Despite experiencing an overall decline in hiring during the course of 2023, projections show an 8.3 per cent expansion in hiring for the year 2024, according to the foundit Insights Tracker (fit) data for the time period of January 2023 to December 2023.

As the business landscape gears up for the coming year, foundit foresees a notable upswing in hiring activity, with Bangalore expected to lead the charge with an impressive 11 per cent surge among major metropolitan areas. In terms of sectors, industries poised for increased hiring encompass manufacturing, BFSI, automotive, retail, and travel and tourism.

The previous year (2023) saw a 5 per cent y-o-y reduction in hiring activity compared with 2022, signalling a general slowdown in the job market. However, foundit Insights Tracker showed a 2 per cent uptick in the final month of 2023, hinting at a potential reversal in the hiring landscape.

Towards the end of 2023, the economy underwent a shift, diverging from the consistent trend observed since mid-2022. The job market entered a phase of fluctuation, witnessing stabilisation in both quit rates and hiring rates.

Despite a decrease in job openings, the persistent gap between openings and actual hires underscored the ongoing challenges faced by businesses in securing the right talent.

Shift in patterns

Throughout 2023, certain sectors experienced notable growth. The maritime and shipping industries surged by 28 per cent, capitalising on increased global trade and adeptly managing supply chain disruptions. Retail, travel, and tourism sectors witnessed a 25 per cent uptick, benefiting from a resurgence in consumer spending.

Conversely, sectors like IT hardware and software faced an 18 per cent decline, grappling with challenges arising from saturated markets, skill gaps, and global competition. The healthcare, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and life sciences sectors (-12 per cent) and banking, financial services, and insurance sectors (-9 per cent) also experienced declines in hiring.

A significant shift in geographical hiring patterns emerged in 2023, propelled by cost considerations and improved quality of life in smaller cities. Ahmedabad, boasting 6 per cent growth, emerged as a prominent hiring hub, attracting companies with its talent pool and cost competitiveness.

In contrast, established employment hubs like Bengaluru and Pune witnessed declines of 16 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively, underscoring the need for continuous upskilling and adaptation to market demands.

Smaller cities such as Baroda (-1 per cent) and Coimbatore (-5 per cent) showcased resilience with a moderate dip, emphasising their cost-competitiveness and growth potential. Meanwhile, Kochi (0 per cent) and Jaipur (0 per cent) demonstrated flat growth, highlighting their resilience. Cities like Delhi-NCR, Chennai, and Mumbai faced reduction in hiring, while Hyderabad led with an 11 per cent dip, signalling a need for strategic reassessment to address industry-specific challenges or seize emerging opportunities.

“Stepping into 2024 marks a shift from resilience to an era of remarkable growth in certain sectors. It is not about scaling up teams, but fundamentally reimagining how we approach recruitment. In this dynamic landscape, the key to success lies in prioritising investments in cutting-edge technologies like AI, fostering sustainability practices, and seeking strategic guidance,” said Sekhar Garisa, CEO of Foundit.