Saturday, February 28, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
These days it is almost impossible to have a conversation without referring to the recession or slowdown! While some argue articulately with a lot of facts and figures, there are a lot who would like to dismiss it as a correction that was necessary!
It is very interesting to note the two perceptions-one at a national level & the other global job markets.
Excerpts from the Business Standard interview with Naukri CEO Sanjeev Bikhchandani-where he is pessimistic in the next 6 months but optimistic in the next 12 months:
- some level of unfreezing is taking place in the jobs market
-most companies are looking for short term sales not long term marketing!
-contrary to the feeling that more people would be looking for jobs, those in jobs are sitting tight, accept a zero-hike, even a pay cut, but they are not looking around.
-campus placements-Fewer companies are coming, and offering lesser jobs and at lower salaries
On a global scale, (hat tip my pal Gautam Ghosh blog) a leading search consultant quips;
1."we’ll see more cuts at many firms before hiring picks up. “Generally what happens with service firms is in a downturn, they don’t right-size themselves quickly enough. And so in a downturn, they’re trailing indicators,” .
2.firms are hiring—it’s just that now they want a different type of consultant. Someone who is a trusted adviser with real content knowledge who can serve in a very specific role. Especially candidates who have hybrid experience.
Personally I think it has got to do with the relative expectations!! If in July 08 the index was 1000, (one expected it to grow, keeping in trends with the immediate 5-6 quarters -to 1400. As against that, )the present index now @ 700 odd- would not truly indicate the disappointment of the drop in 26% of the index!!
While I feel vindicated about my observations last month, I am a little concerned about the general lack of business confidence all around.
-the Indian market , barring realty and auto, should not really be affected by the slowdown.
-there has been a decent gesture from the Government to spur liquidity in the system-even if the quantum may be debate-able.
-Or is there a sense of inertia -thanks to Satyam, and the related corporate governance issues that force most companies to be less aggressive now?
Well, the good news is that we at Options have a variety of assignments-that are keeping in line with above sentiments!
A.Increasing activities to bring in money
a) a lot of business development opportunities as IT companies expand in to new geographies and verticals ( Positions exist for people with 8-12yrs experience in US, Europe, UK, Australia-and Singapore).
b) business development activities due to innovative product mix -eg SaaS-Head of Sales in Mumbai.
c) change in business model eg Channel partners in the Advertising & marketing space, Director Engineering , Director IT services.
d)New jobs- setting of power plants- eg VP Projects, Head Budgets, Head -transmission & distribution
B. Replacement recruitment positions- in a bid to refill the positions left vacant-but now altered to make the roles more wholesome. eg Country Manager for a MNC telecom repair company
Please feel free to reach out to [email protected], and I shall keep you updated about the subtle nuances each role demands now :-)! We are working much more closely with our associates across the country-in a bid to decrease the response time, while not compromising on the reach .
There are jobs-but the companies are just getting a lot fussier! And take a lot more time to choose. It is time for each of us to add value -in our own ways-to get counted among!
Monday, February 16, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
CB Ramkumar (CB) is a person who believes that in future, we will find employees looking for companies that have a great value system besides a stable & a growing balance sheet. Employers will look for employees who will have passions that they can help facilitate and fulfill, as only this leads to a sustainable relationship.
My interactions with CB have been sporadic but very interesting. In the seventies, my cousin and he were then part of a music band Vybrations (as was Dilip-who is now known to the world as AR Rahman!!) Late eighties had seen him pursue a career in advertising in Dubai. I then met him as he cycled thru Hyderabad, across India, on a fund raising mission. He is now living out his dream at Bangalore -promoting eco tourism and sustainable technologies.
CB is a very successful businessman today by any yardstick that one would want to use to understand that term "success". What makes his story extremely interesting is how he has achieved this!
In the talk that I had with him, a video of which is uploaded here for those who might be interested in hearing the entire version (a ten minute clip), CB envisages a further shift in the economy, from an intellectual one that we are currently experiencing to a"soul-filled" economy. By soul-filled economy he means one wherein companies and employees will get in touch with their souls to find solutions.
