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Telecom Sector Likely To Bleed Talent Amid Financial Stress

Once India’s golden goose in the job market, the telecom sector is set to lose its ability to attract and retain talent as it faces dues of over Rs 92,000 crore in recovery of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) by the Supreme Court.

Telcos have already lost some of their best talent to the consumer tech in the past few years, and current cost pressures are likely to keep new graduates away as well.

Analysts said telcos would trim headcount in routine roles and focus on niche talent in future technologies like artificial intelligence and 5G to stay relevant.

Alok Kumar, senior director – sales, account management, ManpowerGroup India, fears a Domino effect could be triggered. “[In] most of the places, new hiring is on freeze and they are very conservative in the bonus and appraisals.”

While telecom jobs used to be comprise 15%-20% of the total job mandates earlier, it occupies just 2%-3% share of the pie, he added.

Kamal Karanth, co-founder of staffing firm Xpheno, said over the last 30 days, “around 32,500 employees from the three large telcos” have been aggressively seeking new job opportunities, “Of this spike, more than half came in the last one week,” he said, noting that attracting talent to the industry would turn a problem if this continues.

Telecom was registering 10%-15% YoY growth in hiring in early 2000s, but top sector players are not even engaged in replacement hiring today, Aditya Mishra, director of CIEL HR Services, said.

Amit Vadera, head of government vertical, Teamlease, said the SC ruling will hit hiring plans. “While companies may continue to hire selectively for digital roles, hiring in operational profiles and backend tasks will likely suffer,” he said.

Airtel and Vodafone did not respond to TOI’s queries on the business impact of the SC ruling on hiring and expansion plans.―Times of India

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