New Delhi: At least one in four people hired in 2021 is likely to be either a gig worker or a contractual employee.

The hiring intent for variable, or flexible, workforce shows a sharp jump from 18% in 2020, and is a result of increased remote working due to the pandemic, according to a report, ‘Decoding by Jobs-2021’, by recruitment business company Taggd, in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry and Sunstone Eduversity.

The overall hiring intent is also up across companies, as they are looking at recruiting about 20% more in 2021 than 2020. Companies in domains like pharma, manufacturing, IT, GICs, BFSI and Internet business, are likely to lead the hiring in 2021 as their intent is the strongest at 25-36% more than last year.

The pandemic has brought in changes to the mindset of leaders and managers.

“One is that work can still happen even if an employee is not sitting right at office and second, almost every business has got sensitised towards building sustainable profitable businesses,” said Devashish Sharma, president of Taggd, a division of HR technology firm PeopleStrong.

“Both these mindset changes are the reasons why there is a visible increase in hiring for the gig and variable workforce in non-tier-I cities,” said Sharma.

With more companies accepting work from home arrangements triggered by the pandemic, hiring in small cities is also likely to go up. The intent of companies to hire from these cities is going to be over 52% compared with 46% last year.

More than 2.2 lakh people are likely to be hired by the IT sector in 2021, about 25% more compared with 2020.

Nearly a quarter of the workforce is expected to be contractual or gig in 2021, with industries like pharma, GICs, IT contributing the highest (almost 30%) to the total numbers.

In 2020, the share of contractual or gig workforce was about 18% of the overall hiring intent across the 200-plus companies that Taggd surveyed.

Demand for tech/digital skill sets will also be high across industries, along with soft skills like agility and problem solving.

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