Hiring of apprentices in India is on the rise, if the ‘Apprenticeship Outlook Report’ from the TeamLease Skills University’s National Employability through Apprenticeship (NETAP) programme is to be believed. About 46 per cent employers are more keen to hire apprentices in the July to December, 2020 time period. About 32 per cent employers have been considering hiring apprentices to tide over the dearth of resources owing to the exodus of migrant workers to their hometowns. The sectors with maximum demand for apprentices will be healthcare & pharmaceuticals (42 per cent), followed by manufacturing & engineering (40 per cent), retail (38 per cent) and e-commerce (38 per cent).
About 25 per cent employers have been hiring temporary staff to fulfil the demand for products and services owing to the pandemic. This means that more establishments are now open to hiring apprentices to optimise cost of maintaining the manpower pool. The report reveals that the maximum demand for apprentices will be in the form of machinists (35 per cent) and mechanics (30 per cent), helpers (31 per cent) and sales executives (32 per cent). While 31 per cent of employers are hiring more of trade apprentices, 22 per cent are looking at taking on technicians as apprentices and 16 per cent are willing to hire graduate apprentices, mainly in the manufacturing, retail, healthcare & pharma, e-commerce and automobile sectors
The hiring outlook of apprentices is definitely looking up, for instance, 42 per cent in Ahmedabad, 40 per cent in Hyderabad, 39 per cent in Mumbai and 38 per cent in Chennai.
Almost 78 per cent employers admit their apprentices are productive and almost 24 per cent have increased the hiring of apprentices during the pandemic.
While 38 per cent large enterprises indicate a positive outlook, 30 per cent of medium enterprises do too. Amongst the large enterprises, the outlook is higher for manufacturing (36 per cent) and services (29 per cent)
Amongst the companies surveyed, 34 per cent appear to be gender neutral when it comes to hiring apprentices, with some being open to hiring members of the LGBTQ community too. However, 43 per cent would prefer hiring men, while 23 per cent would opt for women. Hyderabad is more keen to hire women, while Mumbai and Bangalore were unsure about the gender they would prefer.
While 32 per cent of the employers surveyed increased hiring of apprentices to tackle the dearth of workers during the pandemic, 27 per cent opted to hire apprentices to reduce the manpower costs. About 25 per cent hired apprentices to handle the increase in demand for services and products during the pandemic.
Amongst those who reduced the hiring of apprentices, 31 per cent did it while restructuring the workforce, while 24 per cent avoided hiring apprentices because of dearth of trainers. Fifteen per cent admitted they reduced hiring apprentices as part of downsizing.
A significant 26 per cent feel that hiring apprentices will not benefit them, whereas 25 per cent do not plan to hire apprentices at all. Twenty per cent feel that they are not financially equipped to hire apprentices.
The net apprenticeship outlook (NAO) is negative in the travel and hospitality space (- 10 per cent) as well as the beauty and wellness sector (-5 per cent)
The only area where the NAO has increased in the current half year, is agriculture and agrochemicals. It was 20 per cent in the previous HY and has gone up to 34 per cent this HY.
While Ahmedabad shows highest NAO, at 42 per cent, Nagpur shows lowest NAO at 11 per cent. For large businesses, the NAO is high (38 per cent) compared to medium businesses (30 per cent).
Small businesses had a negative NAO of -15 per cent, which is understandable, given their poor financial conditions during the pandemic.