BANGALORE/KOLKATA: The global economy may well be on rough terrain, but India Inc isn’t pressing the panic button yet. Prudence and caution, yes, but there’s no ban yet on a fresh intake of employees, say firms across sectors. “The war for talent will continue, and only those industries that are directly linked with the US markets may be cautious,” says Anurag Aman, principal consultant for Mercer. Those at the bottom of the pyramid could be hurt if the situation worsens. Also, recruitment agencies will face the heat because companies will opt for direct channels to save costs, says Aman. Corporate India is gearing up to face the fallout from the recent US credit downgrade which comes on the heels of the 2008 economic downturn, which ravaged financial markets globally and sent the world economy into a tailspin. Both US and Europe have been battling high deficits, unemployment and sluggish growth. But through all this, India Inc is trying to keep a brave face. “Besides information technology, oil and gas, BFSI, manufacturing and transport look low but are nowhere compared with the first quarters of 2009 when the employment outlook had dropped by 18 percentage points,” says Namr Kishore, head – organisational learning and marketing for Manpower Services. The IT sector will employ 30 million by 2020, according to Nasscom’s report for April 2009. Although numbers may not be as high as the second quarter of 2011, when employment outlook was 51 percentage points, “things are still positive,” says Kishore. The sector will focus on increasing utilsation rates by deploying more staff who are on the bench. Tech firms have bench strength of 20-30% and when prospects look grim, those on bench work on live projects to ensure that profit margins are not impacted and more engineers are billed for work. For now, companies have pared hiring plans for experienced staff with skills in Java, .Net and SAP. Executives from Cognizant and MphasiS say their recruitment blueprint will remain unchanged. Cognizant has recruited 3,600 students from engineering colleges for the second quarter. Aegis, which employs 30,000 people, says around 1,000 will join in the next six months, as projected. “There will definitely be a cautious approach, and it will not leave us unscathed. This is especially applicable to firms that have increased their numbers without a workforce plan,” says a senior executive at Wipro, who did not wish to be named. The story is different for retail and FMCG. India’s largest retailer, Future Group, which has 35,000 people on its rolls, has no plans to cut down on hiring or slash salaries. “We don’t expect any impact at all on the retail sector unless consumer spending comes down. Hence, there are no plans in the short to medium term to slash our hiring plans. We will hire some 7,000 people this year,” says Future Group HR head Sanjay Jog. Mumbai-based infrastructure company Gammon India will hire 600 employees as projected, 100 of which will be engineers from campuses. “The gestation period in infrastructure is long and projects take time, therefore we will not have any knee-jerk reactions,” says PP Sukumaran, chief people officer.