CB declares unabashedly that he is, indeed, talking about spirituality and the importance of meditation in today's world. The benefits that an individual can derive from meditation have been proven beyond doubt. The sooner it is accepted by companies and individuals the better , given the difficulty in finding and maintaining their competitive edge. It is a well-known fact that product-related competitiveness and image-related positioning are no longer sufficient to sideline competition. Companies need a new quantum level to operate from and this is the level of the soul. Getting in touch with your soul will provide the answers on how to become "hugely different on a quantum level from your nearest competitor". The knowledge that you procure from your soul is going to bring about a major shift in your basic system of work.
The proof of the pudding is in its eating. CB cites his own case as an excellent example to prove his theory.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
One has to see the whole perspective in the context of
- the shift from the industrial economy (here the employer called all the shots -as the provider of jobs) to the intellectual economy (where the employee has the choice of working -or not!). One can see that the life time employment has given way to job hopping- and so really each qualified person doesn’t stick around for more than 2-3 yrs in a role.
-globalisation which forces companies to look for sources with ample supply of talent! For example USA -it has slipped from the topmost destination of R&D in 1994 to the 17th position last year, as the local students are less intent on following the "STEM careers" ( read science, technology engineering and maths!) as most Americans want to be managers!
R&D has shifted to the 'emerging countries' as the 'returning natives' wanted to work closer home. Once R&D shifts, manufacturing too will go from the west to the rest of the world..or at least closer to the markets!
- the ageing workforce in the Western World.
The present shaky economy is just an event that highlights the need for corporates to tie up their shoes..and buck up innovatively.
There is likely to be an insatiable demand even if were to just think of the SME segment in India. About 95% of Indian companies hire less than 250 employees, and are often promoted by technocrats, who cannot afford to hire laterally- senior or highly experienced professionals with complementary skills. It is a chicken or egg syndrome. To attract good talent, one needs a stable organisation. For a stable operation, one needs good talent. Such firms often make do by hiring freshers and trainees, and deferring gratification. Imagine the potential if they could hire interim managers for a few months..even at a premium!
Yes, interim managers come at a very high cost. Most of them have a proven track record, and would have to hit the ground running. And they are as good as their latest project. And would not compromise on their credibility.
Recessions or downturns like the present one, are provoking companies to re-invent ways of operations in order to survive and get ahead. The opportunity cost could be becoming extinct!!
Saturday, February 07, 2009
I just got back after watching and listening to Kishore Biyani live -courtesy a panel discussion on “Growth in challenging times” by CNBC Awaaz -as a prelude to a contest that would soon be on air later next month!
I have been an avid admirer of his-and now reflect that I have blogged about him at least 3 times before- one about the potential of jobs in retail industry, and then soon after reading a biography of his -and getting an insight into his "future"!!
The panel discussion had Mr Biyani share the stage -along with a senior banker, the local FAPCCI head and the TV anchor-while three entrepreneurs were given the chance to introduce their business, and share their dreams, in front of an audience of about 300 other entrepreneurs / small business owners. The brief case studies involved the panel quizzing the 'promoters' -and then Mr Biyani sharing his comments-and it was very evident how clearly he could feel the 'positives' and the 'USP' of each of the presenters-despite their inability to articulate as much in a 'mission statement'.
Sensing the mood that a large majority was sceptical about the platitudes of the banking community, Mr Biyani was quick to point out that the banks were quickly understanding the new businesses -and would soon live up to our expectations. He was confident that Corporate India would see the 'venture' finance companies fund, mentor and build an ecosystem for fostering entrepreneurship.
Talking about the media's obsession of 'recession'- he smilingly accused the Indian media of 'imitating the jargon of the TV channels in the West'- depicting it as 'half empty " while all what was happening was 'correction of certain excesses' -which were necessary as the respective companies were growing at hectic paces. Mr Biyani shared the example of his group becoming a 'kanjoos' -by cutting costs, inall possible places, and at same time trying to entice the 'average Indian customer' to part with his valuable money -showing many reasons/occasions to spend!
"India needs entrepreneurs". "No pain, no gain". " No fear about failure". And that the passion "kuch karne ki" was the overriding need. "Dream Bigger" -he advised one of the presenters-as our country needs it!
PS- Across the globe, Sramana Mitra too provokes us Indians to think ,while on a Forbes platform, exhorts the Westerners to channelise the 600,000 unemployed pool of highly skilled technical people about 'shoestring entrepreneurship' !! Any bells ringing?? Reach out for a strategic round table!! Or 'power of ideas' , the initiative of the Times of India group. The time is just right.
