Sunday, March 18, 2007

Relocating to India? Challenges that a NRI has to face

Ishani Duttagupta of Economic Times has filed in a very interesting article on the challenges that an NRI faces on relocating to India.

It is a must read for any serious aspirant-for it covers a lot of issues- cultural, economical and logistical -that one so easily glosses over while just concentrating on getting the right job or the best school for one's child.

Even after making up their minds (of returning to India -the when, why, how etc!), living and working in India is no cakewalk. It poses diverse challenges that require a degree of adjustment and realignment, which NRIs often under estimate. For example,

- avoiding double taxing and clubbing of income.

-planning for distribution of wealth & property among family members who are likely to stay back.
-buying a house in the secondary market as most of them demand black/ white money combination for payment. Ironically houses where one can get first allocation, and white money, will be completed only after two years.

- re-establishing relationships and networks from scratch;

It is an effort that had Ishani reaching out to professionals across different walks of life..VCs, returned Indians in senior management positions, a partner for a Big 4 firm, search consultants, brand marketing gurus,...among others she has been in touch as she covers the 'global Indian'!!

PS-Personally I relate to this article better as there quotes from Mr Raj Desai -(he had mentored me at a TiE summit in Delhi in 2005) and yours truly :-)!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Indian Chartered accountants being wooed at campus!!

Campus hiring -and one immediately is flooded with the images of the MBAs from premier institutes and their 'breathtaking beating the roof' salaries!! While some sanity has prevailed among this years announcements from the respective colleges-in the terms of atleast not directly correlating individual names and their respective salaries, the B schools have been going ga-ga about all the previous records being rewritten, an occasional dropout from the campus scene to pursue dreams, differential salary for lateral hires et al!
It is therefore refreshing to see a press note on the increasing demand for another set of professionals..Chartered Accountants- who seem to have rather missed the bus on the expressway in the last decade!
The key reasons are obvious:
1. the economic boom and complex tax structure, the profile of a CA has catapulted to a professional with a high-level of managerial skill with multi-disciplinary talent.
2.CA‘s role now is not confined to accounting alone. M&A activities, cross-border taxation, transfer pricing issues, setting up infrastructure projects, development of software etc
3.Booming stock market enticing a flurry of IPOs and M&As.
4.Transfer Pricing Rules in India which necessitated filing of separate returns and related documents on cross border transactions has also generated am additional demand for CAs with specialisation in overseas deals.
Personally though, I think it is the result of a some strategic interventions taken by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in the recent years, albeit late, like
-changing the course curriculum to attract students even as they pass out from high school- by starting foundation classes a few years back
-introducing the element of 'soft skills training' that a hitherto 'auditor' wasnt expected to -in the past decades
-insisting on a minimum threshold level of campus salaries -ala the BSchools have been doing for ages!
So while the BPOs and KPOs did spur the demand for shared finance services, and analytics -which was predominantly usurped by MBAs, CAs are slowly regaining their share under the sun!!
With the corporate salaries at entry levels -being attractive, one is likely to see more and more CAs postponing the urge to 'go on their own' till they have acquired sufficient brand equity and industry experience/specialisation!!
I must however, admit- the CA institute must take a leaf from their colleagues in the Law field (National Law School and NALSAR are now being offered salaries on part with the top B much so one rarely finds students opting out to set up their own practices!!) and create the halo around the profession to attract the best raw material in the years to come....

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Blogging..and the online buzz!!

Thanks to an intro from Gautam Ghosh , Ms Zeenat Nazir of Indian Express reached to me last week and probed on why I blog!! Well, here is her verdict:-)!!

Ms Zeenat went on to highlight the benefits of blogging!

-From working as ads to getting customer feedback, online ‘buzz’ is doing a lot for small firms, and very cheaply.

- Internet-based buzz marketing tools employ the tried and tested gambit of slipping into the conversational pathways of those who either use products, or make them.

-Besides the cost factor, what makes web-based buzz marketing tick is the credibility it commands. Instead of coming from a faceless corporate channel, “buzz” message comes from the most trusted endorser — the end-user.

-The method also helps in another challenging area, attracting employees. Companies like Frito Lays routinely blog about work-culture to win the much-talked-about “war for talent”.

- The web is also seen as the most accessible way to reach customers spread across diverse geographies.

Despite the “buzz”, however, experts caution that ethical issues related to blogging need to be addressed as well.

PS- As an after thought, several hours later, I was analysing why I blog ;-)!?

I realise

-its a way of self expression --comes naturally to mehave never been an extempore speaker; infact am petrified of addressing any bunch more than a handful !

-helps me think thru an issue -and help me think aloud. yes, the ability to edit and rewrite also facilitate, articulate my own thoughts...

-often debate the road not taken?!!

-so much is happening out there..and its simply great to inform and share the bits/pieces to a lot of others who cd relate to me

-it is addictive

-the feedback and the interaction with those who respond/comment -even though offline, is a great drive ...

yes- what the heck, I love blogging :-)!

Mr. Kiran Karnik of NASSCOM addresses a 100 recruiters

Last week, the Delhi Chapter of ERA ( Executive Recruiters Association) organised an very interesting event -here is a first hand report by Dony Kuriakose, the convener of the chapter, and founder Director of Edge Executive Search.
Hosted at the India Habitat centre, the Symposium consisted of two parts – a panel discussion on the topic : “It’s a Whole New World of Hiring – Recruiting for the new age economy”, followed by an address by Kiran Karnik of NASSCOM.
The panelists for the discussion were –

DP Singh, Head HR of IBM Daksh
AVK Mohan, Head HR of Bharti Airtel, Enterprise Solutions
Suvamoy Roy Chaudhury, Head HR of Reckitt Benckiser
Atul Sharma, Vice President and Head of HR for Consumer Banking, Citibank

Some of the important takeaways were :

Corporates are looking for recruiters to partner them much more closely in the coming period and would prefer to work with just a couple of key partners.

