Job market. Layoffs, Firing..? Hakuna Matata!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Credit : The LionKing 1994

Last night as we were driving back after a get-together, a family friend asked me- "hey, with all these firing and layoff news-how is it affecting you."?
Well, my instant smart answer was " When the jobs boom happened, it didn't affect me so the bust too would not really matter.he he"!
But I could sense from the tone, that others in the car were also wanting a serious response. So, I rallied around saying how as Executive Search firms in the hiring solutions business, our job was to help companies hire the talent they couldn't find themselves. And so while thousands were being hired every month, most companies didn't need to be dependent on external bandwidth. And that the present layoffs-the media goes ga ga daily over, is an overreaction. Companies, in order to grow faster, right size from time to time, and occasionally remove the 'dead wood' to remain cost effective. It is indeed sad that most may not have upgraded their skills or paid too much heed to add value, as their salaries had multiplied over the past decade. Most being replaced in India -are perhaps in the middle management levels, ie 20-30lacs salary level who make way for 2 or 3 junior folks, employed at 6-8lacs, aided with technology..for a higher ROI.
And so, companies will continue to need extraordinary talent or game-changers-and so, even in a recession, Specialist recruiters are more in demand..as they have access or can influence some star performers- who can 'raise the bar' for any employer.
And so, see it really doesn't matter. What, me worry?
To simply say “Hakuna Matata” or in more colloquial terms, “no worries,” when a problem comes your way is equivalent to saying, “ I am actually very worried but I am too scared/lazy/ambivalent/insert-other-negative-adjective-about-not-being-proactive to do anything about it.”
As I woke up this morning, I reflected-was I being too casual? Or flippant? Hence this rather long post to think aloud.
(As a person who began his corporate career in 1984 in India when the biggest employers were Banks and Govt PSUs and people worked until their retirement. I became a recruiter in 1992, by choice, in hindsight the best time as Liberalisation happened, & have been 'helping others find their calling'. Over time, the internet happened, email was born, job portals became popular, and job hopping as opportunities opened up. y2k. Onsite employment. Dotcom bust. 9/11. Offshoring...life goes on, with globalisation affecting our daily lives increasingly...)
Well, I must admit, I have been proactive as a recruiter, and here are somethings that I have been doing to reinvent the way I work, and add value to my stakeholders
-I have been an early adopter of social media, which has now become the de facto window to my world. It has helped me constantly upgrading my skills, listening to podcasts/webinars of a diverse set of subject matter experts, and learn, share and compare notes with a large network.
- I have invested in myself -by subscribing, being certified, and use the state-of-art tools to keep in sync with the technological solutions to the different disruptions happening all around us. Have personally spent a fortune trying out a bevvy of products that are launched -paid and freemiums- that leverage on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (MI)..and be sensitive to the analytics/trends.
-Networking with several different specialists in Recruitment, be it among the 470+ partners of NPA, the Worldwide Recruiting Network, but also investing in building a platform of affiliates, courtesy BNI, the world's largest Referral Network, that has been at the forefront of changing the way Business is being done globally by being part of "power teams" that help in influencing their customers by improved collaboration.
That has helped me add value to my customers- who seek hiring solutions- be it permanent hire, or temporary staffing, or Interim Management. And of course value added services like recruitment audit for small companies ( with lesser than 100 employees who do not have the luxury of having an internal senior HR professional), improve their hiring efficiency ( eg a no brainer idea like training an interview panel on what to look for..), use social media for hiring to attract the 'not so obvious' prospects, based on the stage of their lifecycle of growth !
You see, my mandates are in the business of finding 'people for jobs'.And yes, as a spin-off, in Outplacement, in the event of companies in the unfortunate situation of having to let go their valued employees.
Consequently, 'finding jobs for people', I have been able to focus on a making a difference to a few -who believe in my insights, by offering them a 'prepaid career coaching service'- namely AskMenon.com
"What? You mean I have to pay you, and not be assured of a job? No other recruiter does that!"
Fortunately, I try to use an analogy which is easier to relate..that of the doctors.
In a world where one can google for any information, and we can easily self-medicate, with access to pharmacies in every lane, we still go to doctors..right? And pay them for their insights for their consulting -with no assurance of a cure?
And so, AskMenon.com has a feature that allows one to schedule a call -a la outpatient consulting. And some offline packages -a la inpatient treatment, depending on the complexity of the need( with varied emphasis on critiquing resume/Linkedin profile and brainstorming!), say
-job search
-career growth
-leadership
Well, the extended networks have given me the luxury of being privy to global opportunities, leveraging the goodwill of over 1300 recruiters216k business owners across 65 countries willing to open up their relationships, -all at arm's length or a click away!
We are in the midst of a decade -a VUCA world- that has been changing faster than ever. Luck is what happens when Preparation Meets Opportunity.
And we need all the help -to keep ourselves sane, productive, and relevant! I am open to learning more from you. Thanks for staying with me on this journey. Do feel free to reach me offline. How can I help YOU?
Psst, The best jobs don't always go to the best. Often it happens to the right person at the right place and the right time. Stay connected!!

