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India emerging as a top priority market for us: Adecco Group
December, 18th 2010

India is the place to watch out for in the next few years with its vibrant market and recruitment opportunities, believes Patrick De Maeseniere , global CEO of hiring firm Adecco Group . He tells Devina Sengupta that despite the growing competition, this is a crucial market for his company.

Where does India feature in Adeccos global plans?

We are present in 60 countries and this year, India will be top priority for us. We have 725,000 temporary associates, of which 100,000 are from India. An estimated growth of over 15% and annual 8-12% wage inflation make India very important in our global portfolio. India is becoming top priority for two main reasons one, because of the internal opportunities and creation of a middle class. Second, a large number of multinational companies, who are also our global clients, have their branches in India.

You have said economic uncertainty is leading to an increase in temporary staffing. Will this trend change?

Temporary staffing levels are increasing slowly, after years of restructuring caused by the downturn. During this period, customers realised the value of the temporary workforce. Therefore, I do not believe staffing levels will reduce once the economy picks up. On the contrary, in a mature market, the penetration rate of the flexible workforce can go up to 3-5%.

How is the competition shaping up?

The price competition was severe during the slowdown, with customers playing one company against another. But the market has become rational again. In India there is price competition for big volumes and a fight for clients. At times, we refuse services due to lower pricing.

What are the things the sector should watch out for?

There will be a scarcity of IT and healthcare professionals in developed markets by 2020-2030. However, there will be mobility, which is an opportunity for us. Another scary trend in developed markets is the level of unemployment. During the downturn, unemployment among skilled labourers was at 3-4%, while for unskilled workforce it was at 16-17%. This will not change much by 2020.

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