Diwali has arrived early for the country's staffing firms this year with companies, including Quess, Randstad, Manpower, CIEL HR, Adecco and TeamLease Services, reporting up to 250% increase in demand for temp staff, marking what most say is a record high for off-season hiring mandates.
Manufacturing, retail, fast-moving consumer goods and durables, ecommerce, logistics, edtech, fintech, BFSI and NBFC, and telecom industries are all hiring, as are newer clients in electric vehicles (EV), solar and renewable energy, staffing firms said.
"Hiring mandates have increased 200-250% of the normal monthly averages as Covid caution has dramatically reduced on the back of much lower daily cases, high vaccination rates, etc," said Lohit Bhatia, president - workforce management, Quess.
Manpower and CIEL HR have seen mandates doubling compared to the corresponding quarter last year while at Randstad, there is a 30-35% increase.
August-December, when several festivals take place, is traditionally the seasonal period for these firms, while the first two quarters of the calendar year are comparatively much slower. This year, however, is an exception, as, amidst a gradual return to normalcy, businesses everywhere look for a way to rebound from a turbulent 24-month stretch.
"We see current demand in CIEL exceeding the peaks of the peak season of August-October 2021, however, the nature of demand is different from what we experience in the peak season," CIEL chief executive Aditya Narayan Mishra told ET. "Current demand is largely in the ecommerce industry: supply chain operations (picking, packing, loading), operations, customer service, catalogue management, and business analysis."
Buoyant consumer sentiments, strong growth in offline and online purchases, and reopening of offices and sectors such as retail, travel, tourism, and aviation are driving the surge in demand.
"If things continue like this, we could possibly see these months and quarter deliver similar kind of hiring sentiment as was visible only during October-December," said Bhatia of Quess. "This is an extremely healthy sign."
The firm traditionally used to see 3,000-4,000 temp staffers placed per month during this time of the year, but now it is more than 10,000 monthly, he said.
TeamLease cofounder Rituparna Chakraborty said organisations, which were managing with a much leaner workforce, are hiring again. "Openings are coming in, which we typically don't get at this time of the year," she said.
Adecco India, where mandates have gone up 11-15% compared to same time last year, said these are record off-season numbers.