Jobs in India-Between Euphoria & Gloom

Friday, May 5, 2017

Rupee at 64. Sensex over 30k. Nifty over 9300. It is all happening.
One cannot but reflect .....but where are the jobs in India?
Information technology companies no longer seem the growth engines of the service sector. E-commerce start-ups are seeing big erosion in valuation and investors are marking them down in their portfolios.
The media is going ga-ga with the slightest of speculation, as surveys portray the sentiments being low. There is a surely a wait & watch approach as most companies are not yet sure how the policies, for eg due to US immigration and Brexit, are likely to pan out.
Contrary to what most people think, the Indian startup ecosystem is robust and kicking. Trak.in does a brilliant job of taking inventory of all the deals that are announced, and it is apparent that while month on month, 2017 is perhaps less impressive than 2016, it is significantly better than before!
Mature companies like HUL and Cognizant are shedding skin, while Amazon and CapGemini are investing in the future needs by skilling/re-skilling! Perhaps it is also that part of the year where companies are more conscious of their hiring needs & try to be relevant to the market demands, apart from staying competitive, and leveraging performance appraisals as rewards to retain the dear. ( And let go, those who have not been able to shape up to the stringent demands.)
The market corrections were due anyway. After we are all in the midst of perhaps the most dynamic of times (VUCA is the new normal?). And considering that companies tinker with their recruitment tactics, it is only a matter of time when the healthy growth of companies will drive the economy for the right reasons.
Personally, I see that while most entry-level jobs have vanished (it had got to a point where, well almost all, trespassers in any campus were being hired), the bulk of hiring is now happening in the 3-8yrs level of experience. Interestingly, with not much decline in the mid-senior & senior level hiring. Of course the companies are now more discerning about whom they hire. In a market where most high performing employees get 10-15% annual hikes, those looking for greener pastures elsewhere are being wooed by double the hike, most employers are now willing to pay a premium for those who deserve.

One thing for sure, as a ringside observer, the good days are coming. My thoughts are validated by a Deutsche Bank report that predicts that India is set for a flood of new jobs driven by increased Government spending in the next two years as the next General Elections are due in 2019 & appease voters!
By the way, the Michael Page survey report is a good resource that backs the data with some precise salary information in India across functions like Finance, Legal, HR, Procurement % Supply Chain, and Sales & Marketing across some key industries.
Please feel free to reach out privately to [email protected] to understand what are the skills in demand, as companies are mostly hiring for replacement roles by creating new roles, and for those who possess not just local but also international experience.

You may schedule a personalised one-one counselling session, albeit paid, and benefit!

Work visas -more than that meets the eye & hype

Saturday, April 22, 2017





You pick up any paper, and there is a huge media speculation of job losses, and impending doom due to the visa restrictions.
Not just USA, but we see reports how UK (ref Brexit), Singapore, and this week, even Australia and Singapore seem to have upped the ante'! And passionate counter statements from IT companies in India, how they are not taking away jobs but are actually net creators of more jobs, and how they
- have invested billions of dollars in setting up facilities in the US, directly employ about 100,000 US citizens and support jobs for three times as many Americans
-Over the last four years, job creation by Indian IT companies in the US grew 10% annually compared to a 1.7% cent overall job growth in that country.
According to online job posting data compiled by the US-based The Conference Board, in March this year, computer and mathematical science ads increased from 16,900 to 524,800. The supply/demand rate was 0.26: that is, there are four advertised openings for every job-seeker. In other words, even when companies want to hire locally, there aren’t enough skilled IT professional in the US to take them up.
What one forgets -is post the 2008 subprime crisis, and due to technology, automation and AI etc, a lot of jobs have simply vanished- and a totally new set of job skills are in demand. The World Economic Forum has brought out a series of surveys and reports on the Future of Jobs. And one would be prudent to look ahead, and plan. And be prepared for the changing demands of the VUCA times.
There is a huge notion that host nations are tightening their immigration policies only hint at 'locals first'. Because the locals are displaced because their jobs are poached by foreign companies winning contracts via lower bids and thus replaced by citizens from abroad. On the contrary, host nations acknowledge the need of local skills shortage and hence are willing to pay equal to or higher than locals salary, if no local talent is available. 
What we are seeing happening globally is countries once again restoring the good faith in hiring. As an active member of an international recruitment network with over 470 partners across 41 countries, we are privy to the stringent demands that our clientele for the hot skills, and it is apparent that it is the fittest who will survive!
I think the need of the hour is changing the perception of the Indian knowledge worker and focus be on discerning the demand of the new skills, and strategizing on leveraging the supply of the best & brightest on short term without the labour bondage & no wage discrimination.  After all, in a world where technology and finance capitals are becoming level playing ground, it is the quality of the human capital that is going to differentiate between the winners and the rest.
In this hype, one gets a feeling that nations & policy makers are in a time warp. For if one were to simply look at the last decade- there have been so many disruptions that have happened -the world has changed!
And even in the tech world, and internet specifically, the GAFA (Google Apple Facebook Amazon) have been given a big run by the NATU (Netflix, Airbnb, Tesla Uber) innovations. All businesses that have grown despite regulation or bureaucracy!
So why all the hue and cry for visas & curbs?
We might just be better off re-thinking about the concepts of work, jobs and leisure? Time to take charge of one's own life :)!?
                   

