Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy days are here again?


One may recall Infosys had given a single-digit increment in October,. It had announced an across-the-board raise as domestic salaries went up by 8% while on site pay rose by 2%. And the HR Head Mr Mohandas Pai was also quoted "We'll be thinking of a further salary hike only in April 2010"!!

Can we see other IT cos following suit in India ?

It is also interesting to note that with decreasing margins in the outsourcing deals, there has been a lot of clamour for innovative solutions being offered by the Indian IT services companies..

One thing is for sure- there will be increasing demand for the top performers and those with niche skills!!

In the past fortnight, one has seen the return of half page ads in major newspapers -calling for applications for some generic positions. While the supplements are still 4-8 pages thick, to me, it seems more like a brand building exercise, or an attempt for companies to farm out for the 'easily available talent'!!

In fact-while people have been moving - there is really not much a significant increase in the salary hike as they move laterally!!

I would love to hear your impressions -and predictions!!

Meanwhile, here is what we at Options have been keeping busy with!

And yes, a little more comprehensive list of 'not so confidential' openings that our clients are hiring for!!

Companies are a lot more choosy..still cherry picking!! I shall be delighted to have referrals from you. Please forward them to [email protected] :-)!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Attraction to company culture a primary factor in employer preference in automotive industry


Toyota the most preferred next employer as per online survey among engineering job seekers in the industry


Recently, Options Executive Search commissioned an online survey with Knowience Insights, an online research firm, to understand the job change behaviour among engineering professionals in the automotive industry. The most interesting 'takeaway' we have from this online survey conducted between 13th and 18th December 2009 is that attraction to company culture plays the most dominant part in a job seeker’s preference of a future employer. While the job seekers were divided about their most preferred future employer, irrespective of the company they voted for, the company culture was a major decision making factor.


We also found Toyota with 21% preference to be the most preferred future employer for these professionals, followed by three Indian companies viz., Tata Motors (15%), Maruti (14%) and Mahindra & Mahindra (8%). However, in the aggregated top 3 employer preferences, Tata Motors (15.6%) found more mentions than Toyota (14.3%). Interestingly, apart from culture, the top 4 companies stood for different things in the minds of the job seekers who responded to the survey. (The numbers given are in that order of preference for the respective company)





The other most interesting insight from the survey was that “an opportunity in a city/town of one’s choice is the single biggest trigger for considering a job change.”


From our point of view, this survey throws up an interesting facet of how the core engineering professionals are approaching their career now as against how they would have possibly done it a couple of years back. If the nineties and a better part of the decade of 2000 drew the engineering professionals to IT, it appears that recognition is finally coming in the core manufacturing sector for these professionals.


In my opinion, perhaps companies have to spend a lot more time and effort in articulating and communicating (selling?) their company culture to the prospective employees. This would call for a shift in focus for recruiting managers and most definitely, some fresh thinking on how to do it.



Incidentally, Knowience Insights is a young Indian company that specializes in Internet-based research services. Knowience provides critical customer insights to its clients through customised research – strategic and tactical – deployed over the Internet. Knowience is backed by founders with over 45 years of experience in customer relationship and over 9 years of experience in the Internet domain.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Potential Hot jobs in India in 2010!

Continuing my series of posts on how 2010 could be different, related to industries to watch in India, sentiments regarding salaries, and the possible motivation to change jobs, I attempt to list out some of the possible opportunities that would be in vogue during the near future.


1. With the increasing globalisation of management teams in Indian corporations, and more interest of MNCs in the Indian domestic consumption story, there is a demand for senior executives-with a strong "India" flavour and international experience -apart from the ability and experience of managing scale, complexity and geographical diversity apart from bringing global best practices to the table.


2. Given the economy, the constantly-changing consumer and marketplace, employers are and will remain reluctant to hire regular employees as enthusiastically as before. There will be hiring, but primarily for critical positions and to protect intellectual property. One can see increasingly companies sticking to their core competency, having shed off 'not so aligned' businesses in the recent slowdown.

3. Specialists would be in demand more than ever!!

IT industry

While I would personally rate 'Cloud computing' and ' ecommerce applications' as the drivers, here is a recent blog post that summarises the trends in the IT industry :

-employers focus not so much on filling jobs but on acquisition of critical IT skill specializations.The skills sets in demand will be technical but also heavily business- and consumer-focused, with many industry- and situation-specific flavors.

-one can see many options for filling critical skill gaps — from the inside (hiring, training); from the outside (contractors, consultants); “renting” via outsourcing and off shoring; or “giving over” by purchasing any number of managed services, which is a market building momentum fast.

-Related in-demand skills and clusters :information security; open source OS; Microsoft Commerce Server; Java; SOAP; Python, Microsoft Share point; SQL; Sybase Adaptive Server; business intelligence; business process improvement; architecting; and a variety of IP networking areas, including VPN, Metro Ethernet, and IP telephony.

Non IT industry

My gut feel here is that we will see a lot more specialists jobs emerging in this sector, emerging from the most challenging tasks for different growth stages in the life cycle of development.

