Indian telcos poach start-up sector for new 5G workforce

start-up sector telcos
Image by BreizhAtao | Bigstockphoto

India’s telecom sector is actively looking to hire around 15,000-20,000 people to support upcoming 5G network rollouts by all three private telcos – and they’re turning to the start-up sector to ramp up hiring quickly.

Two thirds of the 15,000-20,000 positions will need to be filled by December 2022 to support 5G rollouts, the Economic Times reported. In the July-September quarter, the telecom sector is expected to add 6,000 jobs to support both 5G and fixed broadband rollouts. The telecom sector is also looking to hire freshers for the July-December 2022 period.

With Indian telcos looking to develop various use cases to drive 5G adoption in both B2B and consumer spaces, they are hiring people in areas like augmented reality, virtual reality, IoT, cybersecurity, and other related areas.

Plenty of start-up talent available

One practical reason for targeting the start-up sector is that it’s a rich mine of newly available talent. ET reports that India’s start-up sector has laid off as many as 23,000 employees since January 2020, resulting in a readymade pool of prospective employees for the telecom sector.

Mass layoffs in the start-up sector have also led to an increase in voluntary attrition. The report added that an estimated 40,000 start-up employees are on the hunt for new jobs as they look for stabler and secure jobs with traditional companies and MNCs. Start-ups are currently making efforts to cut costs amid a dry spell of new funding from investors.

Interestingly, the telecom sector just saw its highest attrition in six quarters at 8.87% in the April-June quarter compared with 7.88% in the January-March, due to a combination of people leaving jobs due to unsatisfactory appraisals, according to staffing firm TeamLease Services.

Ironically, telecom operators lost a lot of employees to start-ups in the last 24 months due to financial stress and policy and regulatory-related uncertainty. With relief from the government in place, coupled with a successful 5G auction, they are now aggressively hiring people to support their operations.

Telcos offer stable alternative

“The fear of uncertainty and job security has led employees to give up on their start-up dreams and go back to a stable work environment,” Sachin Alug, chief executive of NLB Services, a staffing firm, was quoted as saying by the publication.

“For instance, there are around 15,000 job openings from the telecom sector for cloud computing experts, user experience designers, cyber security specialists, data science and data analytics experts currently. [These profiles have seen] almost 15-20% month-on-month growth since January 2022,” Alug added.

Balasubramanian A, vice president and business head-consumer and healthcare at TeamLease, said that there is a workforce that knows how the telcos work and have gained leadership experience during their stint at startups.

These executives are of the view that the hiring momentum in telecom will sustain over the next two years with the emergence of private networks.

Related article: India 5G infrastructure plan calls for 800k new towers by 2024

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