Worldwide Hiring Outlook for Q2 of 2017 - Indicates Modest Growth

Friday, April 7, 2017

The NPAWorldwide blog has this latest post, summarising the Manpower Group's latest hiring outlook survey

For the second quarter, modest growth is expected on a global basis, as reported by survey respondents throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific and EMEA. Year-over-year results are more robust in many locations than quarter-over-quarter comparisons. A few of the most salient points are highlighted below. 

The Americas

  • A positive hiring outlook is reported in nine of the 10 countries in the Americas that participated in the survey.
  • Employers in the USA report the strongest hiring plans for the third consecutive quarter, with strongest prospects in the leisure and hospitality, transportation and utilities, and wholesale and retail trade sectors.
  • Some growth is expected in each industry sector in Canada, although the pace is expected to slow down from the prior quarter.
  • Steady payroll gains are expected in Peru, especially in the construction and agricultural sectors.

Asia Pacific

  • For the second consecutive quarter, the hiring outlook in Taiwan is the strongest in AsiaPac. Transportation and utilities is especially optimistic, with employers reporting their strongest numbers since October 2008. The wholesale and retail trade sector is also at a 10-year high.
  • After multiple consecutive strong quarters, hiring expectations in India are at their weakest levels since joining the survey in 2005. Employers are still adding to their payrolls, but at a slower pace than previously reported.
  • After a long drought, there is finally some good news in the mining and construction sector in both Australia and New Zealand. This is the currently the strongest sector in New Zealand, while Australian employers are more optimistic since Q4 2012.
  • Employers throughout China are expecting modest payroll growth. However, there continues to be a fair amount of uncertainty as China transitions to a service-based economy. Many employers are unsure how this transition will impact payrolls.

EMEA

  • Modest hiring growth is expected in 22 of 25 countries during the second quarter. However, on a year-over-year basis, the hiring outlook has improved in 75% of the countries surveyed.
  • The strongest reports are coming from Germany, which is expecting strong growth in the construction and finance sectors.
  • Spain’s outlook is at its highest level since 2008.
  • Hiring plans in the UK are more mixed. Most employers anticipate some growth, but the pace is lower on both quarter-by-quarter and year-over-year comparisons.

I am privy to specific and hidden jobs in 41 countries courtesy the 470 partner network of NPA, who are specialists & subject matter experts, often focussing on specific domain, industry, levels and geographies. Should you wish to have a personalised call to understand your opportunities in the global talent market, do send me a mail on [email protected] Alternately, feel free to schedule and set up a (nominally paid) personalised career advisory call!


  • The hiring outlook remains negative in Italy for the second consecutive quarter.

10th anniversary of Recruiting in India - Revisiting a video produced by Jim Stroud

Thursday, April 6, 2017

It is exactly 10years to the date that I wrote a blog post after Jim Stroud had featured me on his Recruiting podcast!

Recruiting in India- Jim Stroud & Achyut Menon . It is uncanny that it was just last Sunday, that I discovered the video after 5 years I had saved it 'privately' on Youtube..and had been trying all kind of boolean searches to unearth it from the internet!!

It was courtesy an introduction by my blogging guru Gautam Ghosh  , as Jim visited Hyderabad, and wanted to kill time -and so we had a free wheeling discussion, to compare notes about everything under the sun-as we recorded a 20 minute video-a first one for both of us.

Well this is what I felt in March 2007

In hindsight, I came back from the meeting -almost like a kid returning from a magic show-excited to implement all that I have learnt, and unearth with ease, a dot net project manager here, a C++ guru there, a VLSI design engineer from the depths of a conference, etc..and have since spent a few hours searching!! Well, searching is a euphemistic expression, for I am yet to see the fraction of the results that seem to emerge when Jim was weaving thru the internet :-)!!

