Category Archives: COVID

How the 2019’s Top 25 Employee Favorite Firms in India operated in 2020, accounting for the pandemic shockwave?



LinkedIn released an article in April 2019, citing the top 25 firms with a firm size of at least 500 employees where the Indian skilled professionals aspired to work. Linkedin used the below-mentioned parameters to construct the list:

  1. Count of Job Posting views (Interest)
  2. Count of professionals viewing career’s page of the company (Engagement)
  3. Count of job-seekers connecting with the company (Job Demand)
  4. Company’s Retention Rate of Employees (Retention Rate)

The list of companies in the order as ranked by LinkedIn is as follows:

Flipkart (Walmart), Amazon, Oyo rooms, One97 Communications (Paytm), Uber, Swiggy, TCS, Zomato, Google, Reliance Industries, EY, Adobe, BCG, Yes Bank, IBM, Daimler Mercedes), Freshworks, Accenture, OLA Cabs, ICICI Bank, PWC, KPMG, L&T (and it’s subsidiary L&T InfoTech), Oracle, Qualcomm, and Deloitte.

Due to the lack of data points on Freshworks, we exclude it from our study and replace it with Deloitte to account for all the Big four accounting firms in our analysis. (Note: Deloitte was one of the “top 25 firms where India wants to work” list produced by Linkedin in 2018).

Things changed as of Mid-March 2020. The world started to witness the spread of the deadly coronavirus, an unanticipated event, the pandemic situation was in place. The country (India) witnessed a 2-month lockdown in the second quarter of 2020. The people of the country and the economy was disturbed. Many firms were not resilient to this shockwave. They suffered huge losses, lost their business, laid off their workforce. It was an unpleasant chain of events that had an economic and mental impact on the workforce. On the other hand, some firms were resilient to this shockwave by having the following characteristics:

  1. heavily tech-oriented nature of work & projects that can be handled remotely,
  2. a resilient business model and new initiatives that innovated solutions to help the populace during the pandemic and churned profits,
  3. finances to sustain losses and support their workforce.

We studied how this list of top 25 firms where the Indian workforce sought employment anticipating a successful career responded to the COVID-19 Crisis. We cite the Naukri Stepup Employee Survey data and the AmbitionBox Employee Reviews data (from Info Edge) to support our study.


We utilize the Survey conducted by Naukri during the pandemic as a part of their Stepup Insights Initiative. To uncover the insights from this survey data, we must first understand how the Survey was conducted and how Naukri aggregated employee responses.

Visit the link ( to understand the Survey outline and experience the framework used to collect the data. The framework asks the survey responders to talk about their firms’ response to COVID. Except for the Textual Review, all other responses collected are Boolean in Nature. After collecting the Boolean responses, for a company, they take the collective sum of the Boolean Responses and measure what fraction of total responses voted true for an option.

Figure-1 shows the number of responses collected by the firm name from our chosen top-25 list. The data is unbalanced as the survey sample was not restricted. Large Firms with a more prolonged presence in India had more reviews than smaller firms and firms with a comparatively shorter presence. The data is cross-sectional, and the data points were collected during and post-lockdown in India.

Figure-1: Survey Responses count by Company Name 

Note: The Survey Data is a sample set of opinions voiced by the employees on the benefits offered, hiring activities, and salary issues concerning their firm. The data points collected are largely anonymous, and the analysis results must be acknowledged objectively.


We have three insights to offer from this Survey on the chosen top 25 firms:

  1. Benefits provided to employees during the pandemic.
  2. Hiring Activities during the pandemic
  3. Salary related Insights during the pandemic


Figure-2: Benefits-Survey Visualization

The Survey collected responses on seven different types of benefits offered by employers to their employees during the pandemic. Out of these seven benefits, we can see that none of the employers have been reported to provide the benefit of essential commodities. This is acceptable because only the firms that employed minimum wage workers offered this particular benefit, and the minimum wage employees primarily do not actively participate in voluntary online surveys.

  1. The benefit of Work From Home:
Figure-2a: The Benefit of Remote Work

The Survey Data shows that, on average, 6 to 7 employees out of 10 at these 25 firms benefited from remote work allowance. Employees at Consulting and Technology firms (KPMG, EY, Delloite, PWC, TCS, Adobe, Oracle) had the highest remote work allowance. Employees at the Booming Startup Firms (OYO, Ola, Swiggy, Uber, Zomato) and Reliance (the largest Indian Conglomerate by Market Share) reported below-average remote work allowance.

