Corporate India bleeds jobs as slowdown bites all sectors

Sep 16 2013, 10:14 IST
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Cuts in the automobile sector alone are estimated to be in the region of 1.2 lakh. (Thinkstock) Cuts in the automobile sector alone are estimated to be in the region of 1.2 lakh. (Thinkstock)
SummaryAn FE survey has thrown up a number of close to 2 lakh job losses in the last 8 to 10 months.

go of around 1 lakh temporary and contract workers in the last six months,” Nikhil Kadam, chairman, Mumbai region, All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation, told FE. The spike in import duties on gold from 2% to 8% together with rules to tighten gold imports has hit the jewellery trade hard.

The construction sector, where between 50% and 60% of the workforce is temporary or contractual, is also under pressure due to the slowdown in the execution of projects. Bangalore-based Corp Placement's managing director, Anand Vadakepat, believes around 10,000 jobs may have been lost in the construction sector.

“The slowdown in the infrastructure build-up has impacted us and with a view to making the operations lean and efficient, we are rationalising the organisation to the current level of operations,”a spokesperson for Mumbai-headquartered Hindustan Construction Company said, reluctant to reveal the exact number of workers that have been let go.

As receivables pile up and hit cash flows, staff cuts have started to pick up across infrastructure companies like GMR and Lanco, which let go off about 4,000 people in FY13, according to company officials. In FY14, so far, with Lanco not bidding for new projects, 300 more have been asked to leave. Troubled wind turbine maker Suzlon Energy too has reduced headcount by over 775 in the first quarter, having already reduced the employee base by 2,000 over the course of FY13.

"GMR, Ramky, HCC, Cairn Energy, Gammon – all have laid off workers at the project level or they have left as salaries get delayed and growth prospects get stunted due to execution hurdles on their various projects,” said Vadakepat, who offers contract staffing services to companies.

In FY13, GVK reduced its workforce by 281 people while rival GMR cut around 200 jobs. Mumbai-based Reliance Infrastructure also laid off 112 people though the largest layoffs were seen at Delhi-based construction major DLF, which slashed 1,100 jobs to end the fiscal with 2,600 people compared with 3,700 staff in the previous fiscal. The rest of the real estate industry – which employs about 50 million people – too is in wait and watch mode, hoping for a turnaround with the upcoming festive season. If that fails to materialise,10-30% of contract and permanent jobs could be at risk. "The next two to three months will be crucial," said Lalit Kumar Jain, who heads an an association of developers, pointing out that the sector

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