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With jobs scarce, graduates seek temporary ones

Tuesday, 20 November 2012 - 3:30am IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA
Staffing firms have seen a 30-40% surge in the number of CVs coming in for such jobs in the past few months.

Young graduates haven’t had it so tough in a while. Fewer campus offers are being made by companies and even where offers have been made, joining dates are getting stretched.

This has forced many to queue up for temporary — better known as temp — jobs. Staffing firms have seen a 30-40% surge in the number of CVs coming in for such jobs in the past few months.

Unlike in a regular job, where the recruit is on the payroll of the company, a temp candidate sits on the payroll of the staffing firm that has hired him but is deployed to different companies for short durations of 12-24 months for functions that are largely industry agnostic.

According to Aneesh G Laikar, CEO of search firm Selectema Consulting, temps are preferred for functions like finance, administration, accounts, sales, and data processing.

A few years ago, temp jobs typically brought unskilled or semi-skilled workers into the market. Today, with permanent jobs hard to land, even MBAs and engineers are queuing up for these despite the fact that the salaries are 10-12% lower.

Sangeeta Lala, senior vice-president at temp staffing firm TeamLease Services, said the overall hiring momentum for temp jobs has held steady in the last six months or so, though hiring for permanent jobs has dwindled by as much as 20%.

By her estimate, where earlier they would receive 300-400 CVs a day, today that number has zoomed to over 550: “Thus, people are becoming more open for temp jobs. We are seeing a lot of applications.”

The organised temping sector has been growing at a healthy 20-25% for the past year, said Rituparna Chakraborty, vice-president, Indian Staffing Federation. Rough estimates suggest there are 5 lakh temps, with Randstad India accounting for 62,000 and TeamLease, 72,000. Lala said TeamLease is looking to add 3,000-6,000 temps by March.

The change also suits companies, keen to keep their obligations low as they battle the slowdown. For short-term projects and new launches, particularly, hiring temps often makes sense.

“Firms mainly from the FMCG, consumer durables, e-commerce domains are seeking out temps,” said Chakraborty of ISF.

According to experts, temping allows companies to save as much as 15% of their manpower costs since they do not have to bear these employees’ pension, insurance, health-care and provident fund costs as they are not on their payrolls.

“Many firms see temps as a sort of hedging strategy to safeguard themselves against taking in additional manpower costs,” said E Balaji, MD and CEO of staffing firm Randstad India.

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