Quess Corp, India's largest private-sector employer, has indicated ‘optimism’ on the hiring demand for the rest of the ongoing fiscal as major cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai gradually open up with a decline in Covid-19 daily infections and clients prepare for the festive season ahead. In the June quarter, the Fairfax-backed company, which derives close to 80 per cent of its revenues from general staffing business, had witnessed a 13 per cent dip in headcount over Q1.
"We are optimistic as the festive season is on its way and by and large people are talking about revenge travel and shopping. It will be similar to the consumption boom seen after a war," said Suraj Moraje, executive director and group CEO, Quess Corp.
The staffing firm said the overall hiring numbers in July were higher than June though it did not give any hiring outlook for Q2. "We are now focusing on customer additions and cash collections going forward," Moraje added.
At the end of Q2, the company had a headcount of 334,000. The fall was on account of demobilisation of employees in banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) and retail verticals.
In a post-earnings research note, equity analyst firm Motilal Oswal said that recent unemployment data and hiring outlook surveys hint at quick and strong recovery in the job market. "Based on our learning in the immediate aftermath of Global Financial Crisis 2008 and the demonetisation, this uncertainty in the environment would likely lead to the conversion of some otherwise permanent roles into temporary ones, consequently benefitting staffing firms," it added.
Moraje said, the staffing firm gained over 200 clients during the quarter as a lot of smaller players were able to pay salaries and sustain service-quality levels.
Going ahead, Quess said, it is looking at reducing its office space by around 35 per cent as the firm is planning to allow around 25-30 per cent of employees to work from home (WFH) permanently. Besides, it has also digitised the invoicing process which has resulted in cost savings. "All these reduced our indirect costs by 20 per cent (year-on-year) and we are going after every penny as hard as we can," he said.
In Q2FY21, Quess Corp reported a 36 per cent year-on-year decline in profit after tax at Rs 36 crore. Revenue from operations stood flat at Rs 2,409.43 crore for the quarter.