2. The benefit of Work Place Sanitization:

Figure-2b: The Benefit of Work Place Sanitization

During the lockdown, only the essential workers were allowed to travel to their workplace by taking all necessary precautions; they benefited from Work Place Sanitization. Post-Lockdown, some employers urged the employees to go onsite for jobs that could not be taken care of remotely. Mercedes, ICICI Bank, and Yes Bank are the top 3 firms, with at least three on ten employees having workplace sanitization benefits. The lesser approval rating for this benefit implies that majorly Work From Home was in place.

3. The benefit of Job Security:

Figure-2c: The Benefit of Job Security

On average, only 1 in 10 employees reported the benefit of Job Security. TCS had the highest approval rating, with 47% of its Employees denoting assurance of no layoffs. KPMG, PWC, Amazon, Google, and EY are the other firms with at least 3 in 10 employees reporting Job Security benefits. Startups (Uber, Swiggy, OYO, Ola, Paytm), consulting firms (Accenture, BCG, Delloite), Manufacturing firms (Qualcomm, Mercedes), and software firms (Oracle, Adobe) offered no Job Security to their employees.

4. The benefit of Salary on time:

Figure-2d: The Benefit of Salary Credited on Time

On average, 5 out of 10 employees at these firms benefited from salary credited on time with no delays. OYO ranks last in this list, indicating that many of this firm’s employees faced hiccups receiving salaries on time.

5. The benefit of Employee Care Programs and Online Counseling:

Figure-2e: The benefit of Employe Care Programs and Online Counseling (Sorted by Employe Care Programs)
Figure-2f: The benefit of Employe Care Programs and Online Counseling (Sorted by Online Counseling)

On average, 2 in 10 employees reported the benefit of employee care programs, and 1 in 10 employees reported the benefit of Online Counseling. Qualcomm and Adobe took care of their employees by offering this benefit during the pandemic. Largely Tech Skilled labor and Employees at MNCs of international origin had the benefit of online counseling.


Figure-3: Hiring Trends Visualization

On Average, 3 in 10 employees reported Hiring Actively, 4 in 10 reported Hiring Freeze, 2 in 10 reported Layoffs in their departments at their firms. At Amazon India, 8 in 10 employees reported hiring activities at their firm in their departments. This was evident in many articles by reputed news outlets talking about amazon going on a hiring spree during the pandemic. Additionally, the combined value of Hiring Freeze and layoffs was lowest at Amazon. Flipkart Qualcomm and Google were the other firms with at least 5 in 10 employees reporting hiring activities. Employees at Swiggy, Uber, Ola, OYO, and Zomato (the most flourishing and well-known startups in India) reported the highest layoffs and lowest Hiring activity.

According to the Survey, there were very few employment offers canceled at these firms during the pandemic. On average, only 2 in 100 employees reported that their company canceled offer letters sent out to new hires.

Figure-4: Hiring Currently vs Hiring Layoff Plot

Figure-4 indicates that startups suffered the most in maintaining their workforce during the pandemic. Another interesting hiring pattern we get to see here is at Accenture, India. It fired thousands of employees during the pandemic and posted vacancies for 2x times the no. of employees it fired (Reference: While Accenture fires thousands, it is also hiring thousands ( When we take a closer look at what happened, we see that they fired labor in low-performing ranks and hired highly skilled, educated, and qualified labor in high-demand areas showing that the company witnessed a shift in the demand for new skills that supported ‘capacity building with speed’ during the pandemic.


Figure-5: Salary Trends Visualization

On average, 5 in 10 employees who didn’t lose their Job reported that the lockdown had no impact on their Salary, 2 in 10 reported that their appraisal cycle was delayed, 1 in 10 reported that the salary variables had an impact.

According to the Survey, Employees of OYO, Zomato, Uber, and Ola, suffered the impact of salary cuts and the salary not being credited the most. 62% of OYO Employees and 45.5 % of Zomato Employees who took the survey reported salary cuts.


We utilized 12099 reviews posted during the year 2020 for the chosen top 25 firms, to understand the variation in employee sentiment and ratings. Figure6 shows the count of review responses collected by company name.

Figure-6: Review Counts by Company Name


Figure-7: Time Series Rating Distribution


Figure-7: Time Series Sentiment Score Distribution


The collective Average of ratings and sentiments expressed by the employees across all the chosen 25 companies shows that the ratings and positive sentiment dropped sharply during the lockdown, and it continued to decrease until the end of the lockdown. Furthermore, there was a sharp spike during the month of June-the Unlock Phase. The declining trend recovers gradually to Jan-2020 levels by the end of the year 2020.


