Saturday, October 28, 2006

Dataquest best employers survey in the IT industry

The leading mag DATAQUEST had published a Employers Survey in September 2006. The survey covered 250 IT companies across 7 cities-and further shortlisted 32 companies to conduct an employee satisfaction index. The top 20 can be seen here.

There are some interesting observations:-

  • More than 50% of the companies that made it to the Top 20 this year are niche players. Take for example Induslogic and Aztecsoft. The two are among the Top 10 star employers and both specialize in outsourced product engineering. Employees in these companies get to work on high-end technology and hardcore product development and that's the primary differentiator with the likes of Infosys and Wipro.
  • Interestingly, according to the survey, while employees do not see salary as the most critical component of their dream job, it remains the most important reason for taking up a new job - over 54% respondents sighted salary as the topmost consideration for a new job.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


This is an excerpt from an article I wrote in 2004.

Some of the aspiring “returnees” expectations and experiences:

  • “I would like to get an offer while still in the U.S.”
  • “Applying through corporate employment websites returns only a faceless automated response.”
  • “Going to job fairs involves standing in queues and handing over resume to the person behind the desk who doesn’t respond with more than “we will get back to you later.”
  • “I am coming to India on a two-week trip and would be visiting 3 cities-am open to meeting some corporate members to explore job opportunities.”

On the other hand, speaking to returning Indians have fetched some unanimous responses about the HR machinations:

  • “There are numerous jobs advertised on the jobsites and the newspapers, yet somehow the interviews don’t indicate the same urgency.”
  • “Placement firms also do the same thing—they project a requirement as if you are going to be called tomorrow, but for months you don’t hear from them! This gives the impression that they only wanted to get your resume for future reference. Generally speaking, India needs to mature in many aspects relating to placement, interview process and giving the candidates their due.”
  • “There are multiple levels of interviews—with the HR and technical teams in India, the U.S. technical team, and so on. The expectations of each of the panels are different—are they serious of about hiring?”
  • “During the interview, I was telling them about how I manage tasks and they were looking for more micro-management skills in my resume. They said that the developers in India are not as responsible with their assigned tasks!”

Those who successfully get into jobs are eventually heading for a culture shock.

  • “I end up working 10-12 hours a day for 6 days a week.”
  • “When you realize that you will not be able to make more than 35-40 percent of what you were making in the U.S., it may disappoint the candidate, but one has to face the reality that the cost of living in India is much cheaper than what it is in the U.S.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Skills in demand in India

Where are the jobs of the future? What are the kind of talent that Indian industry needs in the next year or two??

In the past decade, the predominant skills that Indian companies have been looking for, in returning Indians, have been changing!!

At a recentNASSCOM event, Dr Ajay Kela of Symphony Services gave a glimpse of the ‘fourthwave of the Indian industry’ - in a bid to move up the value chain.

Some of the HOT openings that we come across regularly are as below

-Engineering /R& D head positions for Product companies. People with strong technological skills to provide leadership-apart from handling complex matrix relationships with CXO positions in the corporate office (US/Europe)

-Consulting opportunities, again in cutting edge technologies,with an ability to evangelise adoption across businesses.

-Delivery head positions across different domains. Typically a management role with accent on client management and hands-on expertise in handling offshoring /onsite dynamics.

-With India becoming an important market for telecom and BFSI segments, lot of VCs are interested in scaling up midsize companies with various offerings in the segments. Professionals with strong marketing acumen –in addition to the techies are in high demand!

-Ofcourse in the traditional IT and ITES sectors, there are opportunities across the width of applications ( BFSI, Insurance, Logistics, Manufacturing,…) for persons with experience in handling multiple projects/client engagements –especially across remote development centres.

With the infrastructure industry opening, those with operational experience internationally setting up highways, airports and townships are welcome! The country is witnessing a boom in all the segments- commercial, residential, retail ( read malls, multiplexes) and hotels.

Finance professionals with expertise in compliances (eg SOX) and ability to raise funds with innovative products are those to watch out for!

And we aren’t even talking of the pharma, biotech, retail, engineering process outsourcing, KPO, market intelligence,….

Are we all geared up to meet the challenge? Do shoot me a brief note on how you can add value to the Indian corporate, and who knows- I shall be glad to put you onto a prospect!!

Seeking a job in India - Or a Career?

