27 March 2016 13:45:52 IST

What the hot jobs are in 2016

Fintech, supply-chain management and FMCG: three sectors to look out for

Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future — Neils Bohr, Danish physicist and Nobel laureate

As we enter a new year, it is important to review the year that went by. This stock taking not only helps in celebrating our successes and achievements but also to learn from the failures and setbacks of the previous year. At the same time we also need to scan the horizon and to evaluate the future opportunities. John Naisbitt, the author of Megatrends, said the most reliable way to forecast the future is to try to understand the present.

The broad consensus is 2016 will see the creation of 800,000 to 1 million new jobs in the formal sector. In India, organised labour is just 10 per cent; we have a huge informal labour work force. The organised labour market is defined as people working in incorporated, registered or in publicly traded companies. These employees enjoy social security benefits provided by the State and, in a way, have an identity. The government is trying hard to bring more and more people in to the formal labour network by widening the social security net through covering more people through the provident fund and employee state insurance schemes.

One million jobs a month Vs one million jobs a year

India is one of the youngest countries in the world with over 600 million people below the age of 25. We add one million people to the labour force every month. The government and society have a huge responsibility to provide employment opportunities to the new entrants. Any failure in this will lead to social tensions and turmoil. But the big challenge is this: the economy is creating one million jobs a year but what is needed is one million jobs a month. How to bridge the yawning gap is a million dollar question.

To some extent the multiplier effect will address this issue. For every new job created in the formal sector three jobs are created in the informal sector. Every BPO job results in creation of jobs for drivers, security guards, janitorial services and so on. The focus of this article is to look at the top three sectors which appear as the most promising for employment opportunities and as the drivers for growth.

Sector: Fintech

Profiles: Data scientists / data analysts / Internet security professionals

The world has seen phenomenal growth of Fintech (financial technology) companies in the last couple of years and India is no exception. India has over 350 million Internet users, which is more than the population of the US, but the overall Internet penetration level is still under 30 per cent. Given the proliferation of Smart phones and growing comfort with online financial transactions, there is a huge untapped potential and opportunity for growth . It is only natural there will be an exponential growth of this sector. This sector is hungry for good talent.

Fintech companies have emerged as major disruptors which upset the status quo of the entrenched financial services majors like banks. Apple Pay, the mobile payment and digital wallet service of Apple, and Alipay, a major Chinese payment service, are threatening to upend conventional banking and financial services. Banks are right to be afraid of the fintech boom. These firms are developing innovations that include peer-to-peer lending platforms that match borrowers and savers. They are helping banks detect fraud and money laundering using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Customer XPS, BankBazaar.com, Paytm, Happay, are some of the rapidly emerging fintech companies in India.

The fintech companies need niche talent like data analysts and data scientists who have data crunching and data analysis skills. Many of the companies employ an army of Cyber security experts to guard against any potential frauds and disruptions.

Sector: FMCG, consumer durables, consumer electronics

Profiles: Brand managers, sales and distribution professionals

There will be good growth in this sector aided by the recovering economy. When the 7 th Pay Commission recommendations are implemented, there will be more money in the hands of government employees and pensioners. This is likely to boost consumer spending. The Lok Sabha recently passed the Bonus Act Amendment Bill 2015 and this will now go to the Upper House. This Bill provides for enhancing monthly bonus calculation ceiling to ₹7,000 per month from the existing ₹3,500. It also seeks to enhance the eligibility limit for payment of bonus from ₹10,000 per month to ₹21,000 per month. With this a lot of employees who were earlier out of the purview of the Bonus Act will now be covered. All this will result in FMCG and consumer durables beefing up their teams in areas like brand management, sales and distribution.

Sector: 3 PL and supply-chain management

Profile: Logisticians and supply-chain professionals

The 3 PL (third party logistics) and supply chain industry in India is on the cusp of major growth. The logistics cost in India is 13-14 per cent of GDP, almost double compared to more developed economies. There is enormous opportunity to cut the logistics cost and to become globally competitive. India ranks at 54th in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index 2014, out of 160 countries. It is behind South Africa, Chile, Panama, Vietnam and Indonesia. China is ranked nine, immediately behind Switzerland while Germany leads the index.

Implementation of GST will add 1-1.5 per cent to the GDP and will create super-sized warehouses. Like the mammoth Amazon Fulfilment centres in the West, these massive warehouses and sophisticated supply chains will need highly trained and specialised talent. The sector will need warehouse designers, managers, route planners, supply chain analysts, transport managers and industrial engineers.

Sector agonistic jobs

A growing economy will also need several sector agonistic people to cater to many segments of the economy. Some of the most promising are listed below:

Chief sustainability officers (CSO)

With the increasing focus on triple bottom line (People, Profit and Planet), more and more companies are looking to hire sustainability officers. These jobs cover a wide gamut of activities to make companies responsible corporate citizens.

The role holders are expected to keep a tab on the carbon footprint of the enterprise and to make an environmental assessment of the new projects, and a CSO acts as the eyes and ears to the board on these vital matters.

CSR Programme Managers

With the CSR spending becoming mandatory under the Company Law, Indian companies are expected to spend close to ₹25,000 crore on CSR initiatives. Companies need qualified and competent programme managers to handle this job responsibly. There will be a great demand for people with social work and also with programme management skills.

HSE Skills

Handling health and safety issues will be another hot skill needed. This demand is fuelled by the Make in India campaign, which will result in enhanced activity in the manufacturing sector and also by increasing focus on the employees’ health and well-being. Companies will hire people with counselling skills to help employees handle work place stress.

In summary, the year 2016 will present exciting job opportunities for talented and motivated professionals. Develop your skills and widen your perspective to make the best use of the plethora of opportunities.

Wishing you all a very happy and fruitful new year!

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