A combination of factors ranging from increasing labour cost to stepped up presence of multi-national companies in the wake of globalisation will drive corporates in India towards a ``flexible headcount’’ regime, according to Paul van de Kerkhof, Chairman, Randstad India Ltd., a subsidiary of the Netherlands-based HR services company.

In an interaction with The Hindu here, Mr. Kerkhof said companies in developed markets such as the U.S. and Europe had the ability to adjust the headcount to the economic cycles since such a provision was embedded in the legal environment.

“The world around is changing. And, India needs to adapt to the change,’’ he said. Asserting that the ``clients demand are changing,’’ he said India too was maturing. The staffing rules, however, remained unclear, he said.

Rising labour cost, he said, was a sure sign that flexi-staffing would gain currency in India, too. Mr. Kerkhok felt that ``flexiblising headcount’’ required an enabling regulatory framework. ``Also, the Government needs to follow it up. It is a big challenge,’’ he pointed out.

Fielding a range of questions, he said ``flexi-staffing’’ was already happening in ``professional space’’ especially in areas such as information technology and engineering as many of these companies laid much store by flexibility in total cost.

In this context, he pointed to the huge flexi-staffing of the low-end kind in the construction industry. ``This is happening in an informal way,’’ he pointed out.

He said Randstad was focussed on white-collar jobs in telecom, BFSI (Banking, financial services and insurance) and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) segments.

Randstad, he said, would beef up its IT infrastructure and bring in global best practices.

To a query, he said Randstad would like to emerge as a leading player in the emerging HR outsourcing space in India.

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