As a recruiter handling recruitment of executives with international experience, I get at least one phone call a day from an aspiring returnee-and the queries/comments usually are very similar!

How can one can land a great gig, with companies that are going global and in companies that were non-existent a few yrs ago, without actually moving to India and searching from the sidelines for 3-6 months?

Even a recent passout from the ISB got over a crore of rupees- !!

Not a single company has responded to the resume I have sent

Most jobs are posted anyway by the consultants. All they do is make us fill questionnaires –and then say “ we shall get back”!!

I know of people who have moved back to India on a dollar salary..

No one responds to mails!!

All they want to know is qualifications and yrs of experience..
The debate can go on –and on. And everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

My own personal take- is that the solution lies in the approach we take! When one goes abroad for an overseas assignment, one is willing to look at the move as a long term career move. It is accepted that one has to work one’s way up the ladder, rung by rung- prepared to add on skills required for the career transition for success abroad!

But when one plans to come back to India-is one justified to expect everything on a platter??

Is the job market in India significantly different –say from US or Europe?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

On salary confidentiality

An Anonymous comment I recieved on the blog stated:

Can I ask why so few of these sites make reference to salary, it is difficult to consider a role when you have no idea about the earning potential.
It is an interesting question-especially since the media goes overboard in carrying stories of ‘exceptional salaries’-and most of our acquaintances are experts in quoting who is getting paid how much!!

(As a recruiter who has access to the psyche of both the employers and the employees, let me share a secret. Both parties are equally anxious about getting the best deal :)! And yes, most often the market forces take care of both their interests…)

To a returning Indian, I would advice one to keep an open mind & just look at the role, the scope and the challenges it would provide –am sure the salary would automatically fall in place!

- designations differ among companies in the same industry and so often can be misnomers. ( A Vice President in an American company has more responsibility than a Director- while the opposite is true in most European/Indian companies!)

- roles in differing sizes of companies have different challenges

- each company has a compensation policy – pegged with its business operations and keeping in view the competition. ( Contrary to popular conception, Microsoft is not the greatest paymaster- One third of the industry pays higher!!)

- all companies would hence have a bandwidth within which they operate-essentially as there are already people in the system –and paid commensurately.

Believe me, no employer-after having spent enormous management time, engaged you in a series of discussions, and finding a role most suitable keeping the value add you bring to the table, would hate to antagonize an employee by ‘shortchanging' !! However confidential the salary figures are, it wouldn’t take any employer more than a few weeks to understand the same –and that’s a risk not many ‘service companies that revel on intellectual capital’ would like to take!

In that context, for those already employed in India-the typical salary jump one expects is 20-25% on the last drawn salary.

Money isn't the topmost reason for changing jobs

Heres an interesting interview with Iain Herbertson, managing director of Manpower Asia Pacific on the challenges of finding and retaining talent in India

According to a survey done by them, the top reasons executives left their jobs was

1.because they felt they weren’t receiving enough training in new skills. development

3 more money!

Very critical, as he further admits-
“India has robust employment growth in key sectors. Even as the economy grows at 7-8 per cent, the services sector’s growth is nearly three times that. Hence the pressure on finding, acquiring and retaining top talent is only going to increase.

Indian companies will have to address this challenge seriously because businesses in India will soon be people restrained. They will not be restrained by capital or by manufacturing capabilities, but by the lack of the right people.

That’s good news..but are we as professionals geared up to deliver??

Coming to think of it, have you done any audit for yourself..-what are the skills you need to possess & how do you propose to achieve them??

Sunday, October 15, 2006

How to search for a job in India

If you are interested to move to India from another country some of the most popular ways of finding jobs in India are :

  1. with one's present employer –setting up India ODC (both captive/vendor)
  2. exploring with past employers ( with whom one may have worked before moving out of India) who have major India presence
  3. reaching out to family /friends who have already made the transition
  4. attending India specific jobfairs time and again (eg
  5. browsing jobsites in India ( eg,
  6. applying to companies directly based on their campaigns (eg Wipro's Return2India site)
  7. browsing other websites like
  8. contacting recruitment consultancies
The best way ofcourse –is to use a judicious mix of some of the above –at the same time ensuring there is not any duplication of work or effort. One certainly would not want to see the same resume reach the same hiring manager –from multiple sources!!

