Economy

Freelancers are gaining prominence over permanent, contract staff

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on February 26, 2021

Pandemic likely to bring about a drastic change in the recruitment sector with the third type of workers – the temporary staff

The Covid-19 pandemic is likely to bring about a drastic change in the recruitment sector with the third type of workers – the temporary staff aka freelancers or temps – gaining prominence over permanent and contract staff.

Temps have been used in sunrise sectors like IT, ITeS but are now gaining traction in core sectors like manufacturing and automotive too.

Temps don’t want to stay with a company for 10, 20, 30 or 40 years, but stay for a month; six months or a year, and then move on to another.

‘Major change in HR’

“We experienced this trend in the UK where a person works on a car for a year, and then move on to another when it is over. They don’t want to be with us for 40 years,” said SY Siddiqui, Executive Advisor, Maruti Suzuki India, recently at the CII Southern Region HR Summit (virtually). “This trend is going to be a major change in HR in India too going forward,” he added.

Agreeing with Siddiqui, officials of leading recruitment say like in the western world, temps want to work for a short duration with a company; take a break (vacation) and move on to another company.

Munira Loliwala, Business Head EMPI - Perm & Specialised Staffing, TeamLease Services, said that the last few months have brought about many changes in the employment scenario and led to an increasing acceptance of temps in the automobile industry. The freelancing model witnessed a 10 per cent growth in 2020 compared to 2019. Companies prefer temps for roles like analytical, product marketing & research, sales support and recruiting manpower, said Loliwala.

Substantial demand

There is a substantial demand for temporary staffing from sectors like IT & ITeS, healthcare and pharma, E-commerce, logistics, retail and EduTech. There is also a steady rise in demand from core sectors like automotive subsidiaries, fast moving consumer durables and financial services,” said Manu Saigal, Director-General Staffing, The Adecco Group India.

Temporary staffing/freelancers provide access to employers to choose the right talent when it is needed. It is becoming an important source of competitive advantage. “Many of our most successful clients adopt as much as 50 per cent flexibility within their workforce,” said Saigal.

Alok Kumar, Senior Director - Sales & Global Accounts, Manpower, said salary cost constitutes a major part of any company’s expenses, and companies are looking for new and innovative ways to reduce it.

During Covid-19, hit by reduced footfalls at retail outlets or at various point of sale, many companies opted for freelancers to work on a need basis and companies paid for the number of hours worked. This was a win-win for both workers and employers.

“What has started as an experimental basis, now finds its place in the strategies of the corporates,” said Kumar. “In metros, the demand has increased by over 30 per cent compared to pre-covid-19 times and in Tier 2 locations we are witnessing more than 20 per cent growth for freelancers,” he said.

Published on February 26, 2021

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