Notwithstanding the pandemic-induced disruptions, the Indian staffing industry ended the financial year 2020-21 with a modest 3.6 per cent growth, due largely to recovery in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, says a report.

According to the 'Annual Flexi/ Staffing Employment Trends Report: 2021' by the Indian Staffing Federation (ISF), women, youth, and high-skilled workers were positively impacted by flexi employment market trends post the pandemic.

The apex body that represents the staffing companies in India noted that temp staffing growth was witnessed in IT staffing, e-commerce, logistics, and manufacturing, irrespective of the impact of the pandemic.

"The overall growth at 3.6 per cent is due primarily to recovery in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year. It is clearly evident that formalised staffing is expanding in both its reach and customer base.

"Organisations are planning workforce requirements by keeping staffing as an integral part of the hiring strategy," said Lohit Bhatia, President, Indian Staffing Federation.

In the coming years, with enhanced formalisation, staffing penetration is bound to grow leaps and bounds, and recovery during the Covid pandemic year is a testament to that fact, Bhatia noted.

The report further noted that staffing is expanding beyond the conventional skills, roles, and sectors and now becoming centrestage across industries.

Tech firms are betting big on campus and entry-level talent, especially in temp roles, thereby, driving positive future prospects for freshers. In the ed-tech sector, with the shift to digital solutions, growth drivers would move beyond K12 to include skill development and learning management systems, resulting in temp manpower requirements there.

Temp demand in Healthcare and Pharma will be driven by the preparation for better response management systems for the third wave of Covid and the R&D investment into manufacturing vaccines and associated OTC drugs.

"The staffing industry has been driving overall employment growth whilst ensuring social security for migrant workers, entry-level and adding 6 per cent more women to the workforce," said Suchita Dutta, Executive Director, Indian Staffing Federation.

Despite the impediments due to Covid, staffing companies have taken innumerable steps to drive social protection to essential workers and temp employees, which has led to an increase in production and productivity, Dutta said.

Moreover, with landmark labour reforms on the anvil, the report indicates that the future of the industry will further propel formalisation through formal staffing, Dutta added.