Portal finds market in contract hiring

Last Updated: Sun, May 27, 2012 19:41 hrs

Sourcing contract staff from recruitment agencies has always been on among companies in India. Tapping the opportunity, a crowdsourcing platform for contract staffing, StaffOnContract.com, has been offering to provide contract staff on a short-term basis, finding a big market in the process.

Chetan Indap, founder and chief executive officer, said, “While our purpose is to serve businesses of all sizes, the majority of small and midsize companies are using our platform for temporary staffing needs. We started with the information technology (IT) sector on an experimental basis. We have now moved to other sectors as well. The purpose is to create a critical mass within each sector and then scale.”

At present, HCL Infosystems, Zenith Infotech and Lionbridge Technologies are among those which have posted requirements on the portal, of the required experience/skill-sets and number of people. Indap believes contract staffing provides an opportunity to convert your fixed costs to variable ones, with true savings of over 40 per cent overall. Contracting in India is growing at 20 per cent year on year and not too far in the future will match the levels attained by developed countries, according to him.

Apart from contract services, the portal has recently begun a service wherein a buyer company can contract out some of its surplus manpower, for a premium price to other companies which need them. At the end of this period, the contract staff goes back to the parent company. Presently seven to eight major companies are availing this service.

Indap added it was an advantage for the portal when they moved to non-IT clients, as these sectors were more unorganised on contract staffing. The portal has a little over 5,000 registered companies across India and services companies ranging from Suzlon, L&T Infotech, Games2win, IL&FS, Datamatics, Biocon, Genpact, Financial Technologies, Oberoi Hotels, Religare and Tata Elxsi, to several small and mid-sized businesses.

Says Pradeep Varghese, senior director, human resources, Biocon, “We wanted to explore the talent pool available through StaffOnContract for our current requirements in IT. We needed to subscribe by paying a fee to access the portal. Then, we post our requirements on the portal and the consultants send us the profiles for shortlisting. Once shortlisted, they go through a selection process, after which they are available for contractual staffing for a feet. The portal does not receive any commission for the staff hired.”

He said this was cost-effective to the extent that the entire business model was web-based and the enterprise saved on time, with the talent pool readily available for placement. Biocon began using the portal last month.

The portal charges an annual subscription fee of Rs 6,000 and this entitles a company to advertise for five contracts a month. Additional ones can be advertised on the portal by paying an additional fee or opening a new account. The membership is valid for a year.

The portal offers a VeriSeal programme, an initiative to provide credible data (extent of labour compliance) about providers (staffing firms) to the user community. This idea is to enable a buyer to make an informed decision when engaging with a prospective provider. The price of this programme is Rs 6,000-8,000 per annually.

The portal has seen year-on-year growth of a little over 200 per cent. Indap is looking to add about five per cent of the eight million companies in India to his clientele in the next five years. Though it focuses primarily on contractual labour, many customers also use the portal for just-in-time permanent staff hiring.

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