Global in-house centres in India revive pre-Covid-19 hiring plans, grow headcount

Global in-house centres (GICs), or captive units, of most multinational firms are going ahead with their pre-Covid-19 hiring plans in India. Hiring resumes after a brief lull in the first few months of the pandemic, according to leading recruitment firms.

These companies are to hire as projected at the start of the year except for those in sectors like travel and hospitality, severely impacted by the pandemic. Some are even increasing headcount faster than their forecast initial estimates.

Global in-house centres have grown at about 8-10% annually over the last few years, according to management consultancy firm Zinnov. There are about 1,350 GICs in India with a total employee base of 1.2 million at present. This year, it is expected to increase by about 5-7% — higher than expected at the start of the pandemic.

“As long as the parent company is doing well operationally and India is seen as a long term, high-value add centre, there will not be a drop in spends or recruitment,” said Mohammed Faraz Khan, principal & Head of GCoE Accelerator Platform at Zinnov.

Multinational companies such as BP, GSK and Commonwealth Bank have said that they would hire about 2,000 people each in India over the next few months.

Healthcare and pharma firms who have captives in India are also in the process of expanding operations. They are seeing a surge in demand for their technology-led services.

In several cases, firms are coupling insourcing with digital transformation initiatives, said Gaurav Chattur, managing director-Asia Pacific of Catenon.

“Companies are looking at both cost arbitrage as well as digital transformation and seeing where it can be done best,” he said.

Consultants said demand to set up new centres in India has been witnessed both from larger companies as well as startups.

“There was a bit of a pause, but there is a pipeline of new global captive centres,” said Kamal Karanth, co-founder of Xpheno.

Several tech startups are looking to set up smaller teams in India to tap into the availability of highly skilled talent.

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