Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jobs in India- The New Normal?

We live in interesting times!

Almost everyday, one is drawn into discussions about the 'job market in India'. And the more one dwells on the various aspects - it is quite obvious that there is something amiss in the entire ecosystem!
At a personal level, I have been getting more enquiries from job seekers, employers and recruitment associates -all equally anxious for the right solutions. However, the 'busyness' isn't really converting into business.
-The skills available simply do not seem to match that of those desired by the employers.
-It is almost as if people are window shopping (both hiring managers & aspirants) with no real sense of urgency-as corporates display low business confidence.
-Companies are paying differential annual hikes to key performers-and doling out lesser amounts to others!
- However the disturbing news -is that companies have stopped investing in freshers (even if it were in past -to build a pipeline of talent for the future- and bring down the overall cost !)-
Surprising -for a nation happy to hoard for future ( recall companies used to lap up third year engineering students -in a bid to offer jobs on a later date), and hire more than necessary ( as they built in a certain percentage of attrition & drop outs to be sure), right?
And what's worse is that most glamorous of employers, in the IT and auto industry, are open to looking at laying off people!! What lies unsaid..are the layoffs in lesser known companies -mostly third party service producers-who lose their jobs well before the snipping tool come down on the  headcount!
Can we draw some insights from these symptoms? I would love to have your observations.
Does the future look bright? Are those likely to enter the workforce shortly-equipped to be relevant in the context?
Here are some show stoppers -in my opinion.
-Almost anyone who wants to get higher education now-can get it. In the past 5 years alone, the intakes of Engineering & Management students has gone by 3x !! Is there some tab of the quality of the input? Am not sure.
-Has the quality of education improved? There is huge clamour of the 'output'  not just being industry ready. Disturbing -as the Education loans have gone up by 10x in the last 7 years-which means the aspirations of the pass outs..include a decent quality of life-after paying their EMIs. Can the campus offers keep in pace and ignore the ROI of a entry level hire??
- Are so many highly qualified professionals required ? And yes, after paying the EMIs, (which could be a third of most qualified professionals)..what would be the disposable income? Isn't India - an economy that promises to grow.. by increased consumption by a specific contribution from a segment of the demographics?
Am I over reacting to a small passing phase? Am I trying to read too much between the lines? I shall be glad to be corrected.
Or indeed, are we missing the woods from the trees?

PS:  Meanwhile, should you want to know specifically what kind of jobs keep us busy @ Options presently, please visit our career site-where some of the not-so-confidential positions are listed!!
Happy hunting!

Will the twain ever meet?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Are you in touch with the right recruiter?

I have been an avid follower of Greg Savage-for a few years now, and so was delighted to hear him on a webinar with Shane McCusker-on the future of recruitment.
Well, the YouTube video is about 42 minutes long-and well worth for any professional -who is looking to be make a mark in the highly globalised and dynamic connected economy the world is fast evolving into. After all, every manager-needs to be hiring for his team-and so needs to have a ringside view of how the art of recruiting is likely to unfold!
Here is a gist of the take aways that I wish to highlight on:
- The craft of recruitment is much more than a combination of sophisticated use of technology ( read 'finding talent') and high skilled human interaction ( the ability to getting the best/right talent to the hiring table and to accept the role!).
-The key is to have the finesse to be able to master & managing the process of understanding aspirations, influencing, negotiating, handling counter offers-and add value to both the hiring manager and the candidate.
- Recruitment is no longer about just screening out from a job board. In a world where the skills needed -aren't ever matching with the available skills, it is about candidate care..the art of identifying, engaging & seducing them! People like to deal with people they like. And no matter what, irrespective of whether one gets a job or not through  a recruiter, no one will forget 'how they felt' while being engaged with a recruiter!
As a recruiter for over 2 decades, I agree with Greg..when he mentions it is not rocket science-but being in a very unique industry -where a recruiter has to reckon on a 'its all or nothing' kind of fees on one side-and handling a product ( that has the right of refusal -even after a sale has been made!), and the strike rate of conversions is pathetically best one-fifth of the outcomes are in one's favour-it is very difficult to walk the talk-all the time.
So what are the attributes a great recruiter is likely to need?
-She/he is a digital native. Or open to learning the nuances of social media branding.
-Has a robust network. Reach wise, and rich in niche/specialisation.
-Is a good writer. Ability to produce compelling text,blog, adept at content marketing.
-Deep knowledge in the niche. Must be the subject matter expert, the 'go-to' guy in the domain.
-Credibility. ( which of course comes only with the specialisation)
-Empathy- the ability to relate to the aspirations.

What are you waiting for? I would suggest you take the time out -and  listen and reflect more!

And if you know someone-who is already on the way, do let me know. We at Options, are looking for collaborating with similar minded professionals. (Believe me, I did allude to some of the attributes in some of my earlier posts ..are recruiters being redundant, and musical chairs, among others-on this blog itself :)!!

Let us make a difference.