Quick adoption of Work from home is evident across all the top 25 employee favorite firms. Employees at Startups reported less hiring and more layoffs as compared to employees at large and well-established firms. On Average, Just 1 in 10 employees at these firms who took the survey reported the benefit of job security indicating that this advantage is influenced by the demand for the products and services of the firms, policies of the government, ability of the management to introduce innovation and adoption to the new normal, and the strength of the employees to deliver output with speed.

Stay tuned for our next blog on “The sustainability analysis of Occupations Suitable for Machine Learning and Remote Work during the COVID-19 Pandemic”

Visit the link below to access the Tableau dashboard.

Author: Sachin Kumar S

Research Associate at SRITNE ISB

Panel Discussion: Reshaping Technology Priorities in the wake of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered on us the new normals. Critical among those is the need to be more connected than ever, to take care of our health priorities. In a panel discussion organised by the Indian School of Business’s Srini Raju Centre for Information Technology and the Networked Economy (SRITNE) and NASSCOM, three technology leaders from different business areas shed light on answering some of the critical questions related to this new normal.

The session was moderated by Deepa Mani, Professor of Information Systems at ISB and Executive Director of SRITNE. In the panel with her were Prakash Bodla, VP-Engineering and Head of Carrier Corporation’s two global research centres. Joining him were Vidya Laxman, Technology Director of Tesco and Mohit Kapoor, Head – Technology Capability & Optimisation with Singapore-based global bank DBS.

Professor Mani welcomed and introduced the panel and then threw open the discussion with the question, how digital technology has enabled business continuity keeping in mind the changing consumer preferences through this pandemic. She wanted to understand how the technology arms of these firms addressed survival, competitiveness and the underlying mechanisms that allowed them to enable it.

Responding to her queries, one of India’s bright woman tech leaders, Vidya Laxman jestfully acknowledged that COVID was more effective than any CTO or CEO in driving digital transformation within most organisations. She said that the UK is a major market for Tesco, where procurements are done mostly from brick and mortar establishments.

However, with recent usage of enterprise services, APIs and cloud computing, the number of transactions of the UK-based retailer has surged through the three months of lockdown surpassed levels witnessed in the holiday season of Christmas.

“We have 700,000 to 800,000 transactions per week during Christmas. This time the number of transactions doubled to 1.3 million. Our e-commerce business went up by 46%. This is something we could not even envision earlier,” said Laxman, highlighting how digital technology has allowed the traditional large-format retailer to break new ground.

She also highlighted how more than 450,000 Tesco partners and employees communicated, collaborated using cloud and online tools which everyone was reluctant to use. “Thanks to these tools distances between us did not matter while providing a great experience for our customers,” said Laxman.

Professor Mani supporting Laxman’s observations remarked that the latest research on digitally savvy companies are showing that these firms are witnessing less decline in activities despite lockdown. Their employees were enabled to work and reduce distances between them with the use of technology and managed businesses better despite the demand shocks witnessed through the pandemic.

At the DBS Bank, technology came to the aid in three stages, says Mohit Kapoor. “First was responding to the pandemic, next was digital acceleration, and now in the last phase we are restoring customer functions,” he said.

Giving a picture of the future of banking, Kapoor said: cashless, contactless, telecommuting is here to stay. “Biometric, facial recognition, gesture controls are some of the mature technologies that are not yet being used yet and will become big from now on.” He said that DBS is coming up with technology innovations like face-based account opening in Singapore or contactless ATMs, which will go a long way in ensuring health safety for their customers.

Detailing on how technology aided his organisation through the present pandemic, Prakash Bodla said, that organisations must highlight on making employees adaptable. “Companies need to teach adaptability to unlearn and learn new things. Because of COVID, existing markets will evaporate, new markets will be created or rather, companies will need to create these markets.”

Bodla remarked that WFH and many of these new normals would remain to be part of our lives. At this point, Professor Mani wanted to understand from the panellists if WFH had different repercussions for people and their cultural attachment to a company. In response, Bodla shared that his organisation and most others have provided training for soft skills as well as psychological counselling for their employees.

On the question of challenges faced by organisations with this increased reliance on technology, Kapoor said that businesses using these new and mature technologies could pose a skill set challenge and new opportunities for younger people. He bestowed faith that these changes will better the diversity and inclusion index of any organisations and would be even better for the planet.

The panellists responded to some questions from the audience expressing their optimism for technology-driven changes in organisation and for the fact that most of these changes are here to stay. Professor Mani thanked the panellists and the participants for this panel discussion and expressed that more questions were raised in her mind from these conversations, answers to which she may be exploring in her research or during her next conversation with more technology leaders.