I shall be glad to share my experiences- as a predominantly contingent search player –with a fair share of ‘retained search assignments’ and also as a specialist in touch with returning/ returned Indians who have reached out to me personally. We work extensively on middle and senior management positions
  • both directly with some of the best names in the industry
  • as well as closely /indirectly with a network of similar minded recruitment firms
  • across major cities in India
  • who are keen to hire professionals with international flavour
  • please check out our site for some of the “not so confidential" openings we have worked on recently!!

Happy hunting !!

Searching for jobs in India

Returning to India?

I guess there are a lot of views expressed over time and debated !!

I used to be a moderator of the jobs forum in late nineties –before SIFY bought over the above site in early 2000!

In late 2000, I did have the pleasure of personally meeting about 50 odd professionals who expressed a desire of returning to India –in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Columbus, Chicago, the Silicon Valley and Redmond!!

Most of them –then were mostly looking at India for personal reasons-and weren't exactly sure if it was really alright to leave US and come back. Looking back – most issues discussed revolved around how India had changed from the time most had left it!! The education, the quality of life, …and an occasional reference to what kind of job could one expect!!

Well, lot has happened since. The dotcom boom, the outsourcing phenomenon, … Now, in 2006, the India phenomenon is a given fact.

Most of the people who return today-are doing so –for professional reasons. A stint in India (or in China) –is certainly a MUST for the global professional today. In fact, there is a school of thought..that perhaps not moving to India now..may not be a smart idea after all!!

Over the last 7 years, I have personally interacted with more than a few hundred professionals exploring opportunities in India-by mail, by phone, over lots of personal meetings across major cities in India (while they were on their vacation/official visits) !

This blog is an attempt to address some of the concerns raised by some of them. I shall be glad if some of you could give me pointers so that we can find the best use of this forum!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Pay hike unlikely when you call it quits?

From ET:In a buoyant market with so many job opportunities, one would expect corporates to keep their employees happy –and go any extent to retain them!! A recent report indicates that the company is more likely not to accede to a hike in salary.

Me thinks the inflection point is –when the employee actually has to look beyond his present job/employment to find what he loves doing.

So it is imperative for the HR fraternity find innovative tactics to keep the person engaged so as to preempt one to looking for greener pastures!

- Cannot jobs for some of the key people be designed with them as the fulcrum? Build a role around the professional?

- Can telecommuting be a solution?

- Some may even take a drop in salaries to handle for a better work-life balance?

- Since most people anyway leave “their bosses” and not so much the company, isn't it easy to realign the reporting structure ?

Isn't it ironical most often –the new incumbent comes in at a higher salary……….taking into considerations the market conditions ?

CFOs in demand

And so are the expectations from an ideal CFO!!

At a power breakfast held in Hyderabad earlier this week, the present day CFO was portrayed to be a ‘new age financial superman’!!

The “bean grower” takes over from the one erstwhile ‘bean counter’. The emphasis has changed to governance, and increasingly support CEOs in strategy, planning and Decision making.

During the last fortnight, we recruiters – seem to be flooded with enquiries for CFOs!! The infrastructure industry being in a boom- there are quite a few JVs being announced –and any professional with experience in the hotel/hospitality industry is in demand. The manufacturing industries are seeing M&As which are spearheaded by the CFOs.

Should you know of such professionals, please let me know :-)! ( openings exist in Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad for my clients offhand!!)

Friday, October 13, 2006

More hiring in October to December' 06

Its good news for all those seeking to shift jobs!! According to a survey done by Teamlease, India’s largest staffing company, covering close to 500 companies across the top metros in the country-the present quarter (Oct to Dec) promises to be very exciting.

As a recruiter – I have always tried to map quarters to see if ever there was a pattern in the hiring of professionals across ‘seasons’!!

Oct to Dec was always a good quarter for sales guys in the office automation/IT/capital intensive equipment-as corporates waited for the kill in the “JFM “quarter (meaning Jan- Mar)- as most government companies wd need to utilize their budgets- and private companies wd take advantage of booking depreciation for the financial year!

Ever the right time for corporates to shift gears-mid year !!

I often wonder if it has got to do with the performance appraisals and ‘salary revision’ time in June..and so, both the happy ones –who have got great hikes- and more so, the have nots…start looking for greener pastures :-)!!

