Consolidation may take away 60,000 jobs.
The telecom sector is staring at huge job cuts. Experts estimate more than 60,000 telecom employees may get the axe by the end of this financial year. The reason is sectoral consolidation, which is forcing operators, infrastructure providers, tower companies and associated retail units to optimise their staffing, reports in the media said.
Around 65,000 telecom sector workers, mainly in in the customer support and financial functions, are set to lose their jobs by March 31, media reports quoted staffing firm TeamLease Services. The two segments are forecast to to give pink slips to about 8,000 and 7,000 employees, respectively.
However, Cellular Operators Association of India, an industry body, claimed that the worst is over and telecom companies will be hiring in areas such as artificial intelligence and big data. It is expected that as the industry stabilises, job losses will ease and the sector’s new focus will be on hiring freshers.
Randstad India too forecasts consolidation to impact 60,000 to 75,000 jobs in the telecom service and infrastructure providers sector in 2019, which is expected to carryover to 2020 with a similar number of redundancies in the mentioned segments.
Already in the six month period ended in September, around 15,000 to 20,000 telecom sector workers have lost their jobs. The industry body however, expects a maximum of about 5,000 people losing jobs across the entire industry ecosystem in the next two quarters will see and others to merge.
As a result of operators slashing costs, allied businesses like towers, infrastructure, retail chains and distributorships had to take measures too and it meant letting go of over 1 lakh employees. The sector also witnessed a high attrition of 20-25 per cent on average in 2017-2018 with Vodafone India and Idea Cellular mergers in the works.
Further, as Bharti Airtel moved to buy Tata Teleservices’s mobility segment and Telenor India and operators Reliance Communications and Aircel headed for the exit, things became more complicated.
According to Randstad, the telecom sector, including retail, service, infrastructure and vendor domains, employs about 25 lakh people.
Some signs of stabilisation post consolidation are visible in the sector say the industry bodies as the number of telecom service providers have been pared down to three private players from eight over two years ago.
TeamLease expects that though there will be substantial job losses, new roles will be created in large volumes in areas such as project management, IT infrastructure. The new job roles will require data team leaders, technical directors and network installation experts.
Experts also forecast selective hiring in areas like IoT and content creation/curation in telecom. There is much consolidation in most organisations at the senior level and experts expect hiring against only involuntary separation.