Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rs 1 crore- plus salary a year for over 500 CEOs in India

A report in today's online edition of Business Standard attracts attention.

While the article doesnt elaborate on the source of the study-it summarises:

1.The top layer of India Inc – executive directors and above – rewarded itself with a 32 per cent pay rise in the last financial year (2006-07) while raising the salaries of its employees by 22 per cent.

2.The shower of riches created 174 new crorepatis, pushing up the number of corporate managers earning at least Rs 1 crore a year to 508 from 334 in 2005-06.

3.Of the 508 crorepatis, 17 are from newly-listed companies while 26 joined their companies last year.

4.The compensation package of 93 managers has more than doubled. For 81, it has increased between 50 per cent and 100 per cent.

5. Overall, 50 top executives from pharmaceuticals, 44 from information technology, 26 from constructions, 23 from auto-ancillaries, 22 from hotels, 20 from telecommunications, 17 from engineering, 14 from cement and 13 from banking drew over Rs 1 crore in 2006-07.

Personally, I think this represents more the trend of the the rising salaries over the last couple of years-while taking the numbers with a pinch of salt.

While the article gives details of the promoter CEOs -which are obvious, I personally feel the professional managers in the category are much more than the few hundred indicated in the study.

A study by American Express earlier this year quoted over 7lac HNIs (high networth individuals ) with an investible surplus of over Rs 50lacs. Am sure, while there are a lot of businessmen, and those who inherit riches, there must be a significant set of people who have made by sweat equity and salaries...

One thing I am not doubting - surely it seems to be a great time to be in the job market, no?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Twenty 20 international cricket & random thoughts

Late last night, I happened to watch the first match of first international Twenty20 World cup cricket. For a spectator, it was just action packed sport as they were runs galore- unbelievable batting by West Indian Chris Gayle and very interesting to see how the South Africans were to retort. The match summary is here .

For once, I didnt feel guilty as I just spent a little over 3 hours to watch my favourite sport :-)!

Analysing the specific match, here are a few highlights

- Despite Gayles massacre of 117 runs in 50 odd balls, West Indies just cdnt keep up the tempo once he was dismissed.

-There was drama in the first over of South Africans batted-Their captain Smith broke his hand and they had scored just one run. It was sheer leadership on show as he kept the team interests above his personal discomfort and put back the team on momentum within a few overs, and one could see the tables turned immediately on the Windies.

-Windies bowling got wayward-and in the first ten overs, they had bowled 18 wides..and extra 30% of deliveries, and dropped 3 catches under pressure.

It left me thinking- on the first principles-and compare with the business environment.

-after all its a team game and one single performance isnt good enough to tilt the balance.
-one had to do all the basics right -despite the length of the game.
-its the temparement which eventually mattered as the conditions were similar for both teams.
-leadership matters!

Yes, I somehow felt the Twenty20 was loaded in favour of the batsman

-the bowlers just could not afford to make mistakes. A 'no ball' -meant a 'free hit ' of the next delivery for the batsman-with no chance to get out-but score at will -with an unchanged field.

-the odds that ten wickets would fall in a 20 over match are very much lower -and so the risk that batsman can take -was significantly higher than the other versions. ( Perhaps they should deduct 10 runs for every dismissal to put the pressure back on the batsman in such games :-)!)

Any take away for us HR professionals here? Especially in the context of the news report
Microsoft backs cricket to woo Indian employees?

1. Life long employment in companies is like traditional Test cricket. Are purists outdated?

2. The last two decades has seen people jump jobs every 2-3 years. (a la one day cricket match which has beena sponsor's delight ?).
3. Is the future going to be loaded in favour of people seeking instant gratification?

The challenge for the HR is to be aligned to business demands-while still making the players enjoy and bring delight to the various stakeholders.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ageing -and employment opportunites

I have always wondered why in India-especially in the corporate world and the government -do we have a 'retirement age' of 58 or 60yrs -as the case maybe!

My pet theory-is to attribute it to the 1950s-when perhaps the average life expectancy was perhaps around 60yrs. And so, one had the benefit of pension for some years after retiring -to tide over those last years-without having to work fulltime for a living.