Any one complaining??!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The future of working....for yourself??

About a couple of years ago, I had read an article based on a book by Daniel Pink –on Free Agent Nation.

Essentially it had analysed how over time there has been a shift of power in the job market ;from the organizations (the “providers of employment” –as in the industrial economies in the seventies) to the individuals in the “intellectual economy” ( the employee would choose whom to work for–and when!)

Little did I think we in India would be looking at the possibility so soon? Yes, lifelong careers had given way to a job every 2 or 3 years in most industries-but to think that we can expect professionals to work for different causes/employers simultaneously wasn't something I could 2006??

Over lunch today, I met a CEO of a Brand Management consultancy who was evangelizing how it was only a matter of time that like other functions/processes being outsourced, corporates would soon hand over the strategy part! And to meet the market, he is open to looking at engaging professionals PART TIME and reward them for their contributions –thus expanding the reach of the company’s services to smaller tier II cities!

All those wannabe entrepreneurs who haven’t yet gone into it -Any one game? Here is an option for you to be paid a small but steady retainer fee –month on month to cover out of pocket expenses-rub shoulders with the a great team of professionals, create –service-grow a local market and get rewarded commensurate to the results! The best thing is that you can do this by just devoting 25hours a week- rest of the time you can follow your dreams..and work for yourself??

Returning/returned Indians- retired sales and marketing professionals, home makers...Are we ready for such a role??

P.S. Googling for Pink means more crystal gazing..hmm….interesting!! possible??

CREATIVE SHIFT: why right brainers will rule the future: author Daniel Pink discusses his new book, "A Whole New Mind"



The past few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind—computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could crunch numbers. But the keys to the kingdom are changing hands.
The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind—creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers.
These people—artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers—will now reap society's richest rewards and share its greatest joys.
Pink makes a sound analytic argument for all this. And based on two years of research, he lays out the six essential abilities -- Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning -- that individuals and organizations will have to master to survive in a world of intense competition, the offshoring of good jobs, and the automation of white-collar work.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Less time, more candidates?

NIIT is investing 70 million rupees ( about 1.5m USD) n the coming three enable IT companies save time and money that goes into the recruitment process. Read more here

The assessment initially will be employer-centric, which means, the companies will indicate NIIT on which parameters should a potential recruit be tested. The testing centers –would be first launched in the 4 metros- and later foray into smaller towns – Each jobseeker would be subjected to tests for evaluating his competencies –as well as his psychographic profile!

I can see mostly good come out of such a process. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hiring in smaller Indian towns

Every other article we read today- hinges on the great war for talent. Every company is trying out new recipes to attract and retain the best people it can. Two meetings I had in the recent fortnight – bring me to a question - what are the challenges for those employers in the smaller towns?

At the 2nd National Convention of ERA at Hyderabad, the theme revolved around the opportunities in the BRIC and Europe nations (you can download some of the presentations here), I had an interesting chat with a Director of a small IT firm in Vishakhapatnam, popularly known as Vizag-a sleepy town in the coastal Andhra Pradesh- in the southeastern of India!

He had a challenging mantra “ reach out to vizagites” across the world!! Vizag has been some good educational institutions – and has apparently provided more than 800 IITians in the bargain-with over 400 in the 10+yrs category- and in senior management positions worldwide. The company has been trying to reach out to them- and exploring if their services can be utilized –as prospective employees or even some entrepreneurial ventures.

Right now, I am at Goa...on the other coast of India- which is a tourist destination –and a delight from some of us wanting to get away from the maddening crowds! (One can blissfully drive amidst the scenic backdrop for an hour and get to the other end of the state! In the last three days, I am yet to find a traffic signal –not to mention a jam :-)!)

Last evening I met the MD of a Tata JV and he was lamenting about attracting the ‘ambitious kind’ of employees/workers to Goa- as most people think of it as a ‘retired people's city’! The company has embarked on a major expansion drive-and are stretching their imagination to find the best talent. I now have a carte blanche mandate.. 'get me any Goan wanting to return’ to Goa-and they would build a role around the person. Any Engineer, with a couple of decades of experience in any industry, even if he has retired elsewhere- and keen to be gainfully employed in any function –opportunities are available at all levels!!

Any takers?

I would love to hear from other experienced talent partners..on how they have tackled similar issues.