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Pharma & healthcare sectors see apprentice hiring to spur productivity and decrease recruitment costs

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Tuesday, November 3, 2020, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Indian pharma and healthcare sectors are look forward to apprenticeship hiring. One of the primary drivers for this positive momentum is that more employers have been looking at apprenticeship to offset the workforce scarcity that they have been facing due to reverse migration that has happened because of COVID 19. It is also indicated that hiring apprentices help companies reduce turnover rates, increase productivity and lower the cost of recruitment.

Even in the healthcare space, medical centres are aggressively hiring doctors, nurses, paramedics, and hospital management graduates. This is because the ongoing pandemic has exposed the shortfall of expertise.

Coming to the pharma sector, Union government has come out with a slew of financial support to accelerate growth prospects and there are also independent investments made by companies that are expected to indicate positive signs in hiring.

According to Sumit Kumar, vice president, NETAP, TeamLease Skills University, healthcare and pharma sectors are forecasting 42% rise in apprenticeship hiring on account of capacity building to cater to increase in demand in essential services and products. As apprenticeship is not new to the sector, to overcome the shortage of manpower on account of migration of workforce, organizations are upskilling local people through structured apprenticeship training to overcome skilled workforce shortage.

Despite COVID 19, apprenticeship hiring witnesses a positive traction, net apprenticeship outlook stands at 33% according to NETAP [National Employability through Apprenticeship programme], India’s largest degree apprenticeship programme from TeamLease Skills University.

The current apprenticeship hiring trends in India from July to December, 2020 as per the TeamLease in its Apprenticeship Outlook Report states 46% of corporates are now willing to hire more apprentices, as compared to 41% in H2 2019.

Companies hire apprentices to meet the increased demand for products and services due to the pandemic. Another factor is that employers are increasingly accepting the merit of apprenticeship as a successful model to create a productive resource pool of skilled talent. Hiring apprentices helps optimize manpower cost.

The top sectors where apprentices will be in demand are healthcare & pharmaceuticals (42%), manufacturing & engineering (40%), retail (38%) and e-commerce (38%). From a category perspective, the proportion of employers increasing hiring of apprentices are for  trade, technician and graduate apprentices which is predominately across sectors like manufacturing, retail, healthcare & pharma.

According to Kumar, despite the predicament that the current pandemic has brought, the overall sentiment amongst companies to hire apprentices has been very positive. While in the initial months of the lockdown, we witnessed a dip, the hiring intent has bounced back quite aggressively, especially since June/July.

On the one hand, more employers are continuing to accept apprenticeship as a solution to create a skilled productive workforce. Employers find their apprentices to be productive. On the other hand the current pandemic has made many realize the potential of investing in apprentices and building a talent pool, especially local talent to mitigate workforce scarcity in such situations. Organizations have increased their apprentice hiring during the pandemic, stated Kumar.

Specifically healthcare & pharmaceuticals have also warmed up to the apprentice model now. They have been extensively hiring apprentices to meet the increased demand that COVID has brought in, he noted.


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