They expect a knowledge transfer to the recruitment partner which comes back as a value-add in the form of a more perceptive and efficient process.

Industry perceives a majority of recruiters to be paper pushers and would want them to move to higher value addition.

The talent pool has evolved and we now have younger, more thinking yet aggressive candidates with higher awareness and global transferability.

Recruiters need to attract this new talent pool and also expand the search horizon to include diverse profiles which are currently outside the mainstream.

Companies, while working with consultants, are creating alternate avenues of direct sourcing to reduce dependence on a single mode.

Recruiters who do not move up to the partnering mode will have to compete with efficiency in the volume mode – lower pricing, higher numbers.

The Q&A after the session saw different levels of querying depending on the questioner’s specific niche and hence helped resolve queries across a broad spectrum.

Next we introduced Kiran to the audience and he gave us an excellent 45 minute talk focusing on two broad areas –

He started with addressing the people issues that had been raised during the panel discussion and firstly assured us that the threat perception was misplaced, since demand in the industry is expected to grow rapidly and as per current estimates, India should be hiring 2.5 million people in IT/ITES alone by 2010. He then focused on the recruiter adding value to the process and creating a higher ethical platform for candidates and corporates, to weed out inefficiencies.

The second part of his talk was focused on the benefits of association and how ERA can do for Recruiting, what NASSCOM has done for IT. The brief pointers given by him were :

Associations should focus on industry issues that are relevan for all members – hence grow the whole pie, so that there is more to share.

Individual members will differ on priorities, hence focus on tackling the issues that are common to all and speak with one voice.

Members must contribute more than money – giving time and effort for the common good without thought of individual gain, is essential.

Create differentiation. The association must brand itself such that members are perceived on a higher plane compared to non-members.

Create internal transparency and good governance to avoid politicking and ensure people offer themselves and not vie for positions

Aviod a tendency to stick to positions of authority or eminence beyond tenures, so that fresh thinking pervades the association.

Though captured in brief here, there was the depth of experience and knowledge in what he said. The complete talk has been recorded on video and would be made available for the ERA members to share.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Proud to be a recruiter!

That was the slogan splashed across close to 150 recruiters of the ERA as today, the 9th March was celebrated as the first Indian Recruiter Day!!

As mentioned in an earlier post , the day began at our offices with a pledge being made -by all the recruiters -as follows

At Hyderabad, we had two functions -one focussed on improving the awareness of freshers in a few colleges about the career opportunities -across different verticals, apart from enlightening them about a career in recruitment!

As Members of the ERA, we pledge to dedicate ourselves to the honorable profession of Recruitment - A profession where we add value and provide growth opportunities to individuals and organizations by empowering them to realize their own potential.

We would be fair and ethical in our approach to clients and candidates alike and strive to do - not just things rightly but also to do the right things, everytime.

We will comply to ethical principles and lead by example by adopting best practices and continue to enrich ourselves through constant learning.

Recruitment is our career of choice.

Today, on the 9th of March, I pledge to abide by the ERA's code of conduct and continue delivering value to my organization with passion, enthusiasm and above all - conviction
The second event was more a get away for about 150 of us recruiters -from among various ERA members in Hyderabad and Secunderabad- to let down our hair, and have some cultural and entertainment programs -some hinged on the delicate relationships between the client, the candidate and the (recruitment) consultant!!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Indian Campus Placements & the aftermath!!

It is that time of the year, where probably every week you read about the 'record breaking ' salaries being offered to the MBA students -at campus -at most premier B Schools in India!

Each institute has a press release:

FMS: Class of 2007 Takes Off in Style
New Salary Peaks in XLRI’s Lateral Recruitment Process
FORE Placements Enter New Career Frontiers
Average Salary Crosses Rs 10 lakh at JBIMS Placements
IT Sector the Largest Sector at GIM
ISB’s Rolling Placements Season in Full Swing
NITIE Placements Get Unconventional
IMT achieves 100% placements in just 4 hours
IIFT grads see 20% salary increase
XIMB graduates scale higher peaks

Ever realised what the after effect would be? Certainly discontent and an array of emotions :-)!

1. the alumni of earlier batches sit up -and constantly try to benchmark -and estimate whether they are being paid fairly or not..and start polishing their CVs -the starting point for attrition :-)!

2. the alumni of the 80's feel most dejected. After all, when they passed out, the predecessors of 70s were the guys who called all the shots. Only the grey haired could make the grade. Come 90's and the post liberalisation era, suddenly all the companies wanted young, mean and energetic people.

It was almost if the alumni of the 80's were the "skipped generation"!! Today if one has the old economy employing the 70s graduates at top management, the new economy doesnt get inspired by those over 40!

3. there is inertia-till the companies announce their results in March and finalise their promotion plans!! yes, the recruitment market begins hotting up!!

I can't remember where I read it-it was pretty much this week- IIM Indore decided to do away with the sharing of the 'actual salaries' being offered at the campus-as there was resistance from two sections of stakeholders :
a) the corporates which want the compensation levels to be confidential!
b) the parents of some of those 'potentially well endowed' students fearing security problems for their wards..who suddenly come into big wealth-and mega publicity!
Stop press: IIM Ahmedabad too is reconsidering sharing the 'numbers' on the day zero and day one-as they wd perhaps set the trend for the remaining days!!