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COVID Impact: Are we part of a changing job market?

One hundred and eighty - that’s the number of applications that were submitted on an average per job posted on LinkedIn in June in India. Six months ago, this number stood at around 90.
 
What this depicts is not hard to tell. With several companies having undertaken layoffs and business sentiment remaining dull, competition among job seekers has intensified. In an interview LinkedIn conducted with PhonePe, co-founder Rahul Chari vouched for this trend when he said the talent pool to hire from has expanded in the last few months as many look for jobs.
 How has the sentiment of job seekers changed?
 
Over three in five (63%) active job seekers in India said they expect new jobs availability to stay the same or decrease in the next two weeks, LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index finds. 
 
This is a slight improvement from a corresponding share of 71% in the month prior. The WCI is an index based on a survey of 1,109 workers in India conducted between July 27 and August 9 - gauging one’s sentiments about jobs, finances and career. Overall confidence around job security stood at +57 (on a scale from +100 to -100). 
 
As restrictions have slowly begun to lift, green shoots are visible in areas including last-mile delivery, ecommerce-led logistics, health and pharma. But these are very early days to arrive at a conclusion and mass employment restoration is still a long way off, HR expert Prabir Jha says. 
 
A recent report by the ILO and the Asian Development Bank said over 41 lakh youth in India lost their jobs due to the pandemic. But data shows, it is the younger cohort which is relatively more confident right now.
 
Over one in four millennials (25-39 years old) and Gen Z (under 25 years old) professionals expect an increase in their earned income in the next six months. Compared to this, the share for baby boomers (54+) and Gen X workers (40-54 years old) stood at 8% and 19% respectively. 
 
Professionals under 40 years of age are also comparatively more optimistic with respect to their job security right now. What explains this?
 
For one, this could be simply because increments for the junior employees would be at a lower base. Senior workers are less likely to receive raises in this environment, says Hansi Mehrotra, founder of The Money Hans, as their salary budgets are a bigger cost to the company. 
 
Most of the volume jobs are at the bottom of the pyramid too. With organisations taking a hard call at their structures and delayering, HR expert Prabir Jha says it is putting many middle and senior level jobs under the microscope, both in terms of their relevance and value add. 
 
“The fact that these segments are also better paid means there is a closer scrutiny. Are these worth that much in their value add?, companies are asking,” Jha says. Not to mention, the willingness to take bets, learning agility and digital savviness is also higher at the junior levels.
 
In the end, though, it all boils down to the skills that are most in demand right now. Hari TN, HR Head of BigBasket, says salaries and hikes are entirely driven by the demand-supply dynamics. 
 
For instance, roles in data science, analytics, product management, niche and cutting edge technologies, and excellent general management and leadership skills are currently in demand. “Except for the leadership roles, the advantage for the rest is with the younger workforce,” he says.
 
The trend holds true on the personal finances front as well. Close to 40% of millennials expect their savings to increase in the next six months - significantly higher compared to their senior counterparts. 
 
Younger workers are also upbeat about their investments picking up during this period. Mehrotra says this could be because they have managed to spend a lot less during the lockdown and perhaps, are optimistic about maintaining the lower spending going forward.
 
One tip she’d suggest? Use this time to learn the basics and make a personal financial plan. Salaried people have to be conscious that even if their industry is not affected directly, there could be flow-on effects from people in other sectors not being able to spend as much as before.
 

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