Column - Recruitment trends in India in 2012

Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:48pm IST

1 of 2. Job seekers wait to meet with employers at a career fair in New York City, October 24, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar/Files

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not those of Thomson Reuters)

By Irfan Abdulla

The recruitment landscape in India has demonstrated unique trends in 2012 that not only indicate shifting behaviour patterns by organisations and individuals but also point to resilience in the country's economy and HR sector.

LinkedIn recently released data on Indian Recruiting Trends to understand the shifts and uniqueness of Indian recruitment in 2012. The findings help to show how the industry is evolving as well as catering to these changes.

Critically, despite corrections in the Indian economy, we've seen healthy hiring across the board. Fifty-three percent of Indian recruiters said that they were hiring more in 2012, a figure which is 15 percent higher than the global average.

Coupled with a budget growth increase of 50 percent, in line with hiring, Indian companies are clearly still looking to hire, but are searching for the right talent. However, recruiters still have concerns and when asked what the biggest barriers to attracting talent were, 38 percent said it was competitors, while another 38 percent pointed to compensation packages being a concern -- a result of the economy's movement.

However, what is fascinating is how employers have evolved to ensure that talent is being tapped and this is where the real shift is occurring. Employers are moving towards online social and professional networks to not only look for talent but also to build their employer brand among passive candidates. Employers want a presence on these networks to build and maintain a more robust brand so that the right talent is attracted.

With 35 percent of recruiters utilising social networks to source new employees, we can see Indian employers reorganising themselves more efficiently. With professional and social networks, recruiters are able to prepare and line up new talent as and when it is required.

Word-of-mouth and recommendation is becoming a method of choice ahead of recruitment agencies, which have seen a 10 percent year-on-year drop in preference. In place of this, organisational referral programs provide another trustworthy method of pipelining talent and 57 percent of respondents to our survey prefer to use this way in order to find quality hires. At the same time, social and professional networks as a means for gaining quality hires, have seen an increase of 4 percent in the last year.

These are meaningful shifts in employer behaviour and it means resources are being appropriately seeded into organisations and that the talent pool in India is strong. That's only the beginning, however, as employers recognise the importance of their brand on social and professional networks in order to attract talent. The conversations are no longer one way. In order to acquire passive talent or employees that are the right fit, employers have to be equally savvy in their ability to communicate online and we now see 90 percent of companies investing in employer branding.

Overall, we can expect to see employers continue to recruit as strongly but their decision-making will be further influenced by what talent they see online. Whether budgets for remuneration will increase is dependent on the country's economic situation, with growth likely to continue. Where the talent goes depends on employers and how they choose to present themselves.

The depth of employer brand activity online will deepen and we can expect to see more employees recruited via social networks in 2013. We can expect to see more discussions and vetting online than ever before as the trend for social networking as a recruitment tool continues to evolve. This trend will refine even more over the coming year and with increases in social and professional network populations, the competition to recruit will heat up further, requiring stronger shifts in employer and employee behaviour.

(Irfan Abdulla is director of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn India)