-There would be a huge premium for those with 'collaborative' skills, as companies are banking on strategic alliances and partnerships -rather than build capacity from scratch! The IT, Telecom, Pharma and Auto industries already boast of benchmarks, and it is only a matter of time others follow.

-Hiring too is becoming increasingly strategic, with senior management on board- and outsourcing middle and lower management positions to get economies of scale and speed.

My bets would be on the following professionals with skills related to:

1. Land Acquisition : With thousands of crores of infrastructure projects on the anvil, it would all boil down to the ability of any company to tackle the issues related, ie Legal formalities, Local liaisoning, dealing with Government Authorities. In a country where land is owned by a large number of marginal owners, the grandest of the plans can remain just that!!

2. Carbon credit specialists: Notwithstanding the Copenhagen chaos, there is a lot of potential here waiting to be tapped. Those conversant with facilitating Verification and Certification of CDM Projects, following up and coordinating with the buyers and other line institutions for realizing payments. The crux is coordination with internal departments, consultants, regulatory bodies, carbon credit buyers and work in close cooperation with other disciplines.

3. Social Media Marketing experts : To use a cliche, geography is history!! With the entire world now becoming a market for every manufacturer and service provider, it is increasingly imperative to have a virtual presence and be omnipresent! Isn't just about increasing awareness, but engaging the prospects and converting at a rate much higher than before. Companies that get on to the bandwagon first-to combine internet marketing and content creation in general, would stand to benefit. Social Media, blogosphere, updated social networks, SEO, SMO, PPC, managing communities will the buzzwords!

4. Fund raising experts: With increasing uncertainty, and multitude of projects that chase limited capital in a cautious investment climate, the financial wizards who can conjure up innovative instruments will be the ones to watch. And more so, in the aftermath of the financial excesses, and the glare of corporate governance, the challenges arent exactly enticing!

I shall be glad to be hear from you with your predictions!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Jobs in India in 2010-will it be different?

Poof!! Before one even knew, the first week of 2010 has come & gone! An amazingly awaited week that was jam packed with action-but didn't leave much room for anything but reaction:-)!

I am not able to pinpoint -but there is an unusually high expectation for a lot of us from 2010! Not just another new year. May be its perhaps got to do with a new decade? Maybe it is time for India Inc to get that escape velocity...either way, one can hear lots of engines roaring,more strategy, more planning.

Or maybe it is that part of the year where most are following up earnestly on the crispy new resolutions :)! The long n short is-I can't remember the last that I had so many missed calls to attend to, at the end of each hour. Amidst all the flood of season's greetings, were veiled attempts to take a fresh guard of the career management.

It ain't about hope though, right? The world has significantly changed in the last 18 months. What worked in the past-is history. It's a new game, and with new rules.

What does the future look like in 2010?

Well, here's a very well articulated blog post by
Mervyn Dinnen on the skills that a recruiter ought to master to stay in the game! Relationships that are built by Reputation, Respect and Realism!!

We also have a bubbling budding corporate recruiter Rishiraj Singh, fresh after a 4 week break-who predicts that candidate centricity will prove a key battle concept in 2010.

Personally, I would wager that employers may not have too much money to throw around, to attract the best of talent. The key differentiators that an aspiring job seeker would hence be evaluating would hinge around the quality of the opportunity :

1.ability to rub shoulders with a topnotch peer group

2.the career progression it may lead to

3. long term financial stability more than instant gratification

Will the future interviews be continue to be based on 'proven past track record"? Or would companies start hiring for 'potential to grow"? Only time will tell.

Two sides of the coin?

Here are some symptoms that I -as a recruiter-see at the moment

a) The Employers perspective :

-Just in the last week, at least two of my clients have very clearly articulated filtering compulsive job hoppers. While one categorically mentioned that we wouldn't want to hire anyone who doesn't stay even 2 years in each job, the other was more forthcoming-' we want passion, not mercenaries', 'for the right guy, we will compensate depending on internal parity-and so drop all those aspiring to change for hike in salary reasons alone'!!

-In the recent months -while there has been increased activity of hiring enquiries, it is interesting to note how many of them have actually converted into offers-and joinees!! The 'wait and watch-there is lot of talent available in the market' mode has replaced 'hire the trespasser' syndrome that prevailed in 2007-08!

-Companies are lot more conscious of the 'cost per hire' now-keeping tab on the number of outstation candidates being interviewed-video conferences and Skype calls have increased! Not to mention the hesitation to consider the relocation costs involved once the person accepts the offer. Did we actually have 'joining bonus' some time back to sweeten too :-)!?

b) The Employee perspective :

Let me try and share some of the opinions, comments, remarks I have come across online and in person!

"Expectations amongst the professionals would be high in tune with the market uptrend and they would like to gain what they had lost during the recession...."

" in 2009 there were very many experience people who were getting suffocated in their roles and organizations and were wanting to move out, but as nothing impressive was coming the way, they had to bite dust till the recession ended and a new dawn has begun."

