Flexi-staffing is ‘slowly gaining ground’

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on January 23, 2018

Suchita Dutta, Executive Director, Indian Staffing Federation

Temporary or contractual jobs provided by staffing firms have been gaining popularity in India in recent years. And given the increasing number of flexi-staffers, global staffing agencies, which have a presence here, have begun to tap the potential in this space.

The organised temporary or flexible staffing is not new to India. And it is not just present in IT and white-collared business, but in blue-collared industries as well, notes Suchita Dutta, Executive Director, Indian Staffing Federation. The sector is growing at about 10-15 per cent year-on-year, she said. Edited excerpts from an interview with Suchita Dutta:

Why do you think the flexi-staffing phenomenon is picking up?

It is a boon to companies as it enables them adapt to seasonal, structural and cyclical changes in the labour market. Many organisations are looking to adapt themselves to predictable and unpredictable changes and with good reason.

An Indian Staffing Federation (ISF) study has revealed that 60 per cent of the organisations engaging temporary staff accelerate faster out of a downturn.

Is the job seeker comfortable with this phenomenon?

With professional flexi staffing companies, a flexi worker gets all the statutory social benefits, health insurance and other benefits that they are entitled to. The salary is also parallel between flexi and permanent jobs and should therefore be viewed in the same job category.

But the acceptance is still low in India, as the requirement of security comes attached with the word “permanent” and is the driving factor of all decisions.

However, in this climate change of economy where nothing is permanent, it is best to be aware than be caught in surprise.

Job seekers in the IT sector have always preferred to work on projects as it helps enhance their skills consistently. But in other industries, skill enhancement is not looked upon with similar criticality.

Who are those that look for flexi-staffing proposition?

Fresh graduates and first time job seekers account for a majority of flexi staffing employees at the moment. Freshers benefit from such a proposition as they get an opportunity to work for major brands on short-term projects and gain experience.

It benefits women returning to work post break and retired professionals with niche skill sets as they can opt to work for multiple clients and charge a premium for their services.

What are the key challenges for the staffing industry?

The biggest challenge is the sector is over-regulated but under-supervised. There are around 100 different laws that a staffing company needs to adhere to. We need to move away from multiplicity of labour laws to a single labour code. Labour reforms are crucial and key to further the growth of the industry in India.

ISF is continuously working with the Centre and other stakeholders to address the various challenges.

How are the ongoing labour reforms expected to impact the staffing industry?

The ongoing labour reforms are a great start for the staffing industry. It will bring positive momentum of growth, but efforts to usher in a real change are yet to gain ground.

Published on April 12, 2015

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