I am a 34-year-old MBA from an IIM with 10 years of experience in
marketing in the FMCG sector. I was laid off several months ago
and I am finding it difficult to land a good job. My friends have
been telling me to consider working in fields other than marketing.
What do you suggest?
Your not being able to land a job seems more related to your own
hang-ups than to any scarcity of jobs. You need to be a little more
flexible and look at other industries like durables, chemicals,
computer hardware, retailing, advertising, and market research.
Look at sales and customer service jobs, apart from marketing. You
are likely to find a job you like in one of these, keeping you closer
to the FMCG sector rather than changing your field completely.
I am a 27-year-old hr professional employed
with a multinational engineering company. I have recently been through
a rough patch on the personal front-my marriage broke up and there
was a death in the family. As a result, I have not been able to
concentrate properly on my work for the past six months. This has
taken me off the good books of my bosses. Till recently, everyone
in the organisation used to appreciate my efficiency. Do you think
it will help if I speak to my boss and promise to be my old, hardworking
You need to get over your personal problems.
Start by introspecting about what you are doing to help yourself.
In case you need counselling or help, avail some, but it is time
you came back to reality and started concentrating on your work.
You must understand that people will be compassionate and understanding
only up to a point. You seem to demand this as your right. You could
talk to your boss, apologise, and say you are going to turn around
and be your old, hard-working self. You could offer to speak to
the MD and take responsibility for the department's slack performance.
This would definitely make your boss feel better and he is likely
to give you another chance. All of us have bad times, it's how we
handle them and move forward that separates the failed from the
I am a 32-year-old management consultant.
I was laid off a month ago after my company merged with another
consulting firm. I have an engineering/MBA background with experience
in operations consulting. However, there seem to be very limited
opportunities for consultants like me given the tight job market.
Most prospective employees only want consultants with an infotech
background. What should I do? Would some re-skilling help?
I think you need to look for a job in a different
area. The market for consultants is not very hot at the moment.
Depending on the kind of consulting projects you have done, you
could move into logistics, engineering, projects or even manufacturing.
You could also try for a job in the systems departments of professional/financial
services companies. It would help if you could, simultaneously,
pursue a part-time course on any of the above, particularly logistics
I was till recently employed as a systems
director in a private financial institution. However, my company
laid me off. This despite the fact that I was the oldest of the
five directors reporting to the CIO, and had the best track record.
I am finding it very difficult now, at the age of 57, to find another
job at the same level that would suit my experience and expertise.
You are close to 60, which gives you little
room for manoeuvre. In the systems area, the average age of the
employee has been going down world wide. There is also a perception,
incorrect as it might be, that younger age means being a little
more 'with it' in terms of technology. You need to reconcile to
this trend in the job market. You should look for smaller private
companies or entrepreneurial firms that will value your experience
and give you the kind of employment you seek. You need to look out
for ads about similar positions as well as part-time consulting
assignments. Logically, all you are looking for is three years of
employment before you hit the retirement age. I hope you have negotiated
a good severance/retirement package from your company. That should
also stand you in good stead.
Answers to your career concerns are contributed
by Tarun Sheth (Senior Consultant) and Shilpa Sheth (Managing
Partner) of HR firm, Shilputsi Consultants. Write to Help,Tarun!
c/o Business Today, Videocon Tower, Fifth Floor, E-1, Jhandewalan
Extn., New Delhi-110055.
"Transparency In Compensation
With fresh debates raging on CEO and board
compensations, issues like CEO performance and transparency are
back in the buzz. P. Dwarakanath,
Director (hr & Administration), GSK Consumer, spoke to BT's
for executive and non-executive directors in his company.
What is your company's policy regarding
We offer a fair, equitable, and competitive
compensation to attract and retain the best talent.
How do you determine the salary and benefits
of the board of directors?
The remuneration committee takes into account
cost of living, market standards and performance.
Does it compare with global standards?
Yes it does. However, a direct dollar comparison
would be unfair.
What skills do you look for in a director
on the company board?
We look at their leadership and people skills.
We also factor in their commercial acumen and appreciation of a
What are the corporate governance issues
that your company lays stress on?
Our organisation had a robust corporate governance
code in place even before it was mandated in India. Transparency
and openness are key issues for us. For an executive director, the
motivation derived from the prestige associated with being on the
company's board is far greater than any cash compensation.
Should The Directors Get?
first milestone in corporate governance in India was the report
of the committee appointed by the SEBI under the chairmanship of
Kumar Mangalam Birla in 1999.
Among several important aspects of corporate
governance that the committee looked at were the composition, role,
and remuneration of the board of directors. Though it clearly defined
the first two, the compensation aspect was not dealt with in detail.
Its recommendation was for setting up a remuneration committee to
determine compensation of directors, recognising that the remuneration
package should be good enough to attract, retain, and motivate people
of a high calibre, but not more than necessary for the purpose.
A disclosure of the remuneration package in the corporate governance
section of the annual report was also recommended. However, the
particulars of what factors should determine the compensation of
the board members were not dealt with.
Most (good) companies in India comply with
the SEBI recommendations and disclose details of the compensation
package their directors get. But there's still a huge gulf between
Indian and global practices. "The board pay should be a combination
of salary, bonus, restricted stock grant, stock options, and unit
share payments," says Poonam Barua, Regional Director, The
Conference Board, India, "and long-term performance of the
board should be a key factor in determining pay, which is rarely
the case for companies in India."
But some companies like Infosys are making
an effort to set things straight. "Payments to the directors
are often restricted by the Companies Act," points out Atul
Vohra, Senior Partner, Heidrick & Struggles, "though there
certainly is a need for better emoluments."
As awareness of the need for better governance
increases, things will hopefully fall in place.