Are startups killing the job market for the employers?

Are startups killing the job market for the employers?

I live in the city of Startups. I often think of that joke where a cabbie asks his passenger where he works… you know the one.

Bangalore is the perfect city for the agoraphobic… you do not have to leave your house for anything. Forget food delivery and groceries, you can have everything from furniture, everyday goods to clothes to shoes to whatever else delivered and picked up right from your doorstep. Do you have too many clothes? Get someone to pick it up for donation. Is the tap leaking? Get a plumber at the tap of a phone. Get a maid. Get a cook. Get someone to shine your shoes and bring it back home. There is an app or a web-based startup for everything.

This startup mania, however, is making things tougher for the employer. Most potential employees have a wide range of options to choose from.

But there is a catch. For every 100 people looking for a job, there are perhaps 1-2 people who are really good and for whom you are willing to pay any price to employ. Since they are not usually available, you settle for the next best things, while you wait for the right opportunity to catch the ‘best one’.

The bidding wars continue, trying to land yourself the biggest fish. For companies with the backing of investors, this shouldn’t be a tough thing because a company is supposed to only as good as the people in it. And hell, they’ve the money to spend.

But what about the rest of the normal mortals, without big backers?

Here’s a story from a friend who’s trying to recruit for his firm. He’s been trying to hire ‘creative sorts of people who can do a little bit of graphic design’ types.

A candidate walks in for an interview. He’s glad that the guy turned up in the first place, unlike the 5 others who confirmed and did not bother turning up. So much for professionalism. The candidate is not the best but at this point, he really needs people and cannot really afford to be too picky. Like on the list of your dream man or woman, he has slowly crossed away a lot of things till he is down to “Knows the basics and is willing to work.”

They go through the motions of an interview, and finally he pops the big question – what is the salary you are expecting. The named figure is something close to what my friend had reserved for his CTO. He wondered why anyone would pay this price for someone mediocre. But the good ones are taken – for a much higher salary, which has pushed the entire pay structure higher, meaning you ought to shell out more than what you want to or capable of – for lesser skills.

Will this bubble burst?

Perhaps around the same time the startup bubble will burst. In a few years, investors will start demanding returns for their money, which means long hours with minimal perks. That’s when I’d be curious as to how these exorbitant pay packages will react. Will they be able to withstand the pressure?

About The Writer:

Amulya Nagaraj is the Associate Director at Pepper Interactive Communications. A former reporter at Reuters and various other publications, she has extensive knowledge about the media, communication strategies and digital media.
She is also an accomplished photographer and writer.


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