In 2019, the Indian Staffing industry employed around 3.3 million temp workers and was expected to cross the 6.1 million mark by 2021 with a growth rate of 22.7%. But the industry took a big hit during the Covid-19 lockdown which resulted in job loss of 18.9 million during April 2020-July 2020.
If we talk about unemployment, the rate increased from 7.4% in July to 8.4% in August which is a reversal in trend since April. But this can majorly be attributed to the end of sowing of the Kharif crop which increased the rural joblessness.
Now, the festive season is around the corner. The staffing industry generally witnesses a growth of 10-15% during this time. The demand for people in customer services, logistics, sales, banking, financial, and insurance rises in the second half of the year.
Despite coronavirus lockdown in 2020, we are expecting a spur in demand for blue-collar and entry-level workers owing to festival preparations. Big billion Days, Great Indian Festival season increases the sales and the requirement of delivery boys, pickers, loaders, helpers reach its peak point.
During the lockdown, a lot of staffing companies were semi-operational, being in essential services. Out of these, nearly 50% of them are confident of business recovery within the next three to six months thanks to the festive season. The companies are following the government’s guidelines on preventive measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 in workplace settings. Even the field workers are equipped with temperature checking and other instruments, contactless payment modes, etc in order to make the customers feel safe.
But the major concern for most of the staffing companies is the supply of manpower. During the initial months of lockdown, people returned to their respective home towns and states because of sudden unemployment. Now the scenario has changed. Demand for manpower has risen but people are finding it difficult to return to their jobs because of fear of transmission of the virus while commutation. In many states, transportation modes like roadways and railways have not resumed.
The staffing companies are playing a very beautiful part here. They are arranging the travel (including air-travel) for workers in order to bring them safely to their workplaces. The expenses are borne by the companies themselves. Some of them are even bearing the quarantine costs of employees. Hence, we can say that in order to meet the demand with supply during the festive season, companies are spending millions of rupees.
Some steps taken by the government are also aiding the process. PF subscribers are now given the option to withdraw 75% of their PF money or three months’ salary, whichever is lower. Covid tests have been made free in many geographical areas of the country. Hence, workers are in a better position now, if we consider the financial component.
The trajectory of pandemic my still be unpredictable but a bounce-back in business is expected for staffing companies catering, especially, to E-commerce, Logistics, Financial Services, Healthcare sectors, etc. And they are all geared up for that.