Second wave has squeezed the employment market
Hyderabad: The Covid-19 pandemic has badly affected the Indian economy, increasing unemployment. Recent graduates are struggling to get jobs.
Navya Sree, who completed her BSc in Computer Science soon after the pandemic began, is still looking for a job. “I am being offered call centre and data entry jobs. I don’t want to start my career with such work. I want a job that I deserve,” she informed The Observer.
According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, the unemployment rate, which fell to 6.5 per cent in March 2021 after the first wave, touched 8 per cent in April, the highest level this calendar year.
Sai Moulya, who graduated this year, said: “Knowing the conditions outside, I think it’s a waste of time to even search for a job.” She tried to get a job via college placements. However, since very few companies came to hire students, the competition was tough.
While students are waiting to be placed, others who were awaiting offer letters were disappointed when the companies had to let them go due to Covid-19.
Astha Oriel was selected by a global media organization in March 2020. Though she was selected, in the end, they did not hire her citing economic losses due to the pandemic.
“It was the dream company I always wanted to work with. Since then, I have been anxious all the time. I worried whether I would get placed at a place where I could share my skills.”
After looking around for months, Astha got a job as a journalist.
There are very few who get lucky like Pooja Baldev. She was hired as an HR trainee – her dream job – without much difficulty. “In fact, I was very picky about the roles I was looking for. But, still, there are many who are looking for a job.”
A recent study by India Skills Report said that in 2021, only 45.9 per cent of all graduates have been found employable.
Placement Cell coordinator Deepika Phakke of St Francis College for Women, Hyderabad, said companies that usually come to hire students have reduced in number. Every year, almost 70 per cent of their students get placed. Last year, many received offer letters, but the companies, in the end, did not hire them citing the pandemic.
People who lost their jobs during the first wave still remain unemployed. The second wave has hit businesses hard, forcing them to freeze hiring for a while.
Madhu Manohara Rao, MD of Lakshmi Private Ltd, a finance company, informed The Observer: “We are struggling to pay the existing employees for a year. How can we hire new ones?”
On the contrary, Reethu Polepally, HR manager at Vector97, said: “There are plenty of opportunities out there for freshers. Companies have fired people at the leadership level to accommodate freshers. They should be skilful and reach out to the right persons.” Though college placements aren’t a great option right now, they are other sources through which one can get a job.
Polepally’s advice to new graduates is: “Take whatever comes; don’t see if it is small or unskilful. Just go for it. Later, one can explore options.”
Hiring consultancies say there are plenty of opportunities for freshers.
A representative of ABC Consultants Private Ltd, a recruitment agency, said companies are looking for freshers who can work for low salaries. “They are letting many people with high salaries go as they can accommodate three freshers instead of one senior employee.”
Uncertainty prevails as many businesses have been paused due to lockdowns and restrictions in the states. Jobseekers are hoping the positive trend the job market showed between January 2021 and March will return.