From Mumbai to Global Success: The Journey of Ajay Chauhan in Manpower Consultancy and Construction

If you could take us through your journey and how did you venture in manpower consultancy and construction?

At the age of 16, I navigated family financial challenges with courage, making a bold move to Mumbai to support my family. Starting with just 1500 rupees and a determination to carve a path for myself, I embraced opportunities in the hospitality industry, tirelessly working across Mumbai to understand the nuances of the business.

A pivotal shift occurred when a chance encounter led me into recruitment, setting the stage for a transformative journeyIn 1995, I dedicated myself to Al Taher, transforming it from a local firm into a global success story. My foray into international markets, including a significant project in Mali. Even amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, our visionary leadership led the company to pivot successfully into contracting and construction, securing substantial projects in Madagascar. 

Tell us about the projects you did in 2023 and what does your current workforce look like?

In 2023 we had a workforce of around 1200 personnel from India, South Africa, Locals in Madagascar, which has now come down to about 400 personnel and will again peak from May 2024 when projects take off.  In 2023 we were involved with projects, Madagascar, South Africa, D.R.Congo, Sierra Leon these projects are mainly in Mining, Refinery and Oil and Gas.

How did you venture into vocational training? What inspired/motivated you to do that? Who trains the labourers? Is it in-house or outsourced?  

This was more of a CSR and Commercial project for us, we wanted to give back to the country where we have been working, seeing the dearth of skills in Africa, it inspired us to go for the training of the labourers to upgrade them to skill levels.  The training is done in-house, we had set up the vocational training centre in Zambia with the approval of the previous Government in Zambia, we are doing the training of the locals in Madagascar in our workshop in Madagascar and employ them as well.

How has the role of consultancy changed with the shift in technology; in terms of better recruiting?  

The landscape of manpower consultancy has witnessed subtle shifts with advancements in technology. While traditional methodologies remain integral, the incorporation of certain technological tools has added a layer of efficiency to our recruiting processes. We recognise the importance of staying adaptable in this evolving environment. Utilizing a blend of conventional expertise and select technology applications, we continue to navigate the recruitment landscape, ensuring a balanced approach that serves the best interests of both our clients and candidates.

How important is background check in the process of manpower consultancy?

Background checks play a pivotal role in our commitment to delivering quality workforce solutions. Ensuring the integrity and reliability of our recruits is paramount. Thorough background checks provide us with essential insights into the professional and personal history of candidates, mitigating potential risks and enhancing the overall credibility of our placements. 

What business opportunities do you see particularly in the consultancy and contracting sector?  

Manpower consultancy sector the opportunities we are tapping in Mozambique which has a potential of recruiting in Gas sector, we will still continue to recruit in Congo, Madagascar, Sierra Leon and grow on these sites, we are focusing on Europe as there are high demand of skills we have plans to put offices in some of the European countries. In the Contracting sector, we are waiting on the outcome of a few tenders in Namabia, Mali, Madagascar which should be out in the second quarter of the year.

What are your future plans?   

We are currently working towards getting back to our Pre-Covid turnover on the Manpower side of business and on the construction side we want to grow year on year and eventually to get to the $100 Million mark and to come up with an IPO in the next 3 to 5 years.