Hiring agencies said they are getting specific mandates from firms to bring them candidates who have worked in a sector that got disrupted. As consolidation across industries is expected to increase, talent that can work under pressure with resilience and enable such transitions is in demand.
Claricent Partners managing partner Jyoti Bowen Nath said a leading cement major looking to recruit at the CXO level has asked the executive search firm to source talent from the auto industry, which is badly hit by the Covid-19 crisis. “There are extremely good professionals there and, being a process industry largely, the processes as such are similar. Moreover, one can get a fresh perspective when you hire from outside your sector,” said Bowen Nath.
The demand is also coming from consumer-facing sectors like FMCG/consumer durables for professionals who have work experience in hospitality and aviation. “Like FMCG, these sectors are very consumer-focused, and hence the synergies. Moreover, in future, business is going to be all about consolidation, mergers and alliances, which have their own challenges. Professionals from aviation, hospitality, telecom, etc, are not alien to such pressures and hence today are in demand for businesses going the same route in the new normal,” said Bowen Nath.
RPG Enterprises president (group HR) S Venkatesh said the group looks for talent from industries that undergo disruption and challenges in their business models. “It’s quite easy for a leader or manager to perform well in an organisation that has a monopoly in a sector. We check out if our candidates are people who have been through a crisis situation, who are well grounded in working under pressure and in a challenging environment, and have the resilience and ability to bounce back,” said Venkatesh. In fact, RPG Enterprises is also considering building this aspect into its competency model internally.
However, it’s not that the talent that is available in these Covid-hit sectors is being hired at discounted compensation levels. “In sectors looking for such talent, the pay scales are usually higher. If a pharma or FMCG company is hiring someone from auto components, by way of internal parity, the person would come at a higher salary. We are advising companies not to bring good talent at discounted market rates because, when the job market picks up, such talent would easily be at risk and get picked up by others,” said BTI Executive Search MD James Agrawal.
Most companies are saving on cash to tide over the current crisis. Although hiring is picking up, it’s mostly at the leadership level or replacement hiring. “Recruitment is a discretionary spend for companies and, therefore, this cost was the first to be attacked when the pandemic began. As fresh hiring begins, aviation and hospitality could be the talent magnets for FMCG, pharma and agro companies. The new rounds of fresh hiring could see cross-sector talent movement similar to what one saw when telecom talent migrated to financial technology companies,” said XPheno co-founder Kamal Karanth.