A similar initiative from the online version of Economic Times gives another version of the job market- albeit generalising industries-both within India, and otherwise.
Almost every day I get phone calls from well wishers, as well as those concerned about their careers, if the ground reality is being truly reflected by the media!!
My own take has been the following
Looking back to the days when I first started working (in 1984!! - oops I will complete a silver jubilee in a few months!)- there have been different phases- right from when government/ PSU/ Banks were the major employers, ( the pre-liberalisation days), then the arrival and growth of the MNC companies (94 to now), the self belief and emergence of Indian business groups-and of course, the attention from the world across thanks to outsourcing & off shoring!!
Well, it depends on who blinks first!! The employers are already willing to hire great talent who were otherwise inaccessible earlier. Perhaps at salaries their businesses can afford to pay!
On the employees side, some are yet to reconcile that one may not get the customary 25-30% hike in salaries when they change jobs in India...that the present generation have taken for granted. Perhaps it was in the context of the annual increments being 10-15% in the recent past in India. ( In the US, the corresponding figures were a fourth of these figures!! Psst- I recall even in 1991 I was thrilled when I got a double increment - (then) a 3 digit number by way of increase in the monthly salary!!)
Going by the GDP growth of around 6-7% predicted (for this year and the next!)- compared to 9% for the last few years, it is obvious the impact in India is a 'mild' one compared to recessionary trends in the West. Opportunities are bound to be lesser-and so only the best will thrive-in these circumstances.
As for the rest, it is time to get real, get back to basics- invest in their own training and development, and get used to going up by the staircase-as the elevator may not just be available as yet :-)!
Happy hunting! Have a great weekend!!
PS:As far as Team Options goes, here are some of the new positions that we are aware of-that we are working on-both directly and through our network of associates, in addition to the post made hot jobs as of 28th Jan 09 !!
-Director Software engineering for a product company @Hyderabad.
-Sales Head -enterprise solutions -for a IT product company focussing on the India market.
-ODC head for an IT services company
-Estate Manager for an infrastructure company
-A specialist is required in Netherlands! Someone who has done at least 2 full implementations with the FINANCIAL Module of JDEdwards OneWorld-ideally rolled out JDE financials at multiple locations in a client in the Agricultural industry!
- L1 Support analysts in Singapore -with at least 3yrs of experience in Unix Shell scripting, preferably with exposure to Autosys.
-SAS BI technical consultant, Informatica production Supervisor and Sharepoint developer for Riyadh
Should you know of anyone -who would fit and be willing to be considered for any of the above openings, and wish to know more, I shall be glad to provide you with any inputs you may need. Please reach out to [email protected]!!
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
That mission statement perhaps sums up my takeaway from a day long seminar I attended last Thursday-when I had the opportunity to see Dr Stephen Covey live in Hyderabad!
I must confess I was disheartened at the end of the day (the reason why I delayed this post!) as I felt let down by the lack of energy in his lecture.
Or was it the fact that he was 77 years old-and was very measured-moving very slowly -and just filling in with 10-15 minutes of lecture in between the very slickly made video clips and the PowerPoint slides? And ironically, all those clips portrayed him as passionate and charged!!
Maybe it was to do that I was perhaps looking for 'quick fix' solutions, and here he was -sticking to the basics!! And what the heck, it was all what I knew..nothing new?
Possible that I was also looking for a better ROI- the seminar cost a bomb-certainly in the context of the present economic situation -where one is busy trying to outstretch the rupee spent. Could I have not bought all his books, audio and video CDs, and perused them at leisure?
As a marketing student-here was a brand that initially over promised. But as I reflected since- the sessions were indeed priceless! I first read Dr Covey over a decade ago, and had actually taken cognizance of quite a few of the seven habits! Tried imbibing some of them-and over the years, had even influenced my value system-and am sure my near and dear would need no reminder that I tom tom about:
-Advising a lot of youngsters regarding their choice of which career to pursue-`Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.`
-the shift from the employers market to employees market ( paradigm shift from the industrial economy to the knowledge economy)
-the concept of the emotional bank account!
Yes, over the years, some of these works had helped me find my voice!! And that's one reason why my professional and personal lives are so intermingled and often seamlessly integrated!!
Looking back, it was the time I needed to 'sharpen the saw'!!
PS there is lot of material online. But here is a good extract from another person who attended the training-with a lot of reference links! Happy hunting!