modi. Depending on the electoral outcome, companies are expected to firm up their business - and hiring - plans for the second half of the year, say head hunters. In the first six months companies are likely to continue hiring for critical job profiles. "The business has to justify the hiring" says Modi.

Information technology, banking and finance, health care and education, air transport, e-commerce and logistics are among the sectors that are likely to lead new job creation. Some head hunters feel that energy and infrastructure construction sectors may turn out to be the black horse seeing some job traction if the government is able to break the regulatory logjam over the next three to six months. "Things have virtually come to a standstill in these sectors when it comes to the job market. It can only improve from here" added a senior executive from a power company.

With respect to the job profiles, data analytics and data mining positions will be most in demand, said the chief placement officer of a Tamil Nadu-based engineering institute. "Though Rs 1-crore plus salaries may not be offered in these positions, the perks of working for such fields are higher," he said.

While the finance sector was a slow recruiter in 2013, lot more action is expected in 2014, as new bank licenses are likely to be issued from January. Subramanian Suryanarayanan, National Head HR, TATA AIG General insurance Company Limited, agrees . "The insurance as a sector has been growing at double digits," he points out.

Also, many tech start-ups including e-commerce companies are seen as the new job creator in the economy