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US staffing cos eye India job market

Anjali Prayag

Bangalore , June 2

VOLUME staffing and the ITES sector - currently, these are magical words for the recruitment industry in the country. And predictions are tempting: Employment for one million people, including eight lakh of them in the middle management cadre by 2008.

Global staffing companies, armed with well-charted road maps, are losing little time in reaching the Indian shores. Manpower Services India Pvt Ltd, the Indian division of US-based Manpower Inc set up its ITeS division in Bangalore recently. And Kelly Services Inc headquartered in Michigan, US, opened three new offices in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi last fortnight.

According to Ms Purnima Das, Managing Director, India, Kelly Services, "Ease of recruitment and retention is what the client is looking at and we work towards that."

Mr K. Subramanian, General Manager, ITeS, Manpower Services, says, "Staffing services is all about finding the right numbers, the right kind of talent and at the right time." The first parameter is all about scalability, where companies increase their staff strength by 200-300 at one go, he explains.

Though the industry is about 20 years old worldwide, the Indian industry is different, says Ms Catherine Lo-Giacco, Regional Sales & Marketing Director, Manpower Inc. "In other countries, companies are looking for 20-30 people at a time. Here it is 10 times that number."

Another area where Manpower expects to service its clients is in handling attrition. "The employers themselves are new to the industry here. Therefore there is a major knowledge gap in terms of HR practices. Globally we have been active for 20 years and we want to bring those best practices here," she affirms.

Worldover, Kelly Services specialises in staffing for various sectors such as engineering, banking and finance, hospitality, marketing, retail, healthcare, IT and call centre. In India, the company provides contingency staffing for the ITES, retail and banking industries.

Kelly Scientific Resources, dedicated to scientific staffing, currently employs about 6,000 scientists in more than 13 countries. "India is not yet a scientific staffing market, but we see it as an emerging destination in this segment," according to Mr Rolf E. Kleiner, Senior Vice-President, General Manager International, Kelly Services Inc.

And both the companies expect to reach out to the hinterland soon. Mr Subramanian pointed out, "Our focus is the young Indian graduate and making him or her more employable."

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