May 31, 2022 – The global workplace upheaval wrought by COVID-19 has seen employers scramble to play catch-up as the world emerges from the pandemic, spawning what’s called “revenge hiring,” according to a new report from DHR Global. “As Western markets continue to bear the brunt of ‘The Great Resignation,’ with thousands leaving the employment market, elsewhere in the world and particularly across Asia, the COVID workforce dislocation has led to a hiring streak which is taking place at breakneck speed,” said Firoze Patel, a managing partner for the firm in Mumbai. “Organizations are making up for lost time by jumping into the talent pool with unprecedented velocity.”
Many roles, paused for the duration of the impacts of COVID, are now being filled at pace, according to Mr. Patel. “Across Asia, and particularly in India, business leaders and organizations are jumping into the hiring market with a sense of fear of missing out, and anxious to play catch-up as they recalibrate,” he said.
Hybrid and Agile Workplace Table Stakes
Mr. Patel says the workplace model has been changed forever with talent, particularly those in the vertical tech sectors of fintech, consumer-tech, and med-tech, making it clear that hybrid and agile workplaces are table stakes. “And companies that fail to offer them and corporations are at a clear disadvantage in this market,” he said. “Organizations which insist on the compulsory return to the office five days a week will simply miss out on talent which is calling the shots in this hiring frenzy. Those slow to adapt to a more agile approach can only watch from the sidelines as they see competitors snap up premium talent. They will need to pivot or be prepared to pass on the cream of the crop when it comes to hiring mid-tier executives, particularly those in the tech sector.”
“The younger cohort is also attracted by the remote or work-from-anywhere concept which allows them to work at any location, often making the decision to stay closer to family rather than relocate for a role,” Mr. Patel said. “Still others are taking advantage of digital nomad visas offered by locations as diverse and appealing as Portugal and the Bahamas.”
DHR Global is seeing companies that articulate a clear purpose and a commitment to sustainability bring that to life through a commitment to their people. Hybrid and flexible work options make these organizations extremely attractive to the best talent in the field.
This new way of thinking about the future workplace can be difficult for some legacy leaders with a contrasting mismatch in expectations leading to conflict situations, according to Mr. Patel. “Some businesses are being forced to recognize this when they confront determined and assertive recruiting by competitors; this in turn leads to aggressive retention,” he said. “The C-suite needs to slough off outdated workplace paradigms and be prepared to meet junior to mid-level talent expectations – or risk being cast as bystanders as rising talent joins competitors in numbers. The war for talent for this cohort has never been hotter.”
But this goes beyond hiring new talent: “Aggressive retention” is being widely deployed as companies work equally hard to keep their people. “This has led to the rise of counteroffers, and an overhaul of company policies which incorporates choice of workplace locations, flexible hours, and hybrid work conditions for the workforce,” Mr. Patel said. “The great retention requires companies to move rapidly to stem attrition and departures by focusing on employee engagement as well as benefits and conditions.”
The last thing any company official wants to hear is that one of their key executive leaders is resigning in favor of a better career opportunity. If the company is unprepared, making a counteroffer might seem like the only way to keep that executive and the best way to address the woes of a highly competitive candidate market. And they would hardly be alone in thinking so, according to a report just authored by Slayton Search Partners’ John Nimesheim.
“Although a thousand articles exist telling candidates not to accept counteroffers, the truth is we’ve seen a significant rise in counteroffers as well as the number of executive candidates who are willing to accept them,” said Mr. Nimesheim, who is a managing director for Slayton. “For companies looking to hire top talent, knowing how to ensure your candidates won’t be tempted by counteroffers is critical to successful executive hiring.”
Mr. Patel says this trend has been particularly hot in the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector’s knowledge centers which are well-established in India. “The global BSFI sector has significant technology and operations centers across the nation, which are being caught in the crosshairs of the war for talent,” he said. “The ripples in these centers could have far-reaching consequences for the global banking and financial services sector.”
Mr. Patel says now is the time to have a strong focus on retaining good talent and to be prepared to double-down and be “innovative and aggressive” when hiring externally. “The talent world which is emerging post-COVID will be very different from the one that was prior to the pandemic,” he said.
Since 1989, DHR Global has been a leading, privately held provider of executive search solutions with more than 50 wholly owned offices spanning the globe. The firm’s consultants specialize in all industries and functions, providing senior-level executive search, management assessment, and succession planning services tailored to the qualities and specifications of its client base.
Mr. Patel serves as managing partner of India and Singapore and is based in the firm’s Mumbai office. He also leads the financial services practice in the APAC region and is a member of the APAC executive committee. Mr. Patel oversees all DHR’s business activities in India.
Related: Moving Past COVID-19
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media