Ramesh Jude Thomas
President & CKO, Equitor Management Consulting

Last week someone sent me three questions to be answered for publishing in a leading newspaper. They read like this:
Which are the sectors that are still hiring?Which are the sectors that are going down? Should new courses be introduced at this hour of crisis and what are these courses?
But don’t dismiss them yet. It reflects the concerns of the society at large in the current downturn. They might be worth considering individually:

1. Which sectors are still hiring?
Having worked through two downturns even before this one, it is too simplistic to look at sectoral trends. There are fundamentally strong companies that do well, and there are companies that do badly even without a recession.
So the IT industry, the toast of our economy, has taken a severe beating and are laying off people too. But there are sound firms ( you know) which are still net hirers. They have a strong business model and continue to serve satisfied customers and generate good earnings. On the other hand, while telecom as a category continues to show strong growth and forecasts, there are some companies being sold, some reducing costs and so on.

2. Which industries are going down?
Again there are sectors that are now being labeled with poor hiring reputations like retail, advertising, media, textiles and garments. However in each of these there are good, sound performers looking for quality people. The point is this: we are not a socialist economy with an employment target. We need high performance companies, powered by high performance individuals. We have too few of both. I think the past few years have been a great joy ride for both companies and job seekers. So even when the downturn passes we need a more realistic approach to the job market. There is no free lunch.

3. What new courses can create new jobs?
Even here I think the current courses need to focus on producing a better quality professional rather than on employability. Having said that there are any number of new opportunities in an emerging economy like India, but too many fly by night operators pretending to getting us ready for these. How many good institutes teach communications, photography, graphic designing, or catering? But then look how a training company like Frankfinn went public or the unqualified success of Naukri.

There are no broad generalized solutions to this crisis. We all need to contribute to performance, not just hope to reap the benfits.

As long as we understand that we cannot be Socialists who want to live like Capitalists we will ride out any number of crises.


Bad times and big opportunities

So, it’s real and present. And, it’s probably one of the worst ever. Now, that being the case, one can only look for what good can come out of it. And that’s what was precisely articulated by Ramesh Jude Thomas at a recently held B-School seminar under the ET in Campus initiative on ‘Brands in the boardroom’. See a video clip of the event here.