Using High Frequency Electricity Data to look at Economic Activity Impact of Coronavirus Lockdown

Following a national address by PM Narendra Modi on 24th March 2020, a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus was initiated. This lockdown involved halting of all economic activities barring those that were need to maintain essential supplies. Due to earlier confusion as to the details, even essential supplies took a hit. People were confined to their residences, and movement were restricted. All major service organizations shifted to a work from home mode of carrying out business.

Following the first round of lockdown, between 24th March to 14th April, a second continuation was declared starting 15th April to last till 3rd May with conditional relaxations in some regions where spread had till then been contained. The last round of lockdowns with further easing were continued from 3rd May till 17th May first and then later from 17th to 31st May by the National Disaster Management Authority. Following the lapsing of lockdown on 31st May, an Unlock 1.0 phase was declared starting 1st June with phase wise opening of all major industrial and retail activity.

Our data of daily consumption of electricity comes from the National Load Despatch Centre of the Power System Operation Corporation Limited which optimum scheduling and despatch of electricity through the national grid. They release daily, weekly and monthly reports of power consumed, energy supplied being reported in million units of energy supplied to each state grid. Using this data, we can then track the change in consumption of electricity nationwide which becomes a proxy for economic activity following from Cicala (2020) and Benedikt and Radulescu (2020). The fall in consumption of electricity can be a predictor of total output contraction in the period and the recovery in consumption can be a harbinger of the expected speed of recovery.

We remove seasonal components from the data that can distort our results, these seasonal aspects come from whether a time period is the harvesting period or are summer months which can impact electricity consumption. [i]

Overview of Power Consumption in India

India has been seeing a steady increase in Electricity consumed with a trend year on year growth rate of 3.5% with significant heterogeneity amongst state wise consumption growth rates. Bihar leads the electricity consumption growth rate with growth rate around 13% with North East states following close with rates ranging from 7% to about 10%. Amongst larger states, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh show higher rates of growth.

Figure 1 represents the per capita[ii] mean annual power consumption.

Figure 2 presents the overall trendline for India till 2019.

Impact of Coronavirus Lockdown

To estimate the impact of the lockdown we use data from financial year 2014 onwards to estimate the expected consumption during the lockdown period, accounting for the seasonality and trend. Using those trends and seasonality, we find that beginning the lockdown period there was a significant deviation between the actual and the predicted consumption of electricity. The actual consumption of electricity nationwide was consistently lower than the predicted one across all phases of the lockdown. This fall from the predicted value was the most for the 1st period of lockdown with an average fall of 12.25%. This shortfall in electricity consumption decreased across the phases with the 2nd period of lockdown witnessing only an 8% decrease while the further phases had no statistically significant difference from similar periods in previous years.

Table 1

Phase of Lockdown Change in Consumption compared to same period in previous years
Phase 1 (25th March – 14th April) -12.25%
Phase 2 (15th April – 3rd May) -8.07%
Phase 3 (4th May- 17th May) No statistically significant difference
Phase 4 (17th May – 31st May) No statistically significant difference
Unlock 1.0 (1st June onwards) No statistically significant difference

Further, as we can see from Figure 3 since the beginning of lockdown 3.0, we have seen an increase in actual consumption of electricity which is consistent with the increasing economic activity as restrictions were eased across rounds of lockdown.

Figure 3 The Actual and Predicted Consumption across the various phases of Lockdown

We also note an increase in consumption of electricity across the phases with phase 2 seeing a 5.4% increase in consumption. Table 2 provides the average increase in electricity consumption over the previous phase of lockdown. We see that each round sees an increase over the previous round till we come to Unlock 1.0 which saw no significant difference as compared to phase 4 (at 5% level).

Table 2

Phase of Lockdown Change in Consumption compared to the previous period of lockdown
Phase 2 (15th April – 3rd May) 5.38%
Phase 3 (4th May- 17th May) 8.60%
Phase 4 (17th May – 31st May) 10.55%
Unlock 1.0 (1st June onwards) No statistically significant difference

We thus see the data showing up the kind of trends we expect to see. The national level statistics do hide considerable heterogeneity in state level consumption of electricity with certain states exhibiting above average decreases while some states surprisingly see an increase in consumption. For more on this, stay tuned for the 2nd part in this series.


  • Cicala, Steve. Early Economic Impacts of COVID-19 in Europe: A View from the Grid. Tech. rep. Online, last accessed: May 6, 2020. University of Chicago, 2020.
  • Janzen, Benedikt, and Doina Radulescu. “Electricity Use as a Real Time Indicator of the Economic Burden of the COVID-19-Related Lockdown: Evidence from Switzerland.” (2020).

[i] Our analysis excludes Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep islands as they are not connected to the National Grid

[ii] Per 2011 population census

About the Author:

Ashutosh Dwivedi is a Research Associate at SRITNE.

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