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India - Economic slowdown hits Accountant recruitment

04 September 2013

The job scenario for fresh chartered accountants has been clouded by the economic slowdown, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) said on Tuesday via MINT.

Indian services activity shrank in August at its quickest pace since the depths of the global financial crisis as new business dried up, the HSBC Services Purchasing Managers' Index a survey showed. Providing more evidence that Asia's third-largest economy is rapidly losing steam even as policymakers battle a full-blown currency crisis.

In 2012, at least 130 companies recruited Chartered Accounts (CAs) in smaller cities but this year only 113 corporate houses are participating in the hiring process in the current round of placements.

"There is a direct correlation of placements with the country's economy," said Subodh Kumar Agrawal, president of ICAI, the apex regulator of CAs.

Sectors like automobile, banking and financial services have cut back on recruitment of CAs. ICAI holds two rounds of placement every year-February and March; and August-September. The hiring trend in the current placements season has softened since February-March, said Agrawal.

A silver lining is that the information technology (IT) and business process outsourcing (BPO) sectors have started hiring more CAs during this placement season because their business prospects have improved. The rupee's steep depreciation has provided a boost to the IT and BPO sectors, which earn most of their revenue in dollars.

While 3,600 candidates enrolled for job placements in February-March season, 4,800 fresh CAs have joined the fray in the current round that ends in the middle of September. Of these, only 112 have got job offers in the last one month.

"The placement in smaller centres (cities) are almost over and the bigger centres (metros) are going to start (from 6 September) and we are expecting a better response from companies," said Agrawal.

ICAI said it expects salary offers at par with last year's and it would place some 1,000 more CAs in the industry in the next two weeks. So far no international companies have hired from non-metro centres and the highest annual salary of INR 16 lakh (USD 23,900) has been offered to a few candidates by ITC Ltd, Agrawal said.

According to a half-yearly survey by job platform Naukri.com, some 54% of the recruiters said more jobs will be created in the second half of 2013. But that's lower than the 68% optimistic replies at the beginning of the year about job additions during the first six months, and the 62% positive replies in July 2012 for the second half of that year. About 15% of the respondents in the study, released last week, anticipated both a hiring freeze and job cuts.

Most sectors, barring IT and construction, are expected to see a sharp decline in the creation of new jobs, according to the study. Sectors such as banking and automobiles that already face a slowdown will see the maximum job loss, the survey has said.

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