India has secured the sixth spot globally in terms of employment prospects for the September 2024 quarter, with 30% of companies planning to expand their workforce in the upcoming three months, as per ManpowerGroup's worldwide survey. In the Asia Pacific region, India boasts the strongest hiring outlook, with 30%, closely followed by China at 28%. The most conservative hiring expectations were recorded in Hong Kong (8%) and Japan (12%).

The country's Net Employment Outlook (NEO), derived by subtracting the percentage of employers expecting workforce reductions from those anticipating hiring, stands at 30%. This figure represents a 6% drop from the previous quarter and the same period last year, reflecting a more cautious approach to hiring.

“Net Employment Outlook in South India stands at +30% which is lower by -3% when compared to the last quarter and year whereas East India has weakened by -9% when compared to last quarter and -8% when compared to last year,” the survey states.

India's employment outlook exceeds the global average by 8 points. The survey spanned 42 nations, with Costa Rica leading the hiring expectations for July-September at 35%, followed by Switzerland (34%), Guatemala (32%), Mexico (32%), and South Africa (31%). Conversely, Argentina and Romania exhibited the weakest NEO at 3%.

The ManpowerGroup survey included responses from 3,150 Indian employers about their hiring plans for the third quarter.

In terms of sectors, the financial and real estate industries alongside healthcare and life sciences maintain a strong grip on the market, showing robust hiring intentions at 39% and 36%, respectively. Conversely, the communication services sector and transport, logistics, and automotive industries exhibit a more subdued outlook, standing at 17%.

Despite a general decline in hiring sentiments across all sectors compared to last year, large organisations (1,000-4,999 employees) show the highest hiring optimism with a NEO of 42%. Small (50-249 employees) and medium (250-999 employees) organisations report NEOs of 34% and 30%, respectively. The financial, real estate, healthcare, and life sciences sectors exhibit the strongest hiring intentions, while communication services, transport, logistics, and automotive sectors show the weakest.

The survey also reveals that over 62% of employers have embraced AI, including generative conversational AI, with 80% of senior leadership optimistic about AI's positive impact on business, compared to 68% of frontline and factory workers. Contrary to common beliefs, nearly 68% of employers plan to increase headcount due to AI and Machine Learning (ML) adoption in the next two years.

Regionally, North India leads with a 36% hiring intention, followed by the West (31%), South (30%), and East (21%), it adds.

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