Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hiring in India..the challenges and opportunities

I am excited to be attending my second conference at NPA conference ( Asia Pac region)in Sydney. Following soon after my last month's Nashville experience, I am looking forward to renewing ties with some of the Asian partners whom I met then-while also making moves to progress on some of the action plans we had embarked on.

In the recent past, there has been a lot of 'traffic' between the Asia Pac regions- with quite a few countries emerging as front runners in attracting talent, and I am hoping to learn from my partners -understand the major trends in some of these markets-and see how best we can adapt to the changes happening.

I am also delighted to be part of the spotlight-for a brief while!! I shall be sharing the dais with 4 other international partners-from among Philippines, Korea, Hongkong, as we share our experiences in hiring in our respective countries- to a bunch of associates from Australia and New Zealand.

Over the last few days, I have been trying to speak to as many experts as possible- HR Heads of MNCs -who have been hiring globally-and especially so in the Asia Pac, get a feel of what they think are the challenges specific to India. Here are some of the insights!!

- India has been on a high growth model-and so the execution models are different!! The volumes of hiring, and the modus operandi is an unique 'source mix' relevant to India.

  • entry level almost accounts for 10-40% of the hiring in most industries. While campus hiring is in bulk, the walk-in are novel way to ramp up numbers over the weekends. I recall a company in Mumbai even resorting to 'a mobile bus carrying interview panel' to reach potential candidates at their bus stop :-)!!
  • while the contingency hiring model has increased over the past few years, they still aren't as popular in India. There is a sense of lesser respect for 'contractual' employees as of now, and with a large number of MNC employers in the fray, most aspirants would prefer a 'permanent ' hire on most days!
  • Experienced hiring is a mechanism where most corporates are focused on-to keep the cost of hiring in control. Most companies in India have a strong 'staffing department' -and so, most companies hire about 60 to 70 % of their hires -directly or thru internal referrals. ie only 30-40% of hires happen thru recruitment firms (abroad the figure could go up to 60%!)
  • Leadership hiring is perhaps an area of concern for most Indian corporates- especially as they seem to be looking for organic and inorganic growth at rates historically unmatched-as there isn’t enough pipeline of senior management talent available within the company. Here the demand has been primarily for persons of international experience- like returning Indians and expats. And this sector is typically an area where executive search consultants have had a significance role to play with.
  • Yes- the percentage of offer to joinee ratio seen in India presently..is very unique with most good candidates walking around with multiple offers –and being wooed at different stages by competition –and even counter offers by present employers as part of exit interviews!!The areas where things could change in future?

-With the increased war for talent, will the Indian hiring stop looking at a proven track record/penchant for domain expertise, and start hiring professionals with cross competencies? Some one who can transplant competencies across industries?
- With the plethora of colleges churning out generations of engineers –who are not as employable as the industry wants, are we going to see more finishing schools? There is a big chunk of freshers who aren’t ready to be absorbed- but with a short term ‘polish’ can perhaps be converted into ‘Just in time inventory’?
-Companies would have to implement ‘talent management systems’ and use technology to manage not just resumes –as of now, but also candidates, offer management, and on board management.
Well, as they say, when the going gets tough..the tough get going! Exciting times are in store for recruiters-as they gear up and adapt new skills to add value to their stakeholders.

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