| Suresh Raju
DESIGNATION: Warehouse in-charge
COMPANY: Awalgulf Manufacturing, Bahrain
DESIGNATION: Senior Engineer
COMPANY: Symphony Services
PERCENTAGE INCREASE IN SALARY: 50 per cent
Mallya, 41, worked with State Bank of India (SBI) for 13 years,
before he decided to quit. He was bored of his routine and was
looking for better career prospects. He joined HCL Technologies,
an IT company. "At SBI, I saw first hand the value that it
could add to a business; and it was the chance to work in the
global financial services market that drew me to HCL," says
Mallya, who is the head of HCL's Banking Services unit. He is
not the only one. The information technology industry is hiring
hundreds of domain specialists (typically, veterans in a particular
industry) from diverse fields such as banking, manufacturing services,
retail and telecom to add depth to and leverage their experience
in specific verticals.
"We aggressively hire executives with
15-20 years experience from Old Economy companies since they have
strong experience in their respective industries and are able
to manage significant businesses independently," says D.K.
Srivastava, Senior Vice President, HR, at HCL Technologies. He
adds that mid-ranking officers (Deputy General Managers, General
Managers and Chief General Managers) in public sector banks, who
are often stuck in bureaucratic jobs with limited mobility and
average pay, make ideal candidates for companies such as his.
The pay is invariably much higher, by between 50-300 per cent.
HCL's Mallya, for instance, claims that his pay increased 250
per cent when he made the switch to it. The other big draw is
the operational freedom they get. "Recruits at this level
are placed in charge of business units or are put in customer-facing
marketing positions since they understand the business well,"
says Srivastava. How do it companies deal with their lack of technical
skills? "We put them through an intensive two-month training
programme to bring them up to scratch with our standards,"
says Srivastava. Vendors such as HCL are not the only it services
companies hiring mid-career domain experts. Companies such as
Infosys are also aggressively hiring such industry specialists,
especially, bankers. Both Infosys and its cross-town rival Wipro,
incidentally, declined to comment on this trend.
"Domain specialists with 10-15 years
experience are typically hired by enterprise software companies
(like sap or Oracle) which require their skills for industry-specific
implementations or by application providers (like Infosys and
Wipro) which need their expertise to translate banking jargon
into a language coders can understand," says Anish Singh,
CEO of Techbridge Networks, a Bangalore-based staffing outsourcing
solutions company. The roles these industry experts undertake
are significantly different in an IT company, compared to their
functional Old Economy jobs (a bank employee working at the teller
for example), he adds. "Someone from a manufacturing company
could be sent to a factory or plant by an ERP (enterprise resource
planning) vendor to understand the business and how it can be
used to enhance efficiency and productivity at the factory or
work site. These are nuances that an engineer or a marketing person
may miss while they plan or estimate a project," Singh says.
| A Mid Career Switch
| WHO'S HIRING: SAP, Oracle, Infosys,
HCL Technologies and Cognizant, among others
WHO ARE THEY HIRING: Deputy General Managers (DGMs),
GMs, Chief GMs, etc, from public sector banks, manufacturing
companies, retailers, etc
FOR WHAT: To decipher business jargon, explain
sectoral nuances and head business units that involve client
AT WHAT SALARIES: Rs 14-16 lakh p.a. for DGMs,
Rs 15-18 lakh p.a. for GMs, Rs 18-20 lakh p.a. for CGMs;
for people lower down the hierarchy, starting salaries could
be 50-300 per cent higher than their last drawn salary
WHAT'S THE TOTAL DEMAND LIKE: Exact figures are
not available, but industry executives and HR consultants
reckon that such hires could constitute 5-10 per cent of
new hires this year. That's a total of about 5,000-10,000
Arun Samak, 37, an accountant, leveraged his
skills in planning and estimation to switch careers from retail
to it. He moved from the Indonesia-based Gajah Tunggal Group,
South East Asia's largest tyre manufacturer, where he worked for
five years in its retail division, to Tesco Hindustan, the UK
retailer's tech operations in Bangalore. At Tesco Hindustan, Samak
is in charge of identifying specific projects that can be offshored
to the Bangalore technology centre; he is also in charge of the
nuts and bolts of transferring these projects into India. "There
are several accounting skills, like budgeting, costing and estimation,
that I continue to use even after I switched to the IT industry,"
Career growth and money are the two most
persistent reasons for Old Economy veterans making the switch,
but they aren't the only motives. "I worked with Procter
& Gamble in Europe for nearly a decade. There's only so much
you can do in a mature market growing at only a couple of percentage
points annually. I longed for the buzz and excitement of working
in a hot-growth environment. The promise of something dramatically
new and different drew me to the it industry," says Sandilya
Gopalan, 39, Consulting Director, Retail & Manufacturing Practice,
Cognizant Technology Solutions, who has worked extensively across
Europe in the consumer goods market, where he gained experience
in finance, supply chain and operations management. "Here,
we (his team of domain specialists) are considered an asset, and
not an expense item in the P&L Account. We have the necessary
resources and support systems to deploy our domain expertise in
client engagements," he adds.
