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Vishnu, a professional in his late-20s who goes only by his first name, was leading a team of seven people at an edtech giant when a spate of layoffs made him rethink the contours of his workplace. His team was reduced to three in as many months, and his own position seemed to be in jeopardy.

Soon, he started considering substantially higher salary offers from some of the biggest technology firms in India. But a shift, according to him, would have made him a small fish in a big pond. Then, he did what would be unusual for most job-hopping techies. He joined a small health-tech startup with a non-significant 10% pay hike.

But the raise was the last of his concerns. “I spoke to the founders about their vision and was convinced that they would not indulge in irrational firing in the name of cost-cutting. They were growing on solid foundations and held deep convictions about their business,” says Vishnu. “I also get to lead a team here.”

Over the last year, the dynamics of hiring in tech companies have completely changed. There are currently fewer jobs available, and the average pay offer is ~20% lower than in 2020-21.

As many as 52 startups, including unicorns like edtechs Byju’s and Unacademy, subscription-management platform Chargebee, used-car marketplace Cars24, ride-hailer Ola, and B2B e-commerce platform Udaan, have laid off laid off Inc 42 Indian startup layoff tracker Read more  more than 17,000 of their employees this year till November to curtail costs. What once was an employee-driven market turned into an employers’ market. 

Ironically, though, some technology firms like payments app PhonePe, e-commerce giant Flipkart, delivery firm Dunzo, and food-and-grocery delivery app Swiggy have over 300 openings among them, according to listings on the professional social network LinkedIn. 

The signs of a change in the balance of power are all visible now. Employers have taken control of the market and employees are finding it hard to come across job opportunities that satisfy their own priorities, including growth, stability and pay. 

But they are still struggling to fill in-vogue positions such as product manager, data analyst, data scientist, and full-stack engineer, according to Aditya Mishra, the chief executive (CEO) of recruitment-services firm CIEL HR. Because many, like Vishnu, are trying to wrest back hiring-and-firing control from employers amid the layoff season in tech companies. 

Startups in India still have a very large workforce with attrition as high as 25-30%. This means even as they cut back on jobs, many will continue to hire, explains Anshuman Das, CEO & Founder of LONGHOUSE Consulting, an executive search and advisory firm.

AUTHOR

Vanita Bhatnagar

Vanita is a lawyer by training and write stories at the intersection of business & public policy, law, regulations and building inclusive workplaces. She has over five years of experience writing, researching and even training others on various aspects of law.

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