JANZZ Mindsetter – Interview with Kamal Karanth

JANZZ Mindsetter is about critical mindsets. It offers space for critical voices to offer insights into HR, recruiting, digital transformation, labor market issues such as gender and minority discrimination and many more topical issues.

Kamal Karanth on Issues in the Indian Job Market

Kamal Karanth, Managing Director of Kelly Services and KellyOCG India, is the critical voice that opens our blog series JANZZ Mindsetter. Kamal has over 20 years of experience in the recruitment industry. Kelly Services is a leader in providing workforce solutions, providing employment to more than 550,000 employees annually. In this short interview, he reports on current challenges in the Indian job market.

JANZZ Mindsetter: Kamal Karanth

What are the biggest challenges you are facing in the IT staffing market in India at the moment?

Skills: One of the challenges that we continuously face is the demand and supply gap in India. In the IT sector, we see an abundance of opportunities but do not see talent that is skilled enough to fill these roles as the technology change and the skill upgrade pace are not matching. Companies always find it difficult to find good candidates with skills, especially in PHP, Ruby-on-Rails, Python, Android and iOS.

Mobility: Also, India being a vast nation, mobilizing talent to the required location is a challenge at times. IT talent demand is primarily in NCR (Northern Capital region which consists of Delhi, Noida & Gurgaon), Pune (West) and South (Bangalore, Hyderabad & Chennai). Vast IT Talent is concentrated in the South of India and recently have become less mobile as more opportunities are available down south.

Expectations mismatch: We also see that IT talent tend to be ambitious in their salary expectations. The standard hikes in IT are typically around 25-30%. However, we see talent negotiating for hikes around 40-50% which upsets the budgets of organizations.

How do you encounter these challenges?

Our experience in staffing for more than 60 years helps us. Our recruiters are seasoned and competent, and they understand the talent dynamics. We continuously map new technologies and the talent who are well versed with that, we build talent communities in advance so that we can offer them to IT Companies in time. We have offices in all the IT Talent hubs and have developed a network with talent, we try to offer employment to talent who are in the same city to avoid mobility issues, on candidates expectations, our seasoned recruiters use a blend of their experience and relationship to set realistic expectations with candidates. Candidates appreciate our experience and candor while making career moves and it brings the desirable win-win between hiring companies and candidates.

How many engineers are jobless in India at the moment and what happens to them?

It’s difficult to estimate this number as we don’t have a formal way of capturing it. But it is substantial. Engineering colleges have been springing up at a fast rate in India in the last few years. Their number has gone up from a not too modest 1,511 colleges in 2006-07 to an astoundingly high 3,345 in 2014-15. The state of Andhra Pradesh alone has more than 700 colleges. 1.5 million engineers graduate from India every year. Out of the 1.5 million, 60% do not find jobs. Some of them opt for higher education, some of them do non related jobs in sales or BPOs to ensure they remain employed to survive.