I still feel the same with Jim Stroud as he has moved on to become one of the most influential sourcers on the planet, constantly evangelising the best practices-and predicting a more magical world ahead of us.

In hindsight, as Thomas Friedman educated us, the world changed forever in 2007. Am I glad I have been able to reinvent myself, just to stay relevant??

I have since become a hiring consultant, helping companies find talent they cannot find themselves, as we are in the midst of the most happening decade in the history! From a person specialising in hiring returning Indians, I have expanded my network-(yes, I did join NPAWorldwide in 2007!!) -and now have over 470 partners across 41 countries helping our respective network find the right local talent globally!

In world that is inundated with information, next month, I would have completed 5yrs, honing my networking skills with the BNI, the world's largest referral network, with an extended trusted reach of  over 210,000 members across 65 countries, helping create a better impact to more lives, changing the way the world does business!

Personally, I have also embarked on a consulting gig AskMenon, to help give customised advisory to small clients and individuals a ringside view of the changing expectations of careers.

Are we prepared enough-is anybodys guess. With global events like Brexit, Oil crash, and changing attitudes to migration of talent, most countries are becoming 'anti-globalisation'?

I for one, think while technology and finance are level playing grounds for all -the quality of the human capital is going to make the difference between the winners and the rest.

What are your thoughts ? Do feel free to share your impressions, observations, and how do we equip ourselves for #futureofwork


PS Jim also did a cartoon on the Indian software professionals penchant for cricket!! Did you know IPL too happened only in 2008?? Probably some of us were born a couple of decades too early to make a career in cricket??
cartoon for me -based on his knowledge of the Indian software

Safest countries in the world for expats

Saturday, March 18, 2017



I just came across a recent survey mentioned by the World Economic Forum

"In a survey by InterNations, the world’s largest network for people who live and work abroad, the company asked 14,300 expats, representing 174 nationalities and living in 191 countries or territories, to rate 43 different aspects of life abroad on a scale of 1-7.One of these aspects was "personal safety and security."

The safest countries for expats, according to the survey, span across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Would you believe it, the US and UK did not make the top of the list!!

"Check out the top 11:

11. Oman — The cost of living is low in the country and crime rates are very low across all metrics, making it a prime spot for expats.
10. Taiwan — The country ranks highly for job satisfaction, good career prospects, and for being on the safest places to be in the world.
9. Finland — Seven out of 10 expats in Finland said they thought of personal safety as a benefit to their move.
8. New Zealand — The country, consisting of two main islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, is considered one of the most peaceful places in the world, according to expats.
7. Norway — The country is particularly popular with expats that moved for relationships or with families and expats say the safety aspect is a huge draw.
6. Switzerland — The wealthy nation has a persistently low crime rate and expats report that it is very peaceful to live there.
5. Malta — The small archipelago has just over 400,000 residents and is popular amongst British expats in particular due to its ease of settling in, great weather, and high personal safety and security.
4. Canada — Expats gave the country a high ranking in the personal safety and security index, thanks to low crime rates across the board.
3. Japan — The country has widened its remit to bring in skilled workers and expats report in the InterNations survey that Japan stands out for its "peacefulness."
2. Singapore — The island nation is one of the richest countries in the world and on every metric from personal safety to corporate crime, is rated very low.
1. Luxembourg — The country has only around half a million people living there but its crime rate is one of the lowest in the world."

Do feel free to ping me offline ([email protected]), as I am privy to some of the exciting opportunities, courtesy my extended network of 470 associates in NPAWorldwide, who operate across 41 nations -and clued into the stringent demands of their clientele.

Opportunity for Returning Indians to shape careers!

Friday, April 18, 2014


Especially for those who intend to return to India, bring back their years of lessons and share a slice of global exposure to the next generation.

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Keen to share your skills and knowledge in your field of expertise? Here are some responsibilities that you will be privy to

  • Shaping your country’s future citizens with relevant and up-to-date industry experience.
  • Making the best into better beings
  • Introducing discipline for perfection
  • Adding hope to the future of nation
  • Listening to virgin thoughts from youngsters
  • Mastering the art of re-learning
  • Mentoring dispassionately

A leading business group -has set up a new residential university-in partnership with some of the world's most reputed universities and companies. And is launching a School of Engineering Technology, as well as a School of Management by July this year 
  
Openings exist for faculty across different departments, subjects-and the ideal candidates would be quality PhD candidates with teaching and/or industry experience. 
And yes, accommodation is provided on campus with basic amenities. By the way, there is a full fledged CBS school on the campus for your children too!
And yes, please feel free to share anyone you might know.. who is looking for a platform like this!!.