The Times of India: Cos scramble to hire GST specialists...
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Cos scramble to hire GST specialists

Namrata Singh | TNN | Updated: May 25, 2017, 03.21 PM IST

Mumbai: Even as the job scenario in a few sectors becomes a bit grim, a new demand for 'GST specialists' and 'GST professionals' is creating a lot of positivity. Recruitment sites are brimming with job postings on GST (Goods and Services Tax) specialists and professionals who can join companies on an urgent basis to assist them in compliance and implementation work concerning this landmark tax reform.

Over the last one week, there have been numerous postings with candidates being offered salaries in the Rs 3-7 lakh per annum range by some companies.

An FMCG company put out an advertisement for a GST specialist with knowledge of direct taxation and is offering a salary of Rs 7 lakh per annum. The demand for GST specialists and professionals is way beyond services being offered by audit and taxation firms in India. Hiring experts said this also creates a new avenue for IT professionals, who may have lost their jobs, to re-skill and help with their expertise in project management. A GST specialist may well turn out to be the new version of a data scientist.

Paul Dupuis, the newly appointed MD & CEO at Randstad India, told TOI, "I see new opportunities in GST. There will be specialists required to support the enablement of the whole movement of GST and that will cover every function. There will be people that will handle the e-payment model, the flow of information, the flow of money and the protection of privacy along that flow. It's hard to predict what it will look like, but there will be opportunities that will get created."

Dupuis said companies are at the cusp of understanding how the implementation would take place and are thus looking out for specialists. As for candidates, Dupuis said, "Project managers would be required and IT people are typically agile and generally good at project management. The advice we are giving to these candidates is to re-skill and become relevant. An e-commerce IT specialist, for instance, could get placed in a pharmaceutical company. It will result in more jobs. We just haven't seen what it will translate into yet."

Dupuis also sees this as an opportunity for Randstad India to create a bench of mobile workforce of highly qualified individuals who could be deployed wherever required just in time. "We are keen to do that in India. Being entrepreneurial, this could be an opportunity for us to be in the forefront," said Dupuis.

Sunil Goel, MD, GlobalHunt, an executive search firm, said existing tax professionals, too, will have to upgrade themselves for GST. "Suddenly, demand for such professionals has increased in the market. It has been observed that people who have worked on VAT and excise are being trained for the task. But it is going to be a big task to get everyone trained and upgraded. Almost 50,000-60,000 trained professionals will be required in the initial three-six months to make the process smooth," said Goel.

Larger companies already have their internal teams of finance and accounting working to keep track of GST and its implementation. Smaller companies, wholesalers and dealers are the ones who currently require assistance on an urgent basis to remain GST compliant. Sahil Gilani, director (sales & marketing), Gits Food Products, said, "I hope down the line, distributors, retailers and wholesalers get access to experts so as to avoid the anticipated confusion in July (when GST sets in) that is expected to hurt FMCG sales."