New Delhi: The feeling of job insecurity in the country seems to be getting worse with each passing day. Just a few days after a techie in Pune killed himself due to the threat looming over his job, an online counseling an emotional platform based out of Bengaluru has said that 62.5% professionals across sectors were undergoing issues such as anxiety and depression due to occupational insecurity.
The study, conducted by YourDOST, said the recent spate of layoffs, especially in the IT sector with the forecast of nearly six lakh jobs expected to be slashed in the next three years, is a cause for alarm.
The online platform had launched the Fired to Fired Up campaign wherein the company hosted a toll-free number where people could talk to qualified psychologists and career coaches who would provide free counselling and career guidance. Within the three days, the helpline received over 1000 queries.
“65% inquiries were from professionals who had been laid off or were insecure about their job stability, given the uncertainty in the industry. 43% professionals were from the IT sector; few from healthcare, pharma, manufacturing, and e-commerce industry,” the study said, adding that most of them had less than two years of experience and had been unemployed for at least the last 3 months.
“57% professionals had not even sought help from family or friends and 62.5% laid-off callers showed symptoms of either anxiety or depression with monetary insecurity adding a huge burden,” it further said.
The study further noted that most of the callers were males and of the age group 24-29yrs and maximum calls were from Karnataka (15%), followed by Maharashtra (12%) and Delhi (11%).
The platform also received calls were also received from North East India, Orissa, Himachal Pradesh etc. 42% calls received were from Tier 2 and 3 Cities like Muzaffarnagar, Kanpur, Alwar etc.
The need for professional help
One of the counsellors part of the campaign that News18 spoke to said that both senior level people and those at the middle were equally worried.
“I received a call where the person had lost his job and was worried about how to pay his EMIs,” said Aditya Sisodia, one of the counsellors.
He added that with IT firms not giving enough time for the sacked employees to plan their future was what was hitting people worst. “People are being told to stay in office if they want, but categorically told to make good use of that time to look out for a job,” Sisodia said, adding that it was about time firms realized the turmoil their employees were going through.
In a statement, YourDOST’s Co-founder and CEO, Richa Singh said, “The societal stigma attached to losing a job and the consequent ignominy can be very detrimental to the mental health of professionals. This aspect of lay-offs is hardly given thought in our society. With professional help, we could minimize their emotional suffering and facilitate a stronger, more motivated mindset amongst the laid off individuals.”
Game up for Indian IT?
As digitisation and automation become the new normal, IT biggies like Infosys, Cognizant and Tech Mahindra are seeing a spate of layoffs and this trend may continue for the next 1-2 years, say experts. The pink slips are being handed out to thousands of employees as part of their performance appraisal process, but it is believed that these are directed more towards cost control amid pressure on bottom line due to a rising tide of protectionism in most target markets. Indian software exporters in particular are facing headwinds in the business environment and stricter work permit regime in countries like the US, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. Moreover, with newer technologies in artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation and cloud computing, which help complete the job with less manpower, software companies are now having to reconsider their strategies.