"2009 was the year of employer where the employer didn't hold any value in terms of retrenching people irrespective of the fact whether the employee is a performer or not . Now the Year 2010 is the turn of employees wherein they are expecting good compensation, if it is not matched, they will find the way."

Will the twain meet? It's anybody' guess who will blink first.

PS- Next post:I shall try and list out a bunch of potential hot jobs in India!!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

2010: Salaries in India- Wake up time??

In the general "feel good" factor of the extended holidays and celebration time, amidst all the hopes of a great year ahead, I am probably going out to put the spanner in the works by addressing a sensitive topic such as salary increments!!

It is partly triggered off by

1.this blog post "Is 2010 going to be a good salary year" -which Ankit Agarwal has very well articulated the case for us to debate on. I did share a couple of my concerns there.

India Inc actually ‘aped’ a lot of their multinational branches behaviour by laying off or cutting costs. The tightened belt of course helped improve the bottom line eventually, but I am not sure if the HR folks in India could have been more sensitive (!!

The skills of professionals needed in a stagnant or a slow economy are different from that one was accepted in a growing economy- the increase will be surely in relation to performance. And so, one cannot expect a largesse across the levels in any company :-)!

2. a question I posed on Linkedin early last month "What do you think should be a decent salary hike when one changes a job in the present job market?" which evinced a fair amount of opinions, hopes& wishful thinking :-)!!

The answers varied across the different stakeholders, namely the aspiring job seekers, and the corporate HR/recruiters making politically correct statement, as also from commentating recruiters in the thick of the action.

There are some larger issues related to salary hikes that are a function of the hiring game in India, which has been distinct in the recent past.

But the most thought provoking comment came offline from a CEO of a sunrise company!

"The bane of the Industry today and the one of the prime reasons for attrition is that there are a lot of lateral movements for insignificant( by my definition) increase in responsibility or remuneration. Many of these lateral changes maybe for reasons other than significant career progression and the new employer too will have to contend with the "what next" question very soon.

Employers too must learn to sieve the lateral movers from those moving for real progression, invest in them and reap the benefits of getting truly satisfied employees- and that comes only from true and significant progression.If employers don't hire predominantly hire laterally shifts where is the question of a mindless inflation of wages ebbs?"

Isnt it time to get real ?? I shall be glad to have your feedback!!

Friday, January 01, 2010

2010: Industries to watch in India

2009 was a year when smarter companies equipped themselves by tightening their belts, and by enhanced performance oriented systems. As a result of holding back, even though the economy might take time to revive itself to its heydays, 2010 promises to be a year of job creation!

1. Power Sector

2010 is slated to see a slew of power IPO's -eg NTPC, Jindal, Sterlite, REC are collectively expected to raise more than Rs 27000 crores over the year-which is almost equal to the amount raised by power in the last 2 years!!

2.Heavy Infrastructure

Nearly one lakh crore worth road projects are up for award presenting opportunities. One can imagine the spurring demand for professionals in the areas of project management, especially mega projects and CFOs with big ticket fund raising expertise apart from project specific niche areas.

3. Automotive

The automobile sector seems to be back on track with several global majors vying for the local market with a shift in focus to smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles even as the top end market continues to expand in India.

Hyundai wants to turn India into its small-car export hub. Fiat plans to source $1 billion of parts from India. General Motors, Renault-Nissan, Toyota, Suzuki and Volkswagen are building new factories or expanding their existing operations. Add Tata Motors and Mahindra’s plans, one can expect a lot more action!

4. Education

There is now a clear recognition that the domestic supply of higher education in India is unduly constrained. A key issue has been the question of entry of foreign educational institutions into higher education in India.

One has seen an increasing interest by PE funded enterprises making their foray in primary education (read affordable schools) and so there would be a lot of action in the remedial tutoring field. Add that to the competitive and professional education, the demand for teaching professionals augurs well.

I reckon we shall be seeing a lot more segmentation happening- for adult education, and vocational training, and cross pollination of experienced professionals moving from the industry too, soon thereafter.

5.The Green sector

Though these are early days yet, for sheer potential, renewable energy, environment management, water and waste management, carbon trading and other climate related sectors as the government and the private sector gets its act right. With US Prez Obama's penchant for clean energy, one could expect some of the initiatives triggered by the $50billion stimulus package into clean and energy efficiency measures, I am bullish some of the investments would create jobs in India!!

Further, one can imagine there would be a demand for expatriate executives and returning Indians as local expertise is lacking or non existent in the domain.

Sectors like healthcare and FMCG continue to be robust, while we see increased action in areas like telecom-which will call for new skills!!

Indian telecom markets are likely to undergo a tectonic shift with the introduction of new licensees, mobile number portability (MNP) and the launch of 3G services all scheduled in the next one year. New players will nibble at the market share of the incumbents, the rural markets will provide the growth....

I feel I shall need to devote another post to the kinds of jobs that would be on offer :-)!

At this juncture, 2010 seems to be a promising year!! Happy New Year!