However, in the 5 decades since, thanks to technological advances -better medicines, lesser epidemics, I guess, now the life expectancy has gone up by atleast 15yrs.

My question then..why retire at 60? Why not at 70?

Take a case of our politicians- most of the present generation are upwards of that magic figure! So are some of the leaders of the best known business families. Lawyers, Doctors and all those self employed too-seem to be able to carry on..

I just happened to see a note claiming "104 is the new 80" - just to quote in context :

In the USA, the number of "producers" supporting "retirees" is going to drop by 50% by 2025 and halve by 2050. In Japan, the country will move from 2.3 "producers" supporting 1 "retiree" today, to 1 "producer" supporting 3 "retirees," over the same period. Care to guess what that is going to do to welfare spending?

Small wonder then that discriminating on the basis of age is now illegal in several countries, including the United Kingdom. It borders on criminal to force somebody out of the productive sector of society while that person is productive, knowing that person is being condemned to penury in old age as a result. Besides that, the competition for mid level and senior talent is such that it is debatable whether firms can afford to lose productive, talented senior professionals either.

On those professionals, it also places the burden of ensuring that they stay sharp and current, both in intellectual acuity and in terms of keeping up with technology and other new developments. It is inevitable that firms are going to move more to performance metrics rather than age. After all, if one's performance is up to scratch, who really needs to care about age?

Wouldnt retaining ageing talent be more economic?

So is it time to review other myths?

If the average 'work life' is going to become 50yrs and more, would career planning take a different connotation? Already, within fast growing economies, the concept of life long employment is passe' as most people end up doing changing jobs once in 2/3 yrs -and perhaps change their career atleast a couple of times.

With the age of the 'free agent nation' , would professionals be more loyal to themselves , instead of companies?

Companies are already open to concepts like virtual working, telecommuting, flexi timing, temping...whats next?? I shall be glad to hear from you!
Would those in their 50s and 60s be more acceptable for certain jobs..especially since GenY is very choosy about what they want to do?

ERA conference- Aligning recruitment to retention-the take away

Its a little late in the day to summarise-some of my pals called me up and sought an update, especially since they thought I had harped on the ERA conference for almost a month !!

Let me try and make it short.
1. Attendance of 450+ delegates.
2. A well chiseled out program schedule.
3. Execution of the program, confined to the allotted time. No time overrun.
We had some impressive presentations by the speakers. For those interested , here is the link to the detailed presentations.

As a delegate, some of the take aways, I wish to remember from each of the speakers -are as below:

Mr Moorthy Uppaluri of Microsoft -in his key note address, used the Porter's model to provoke the audience to conciously think of an "Employee Value Proposition" as the career anchor-to address the retention issue. Needless to say-it is a great challenge-considering that different people have different expectations from their career!

Dr Susanta Misra of Motorola then delved into the analytical mode-by getting into the first principles- by brealing down the attrition rates to the age of the employee within an organisation. I would surely recommend that all refer his presentation-as he described differential treatment to be given to 'infant mortality', and 'early exits' than for those in the system for more than 3yrs..where he prescribed job rotation as a prevention mechanism.

We then had a flurry of presentations from Mr Ajit Isaac of Adecco People one, Mr Oussama Mansour evangelising the need for psychometric testing, and a panel discussion -consisting of leaders from 4 different industries - Mr Thyagarajan of Maytas, Mr Venugopal of Reliance Retail, Mr Shravan Kumar from Ocimum Bioscience and Mr Roy Gilbert of Google- all elaborating on the changing needs and demands of the talent pool they individually are responsible for. Mr Muralidharan of TMI -the moderator, had come prepared with 7 different case studies which were to have been analysed by the panel-but for want of time, we had to settle for a steamy interaction -from the two operationally driven sections of the audience!!

Mr Michael Sweeny of UBS had flown in from Hong Kong to make his presentation-and I particulary liked his hypothesis -"emotional drivers such as one's relationship with one's manager and the pride in one's work have four times greater impact on the discretionary work effort than the rational drivers such as pay and benefits have "!!
I guess it all boils down to creating an outstanding ecosystem where great works gets done. That in itself -would be a great magnet to attract the best- and ensure they remain !! As a HR person, we do sure have a long way to ensure the right ambience....