Kaustubh Sonalkar, Group Director - Human Capital Management (HCM), General Affairs, CSR, and Corporate Communication, Welspun Group

Kaustubh Sonalkar is currently overseeing strategies for the development of the group’s core industries. He has over 25 years of corporate experience working with several prestigious enterprises like Future Group, UN, and PWC both in India and overseas. As a thought leader, he has championed several gender equality initiatives with a focus on digital enablement. 


The magnitude of the disruptions that COVID19 has brought upon how companies operate, grow and hire, has been unprecedented in recent times. With millions having lost their jobs or been furloughed, there is a lot of talent out there, looking to make their crucial next move. In this scenario, as a young job seekers or career switch aspirant, you may want to know what you can do to identify and act upon the opportunities hidden within the uncertainty.

India is still grappling with rising cases of infections and the government has announced a second extension to the national lockdown. Organizations functioning in this milieu are redefining terms of employment to ensure business continuity alongside employee safety and wellbeing. Here’s what you can do to identify and convert opportunities for yourself at this time.

1. Focus on industries that will weather not just this storm but similar scenarios in the future

There has often been a preference for glamorous careers among job seekers. Careers in the media, entertainment and hospitality have been attractive because they involve meeting people across cultures, traveling around the world and more. However, in light of the severe impact that the pandemic has had on industries that need physical interaction and large gatherings, the focus is now shifting. Essential utilities, Pharmaceuticals, Agrochemicals and Fertilizers have now emerged as preferred choices. Essential core sectors like Ports, Power, Oil & Gas, that contribute to national infrastructure and operations are attractive possibilities.

2. Explore remote jobs and virtual internships

Companies with deep pockets and less immediate pressure to stay afloat, have used this time to re-imagine their talent strategies and growth plans. Such companies are now conducting virtual interviews and offering internships that can be undertaken remotely. You can take this opportunity to apply for such positions without having to worry about relocating.

3. Consider multiple careers that answer different aspects of your aspirations

Since the rules of corporate employment are changing, so are the contracts and terms of employment. A lot more flexibility is built into job offers that could allow you to work from home or dedicate just a part of your day to a job, leaving you time to pursue education or even an alternative career alongside.

4. There has never been a better time to explore entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship has always been seen as a risky proposition. That is now set to change as companies lay off employees or cut back on incentives. Entrepreneurs have the flexibility of deciding their own course of action. Compact size and agility, distinct advantages of entrepreneurs, will be essential asks in the new normal that promises to emerge.  If you have ever considered entrepreneurship, particularly in manufacturing, present government support for such ventures and the shift of global attention from China other manufacturing hubs in the continent, are reasons for you to take a long, hard look at this possibility.

5. Work on new age soft skills

What is mission critical to your success in any of these areas suggested above, is your personal readiness to succeed in this new landscape. Work on your adaptability, tech savviness, innovation, speed and creativity to ensure that prospective employers are easily able to see how you will fit in and partner their new growth story.

While India is yet to flatten the curve, the journey of nations that have been ahead in contracting and tackling the pandemic has taught us much. Countries like China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia are slowly getting back on their feet, giving hope that India’s economic growth will start in about nine to twelve months hence. When it does, growth will be multi-dimensional, rather than the straight-jacket, unidirectional growth that has defined industry for the last decade. Innovation and change have always been a focus, but never at the speed which we have seen over the last few weeks. The silver lining on the coronavirus storm cloud is the opportunity is presents for the young and restless to define the new order of business.

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