According to a LinkedIn survey, Indian professionals were cautiously optimistic heading into 2021, with 40 percent expecting jobs to rise.
The year-end data from LinkedIn, the world’s largest online professional network, shows that India has remained cautiously optimistic and resilient in the face of uncertainty, despite experiencing radical changes in the way we work’, and overall confidence scores remained steady between +50 and +57 from April to November.
The results show that 2 out of 5 (40 percent) Indian professionals expect the number of new jobs to increase (up from 19 percent in April) and 1 out of 2 (53 percent) expect their businesses to do better in the next six months, starting in 2021.
This optimism also comes at a time when India’s economy is slowly opening up and, according to the survey, the hiring rate continues to steadily recover back to pre-Covid levels with 46% y-o-y growth as of October 2020.
On Thursday, LinkedIn released the Top 10 forecasts for 2021 that demonstrate how India will reimagine the future of work with a focus on skills-first recruitment.
Online learning and digital skills have taken center stage this year and Indian experts have pivoted to upskill themselves and remain productive. LinkedIn data indicates that from April to December 2020, the average number of monthly learning hours on LinkedIn Learning increased 3X compared to the January and February pre-Covid months. According to LinkedIn’s year-end results, three in five (57 percent) professionals say they will increase their time spent on online learning in the future.
Over the past few months, however, working in isolation and navigating a tough job market has adversely impacted the emotional well-being and financial outlook of India. 4 in 5 (78 percent) unemployed professionals feel stressed as of November, and only 1 in 3 (32 percent) Indians expect their incomes to increase, heading towards the new year. 3 in 5 (61 percent) Indian professionals say they will take less time off this holiday season, while about 9 in 10 (87 percent) say they will spend equal or more time this year-end working at their primary jobs.
Ashutosh Gupta, India Country Manager, Linkedin, said, “India will reimagine the future of work across 5 areas specifically the workplace, careers, recruitment, business, and leadership styles.” “Skills-first recruitment will be a key trend in 2021, the CHRO will play a critical role, the virtual collaboration will be strengthened, and learning will be part of the work of all,” he added.
India will reimagine the future of work across five key segments, according to the survey: the workplace, careers, recruiting, business, and leadership.
During the early stages of the lockdown this year only 1 in 4 Indian professionals were offered flexible work hours and well-being assistance.
This will change in 2021, as businesses recognize new employee needs in an increasingly remote reality where commuters may soon become a thing of the past, many of which depend on sectors and geographies, the survey stated. Flexible work policies will play a dominant role in defining a positive work culture in the future, whether it be location, work hours, or ways of working. Those returning to work can expect their offices to turn into spaces where, according to the survey, professionals will gather for leadership and personal development, or simply to collaborate and congregate.
The survey results also showed that in the months ahead, technology will scale up collaboration. Since March, virtual events on LinkedIn have increased 4x in India, and India has become one of the top 5 countries to create virtual events on the platform. Following the launch of Virtual Events in March 2020, 7 million members have attended virtual events on LinkedIn globally.
In view of this rapid emergence of virtual collaboration, the survey stated that professionals will welcome the new world of work by expanding their tech skills and remote work acumen.
The study also showed that job seekers will continue to pivot their careers to work in various industries or geographies, as three out of five (62 percent) unemployed job seekers in India report being open to the idea of exploring new career paths to navigate these difficult times.
Professionals from affected sectors such as recreation & travel are found to be 2.7 times more likely to look for jobs in another sector. Furthermore, remote jobs are an emerging trend in APAC, and in terms of remote job application growth, India is found to be leading the region, which grew by 4.65x between March and May.
Online learning will continue to be a critical tool to help future-proof Indian professionals in their careers. LinkedIn data indicates that from April to December, the average number of monthly learning hours on LinkedIn Learning increased 3X compared to the January and February pre-Covid months. As per the year-end findings from LinkedIn, 3 out of 5 (57 percent) professionals say they will increase their time spent online learning in the future. People are turning to online learning with this renewed focus on skills to build the right mix of digital and soft skills, to upskill, and to find new opportunities within the same company.
The survey also demonstrates that virtual hiring is here to stay. According to the ‘Future of Recruiting’ report from LinkedIn in July, 4 out of 5 talent professionals in India agree that post-COVID virtual hiring will continue (81 percent) and that virtual interviews will become the new standard (79 percent ). Just as hybrid workforce models are set to become the standard, the survey stated that a hybrid recruitment process combining virtual and in-person elements will become the norm.