27 May 2020 20:32 IST

How will Covid-19 impact placements for freshers?

Companies, looking to cut costs due to loss of business, have put recruitment plans largely on hold

As we all know, Covid-19 has had a turbulent effect on the nation’s economy. The plans that people and corporates had have taken a hit in one way or the other. Whether this plan included hiring or was related to any investment opportunities, the pandemic has put every plan on hold.

Multiple business verticals, across BFSI (banking, financial services, insurance), retail, logistics, pharma and ITeS, where a lot of hiring usually takes place at this time, are delaying recruitments. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, enterprises have been cancelling interviews that were planned earlier. Moreover, 70 to 80 per cent of interviews will be cancelled or delayed as face-to-face interactions are not possible during the lockdown. We believe that this is where HR Tech solutions can be utilised to conduct virtual interviews with the candidates or applicants.

Organisations that were looking to hire new employees for various functions have now either postponed their plans or have changed their hiring policies. The impact of these hiring policies is there to be seen, not only for the experienced jobseekers but also mainly for freshers seeking their first work opportunity.

Here is how the placement of freshers will be affected and why companies will or will not hire them

Businesses are cutting expenses

As all the operations will take a hit, the cash inflows of the company will also be affected. As a result, the company will look to cut costs, and reduction in salaries would be one of the steps. This can be a boon for freshers as the salary expectations would be low compared to someone who has more experience and this can be a win-win situation for organisations as well as the freshers.

Hire four freshers instead of one experienced resource

An employee’s salary is usually based on the market experience he possesses. An experienced person would probably ask for three to four times more salary than a fresher. During this pandemic, this thought process can be changed and you can hire three to four freshers whose salary would be equivalent to that of one experienced person. As a matter of fact, the work that is to be done can be divided amongst four people and when it comes to sales this can be very helpful in bringing more business for the company. Even for other operations, it will be useful as more work can be done by a maximum number of people.

Get fresh outlook and new ideas

Sometimes what experience doesn’t teach you are the fresh outlook and ideas to tackle awkward situations. Obviously, that is not always helpful but sometimes it does pay off. A fresher who has just graduated from college would be having ideas that are relevant in today’s market and would be helpful in tackling issues in a different way. A fresher can give a different perspective to any issue or give ideas that can attract new people.

Experienced candidates may take pay cuts

Sometimes, a fresh outlook pays off but never count out the value of experience. Experience teaches people many things that theory doesn’t. Also, during these tough times, an experienced candidate would be willing to take a pay cut which would be a problem for freshers. Finally, it depends on what the company prefers ― an experienced person willing to take a pay cut with experience guiding the way for her, or a fresher who is new to the system but with new ideas.

The training period can be a pain

If the company wants someone to start quickly and put the foot on the accelerator instantly, then hiring a fresher would be an issue. Any fresher would need a minimum of two months to get settled in a company. From learning about the product and the operations to settling in the work culture of that organisation, it would be time-consuming. It depends on whether the management is willing to invest in someone who would need time to settle in during this pandemic or hire someone who will be up and running instantly.

A fresher would surely have ideas to deal with the issues that have surfaced due to the pandemic but there is a big difference between being theoretical and being practical. A fresher would be new to the system and facing such issues instantly would be a big task. It can be done or it might not but it is for the management to decide whether they are willing to take a risk during an economic crisis.

(The author is founder and CEO, ZingHR.)

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