Friday, June 07, 2013

Career Planning : Learning, Unlearing...Relearning!! ( Part Two)

Turbocharge YOUR Career Workshop

This was an event I conducted last Saturday! Let me confess I thoroughly enjoyed the session -and you can look forward to some regular events like these soon-but the greater learning has been the run up of events that led to it :)!

For posterity, let me share my original concept.

The 4 hour workshop is meant for Professionals-with atleast 5+ years of experience in the industry-who wish to change gears and take charge of their careers -and prepare for Leadership Roles in India and abroad.

All participants are required to bring their own laptop and a data card, so that we spend atleast a couple of hours, hands on, and leverage on building one's professional network using Linkedin, staying abreast with the best practices globally.

Some of the topics we will dive deep into include :

1) An interactive discussion on "Careers as an Asset"

As one has seen the industrial economy give way to an intellectual economy, globalisation has impacted the way businesses have had to evolve...making it imperative for professionals to take another look at their careers, and stay ahead of the learning curve-as a new economy is on the horizon.

2)Taking inventory of a new set of skills that are more relevant than what was evident in a pyramidical organisation.

There has been a paradigm shift in the expectations from a professional in the same role -as companies shift gears in the lifecycle of change...and get to the next level.

3)Thinking beyond job security and career growth...and sharpen one's USP.

At the end of the session, you would be all set to embark on a road map to your professional growth-building a brand equity for yourself-and be the 'go-to-person' that you have always wanted to be!

Well, I expected to restrict the gathering to about 15 persons to ensure some personal connect.

As the event came closer - yes, thanks to the social media buzz, a lot of well wishers encouraged me-and a lot more called me to ascertain if the event would help them get the job they desired. Was there an opportunity if I could some way guarantee some instant gratification ? 

I had to let quite a few enquiries pass-as the emphasis was on careers..and beyond merely the next job!And so -for better focus to a particular segment of middle managers - the event was tweaked to exclude professionals below 8years.

Here are the takeaways for me:

-I am grateful that the handful who came -had a quality interaction -and vindicated that this was indeed much beyond a transaction, and the beginning of leveraging on a potential network of connections -and build relationships on their way to their personal & professional goals. We are now part of a small online community that would be sharing and learning together about the best practices.

- There were another set of senior professionals -who for reasons of confidentiality and sensitivity reached out for seeking one-one 'closed door ' sessions tailor made for them. 

-There is scope for special focus workshops-for different levels of professionals- and the sensitivities related at each level is different.  And separately for Sales professionals. And entrepreneurs. The needs of a budding recruiter too seem to be unique from those-as she/he would need to be a 'subject matter expert' to be able to attract the right profiles.

So, please standby, we are likely to conjure up more events in future..perhaps a monthly one!!

PS: there were some interesting asides more than one aspirant-questioned the cost of training. Reminding me of a master quote from none other than the Management Guru Peter Drucker-"If you think training is expensive, try ignorance”.  Unquote.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Career Planning : Learning, Unlearing...Relearning!! ( Part One)

A tale of two training events in the last seven days!!

On Monday I had the opportunity to address about 40 odd young Chartered Accountants
(some still awaiting their results after their exacting examinations)..and set their expectations about Career Planning. It was a wonderful mix- about a third being ladies, sprinkled with some who have had a rural upbringing..and some from the traditional trading community.

As a professional who has had an extensive ringside view of the way businesses have evolved in India in the past three decades, the changing demands of skills-thanks to globalisation, technology and yes, increasing aspirations, I was cautioned by many to set the right expectations.

Armed with a bunch of slides, I landed up there -hoping to share with the youngsters-a template-with a possible range of options..across Finance/Accounts/Audit/Taxation/Risk/...that could be on stake with different kinds of employers..( MNC, Indian Business houses, Global firms..)-and most importantly-the kind of skill sets required for each of those combinations, technical & soft-essentially trying to focus on how a day's life would be for a Chartered Accountant- in the short, medium and long term.

But what unfolded -was a revelation! Here are some of the takeaways for me :

- More than half were keen on pursuing a career in practice. And what struck me was the keenness of the first generation aspirants ( you know..those who weren't lucky to have their family members as practising Chartered Accountants and hence had a legacy of customers to inherit )-to know about the ways to leverage on networking-to get those first clients!!

- While the popular domain seemed to be variants of taxation and then audit, it was enlightening to me to hear a couple mention Private Equity and managing a fund. Some shared their vision of giving back to society-and perhaps creating an ecosystem for improving the agricultural community.One was sure he would be a teacher and create a much greater impact on the generations to come.

- Not one actually asked me about the lure of 'campus placements'. ( Yes, it was eye-opening as most MBA freshers I have been meeting in the past few years..were planning their career 'outside in.." meaning ended up doing their specialisations based on the possible popular employers visiting their institute!!)

To me..this in itself was the single most important learning...the belief of a professional. At times I wonder..the best in the established professions -say medicine, law,..never seem to hanker after a 'corporate job' at the end of the course..instead backing their own instincts and creating equity for themselves!!

Turbo Charge Your Career workshop: (see Part Two).