The slowdown has eased and the general economy is looking up, but the small SME sector is still not in the pink of health and is hiring only tentatively. At the same time, there’s also a shortage of skilled labour.
Industries that are bullish are in hiring mode. SMEs are looking for fitters and ITI graduates, who are in short supply. They are on the constant lookout for fitters, turners and machine operators, including operators for CNC machines, who are especially wanted by automotive parts makers.
Readily employable skilled labour is scarce. Most of those who take up these professions are generally dropouts and have a poor understanding of what the job entails; quality therefore suffers.
“Salaries for these skilled personnel have gone through the roof,” said Edward d’Souza, managing director of Neumatica, a leading supplier of pneumatic presses, which it sells to Bosch, Wipro and IFB.
While the government had fixed the minimum wage for ITI graduates at Rs 4,200 per month, quality personnel are available only for Rs 6,000-8,000. The average monthly pay is about Rs 7,500.
According to Ashok Reddy, managing director, TeamLease Services, “We are seeing a positive trend in the business outlook across sectors and regions, and that is starting to translate into headcount hiring across levels. Most SMEs had reduced their headcount to battle the recession scenario, and in the current improved situation they have started to hire again.”