| Vijay Mallya
DESIGNATION: Project Officer, Computer and IT
COMPANY: State Bank of India
DESIGNATION: General Manager
COMPANY: HCL Technologies
PERCENTAGE INCREASE IN SALARY: 250 per cent
Opportunities exist for relatively junior
domain specialists as well. Suresh Raju, 33, a Senior Engineer
at Symphony Services, has nine years experience in the manufacturing
industry, including a stint at Titan Industries. "The chance
to translate learnings from the shop floor at Titan to the glass
and steel offices of Symphony, an it services and solutions firm,
was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. I now help develop software
for one of the world's largest ERP vendors. My earlier hands-on
experience comes in very useful in understanding the specific
requirements of individual factories or manufacturing sites,"
says Raju, who, by virtue of being an engineer, was not a complete
stranger to the world of it.
The best part, from the recruiter's point
of view, is that most of these Old Economy hands still retain
some of their Old Economy values; they are stayers, unlikely to
jump ship for a few thousand rupees more. "I'm in Tesco for
the long haul since I have a well-defined growth path and the
company is just rolling out its India plan," says Samak.
Mallya of HCL echoes this sentiment. "The it industry is
not just for the geeks. There are huge opportunities for non-technical
people who are able to establish themselves within a company or
a business. My career has progressed rapidly and I don't see myself
leaving HCL in the foreseeable future," he says.
And that means less competition for other
domain specialists who are planning to make the switch.
Q: I am an electronics engineer with nearly two years experience
in a KPO and the training industry. I want to study further, but
not in the technical field, and also change my job. I am keen
on pursuing an MBA (Finance) or exploring the field of computers.
An MBA (Finance) would take you into the financial and management
world while a further degree in computers may take you into the
technical world. As you have worked in a KPO, ask some technical
people what it takes to be successful. Also, ask those who have
taken the MBA route and see what their job entails. Then superimpose
your interests and aptitude and decide what's best for you.
Q: I have 35 years of experience in the
textile industry. I have handled the materials management, supply
chain management and the procurement division of some of the biggest
textile companies in the country. Though I retired two years ago,
I want to utilise the experience I have.
A good option is to go back as a part-time
or full-time consultant in the textile industry. There may be
smaller firms happy to take you on as a part-time consultant.
Also, look at the apparel industry or the dyes industry or any
other industry connected to the textile sector for openings.
Answers to your career concerns are contributed
by Tarun Sheth (Senior Consultant) and Shilpa Sheth (Managing
Partner, US practice) of HR firm, Shilputsi Consultants. Write
to Help,Tarun! c/o Business Today, Videocon Tower, Fifth Floor,
E-1, Jhandewalan Extn., New Delhi-110055..
India Inc is facing a shortage of personnel
in some sectors, but there's no let up in hiring.
Two recent studies-one
conducted by Manpower all over the world and the other produced
by the Tamil Nadu chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industry-point
to a massive manpower crunch in the country. The latter study
reveals that as many as 50 per cent of the 140,000 engineering
graduates and diploma holders who pass out of institutions in
Tamil Nadu don't find suitable employment within one year; this
figure declines to 40 per cent at the end of the second year.
"The issue is one of 'employability levels'," says the study.
"This shortfall will last 3-4 years. But things will change as
industry develops linkages with educational institutions," says
E. Balaji, COO, Ma Foi Consultants, a leading executive search
firm. But the good news: of the 25 countries covered in the Manpower
survey, the employment outlook for the third quarter of 2006 is
strongest in India.