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Flexi-staff eases pressure on India

Companies across traditional sectors, including retail, telecom, manufacturing, pharma, hospitality and agribased business are increasingly adopting the flexi-staffing model to optimize overand under-utilization of manpower.

"The more there will be uncertainty, the more flexistaffing industry will grow. Out of two crore flexi-staff in India, only 13 lakh come under the organized fold involving a tripartite deal among the staffing firm, employer and the client or flexi employee. We see almost 14% rise in number of organized flexistaff to 16 lakh across India and 18% jump in business volume for the industry this year. So there is a huge market waiting to be tapped," said Pandia Rajan, president, Indian Staffing Federation (ISF), an apex body of flexistaffing industry.

However, most of the HR professionals of India's corporate biggies shy away from even mentioning about its presence in their companies. But Vivek Paranjpe, HR head of Reliance Industries (RIL), gives a reality check.

He said, "Generally speaking, flexi-staffing is necessary considering current circumstances. It takes care of sudden and temporary jump in workload, which is the sole purpose of it. During the economic downturn, it helps a lot, too. Things get better with their contribution to the contracted company."

Parijat Thakur, VP (HR), Matrix Cellular (International) Services, finds that flexistaffing keeps the wage bill low for any company and it also helps India Inc to reduce headcount. "With the fear of another tougher economic situations growing, organizations are likely to outsource staff," Thakur added.

Rajan, who is also the chairman of Ma Foi Ramstad India, said, "While 'temp staffing' predominantly focused on the gray and white collar industry, it is also penetrating the blue-collar market, which explains the rapid growth."

According to Rituparna Chakraborty, VP, ISF, "You think of a big corporate and an MNC operating here, employment of flexi staff is there. IT firms are the biggest follower of flexi-staff model in terms of taking people for higher level jobs in short-term deputation."

ISF brought together over 30 flexi human resource firms, including — Adecco, Allegis, GI Group, Global Innov, Kelly, Ma Foi Randstad, Manpower and Teamlease — who between themselves constitute 50% of the space.

However, Rajan Mishra, head (HR) at SBI Life Insurance, doesn't feel the need to appoint flexi-staff these days owing to his 'already lean' workforce. "While other major life insurance players in India have 11000-13000 staff strength, we just have 8500. We appoint staff only when we are very sure of the requirement after taking a close look on the expansion programme. But, tomorrow may be a different day, we may need look for them (flexi staff)," he added.

The workforce in Indian flexistaffing Industry, estimated at 3% of organized sector employment, is projected to touch 10% by 2025, says the latest study by ISF.


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