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FEB. 11, 2007
 Cover Story
 BT Special
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Taxing Times
The phase-out of central sales tax is yet another move towards ushering in the national goods and services tax (GST). The compensation to the states, in lieu of CST phase-out, will include revenue proceeds from 33 services currently being taxed by the Centre as well as 44 new services of an intra-state nature that will be traded by the states. However, VAT is the way forward, though much needs to be done to iron out the anomalies in the current VAT regime.

India, Ahoy!
Indian investments overseas are growing and how. For instance, total Indian investment in Latin America and the Caribbean has topped $3 billion (Rs 13,500 crore) so far. The latest investment is by ONGC Videsh, which acquired an oilfield in Colombia for $425 million (Rs 1,912.5 crore). Earlier, ONGC bought an offshore oilfield in Brazil for $410 million (Rs 1,845 crore).
More Net Specials
Business Today,  January 28, 2007
Get Set for a New Beginning
The sunrise sectors are sucking in people from other industries. You, too, can cash in on this boom.

“Every time you take up a challenging role in an organisation, you lend yourself to reskilling"
Susil Dungarwal
Head, Retail (Mall Business)/ Prestige Group

Help, Tarun!
Hotels Beckon
His business card says he's Head, Retail (Mall Business) at the Prestige Group, a Bangalore-based construction conglomerate. Susil Dungarwal got there through a very circuitous route. And along the way, he has picked up diverse skills. When he switched from the sales department to production in his first job at Saint Mark, a shirt maker, he taught himself how to stitch shirts "to get the feel of the production process that I was expected to manage and refine". That experience also gave Dungarwal a profound insight: you can gain confidence and impart momentum to your career by learning new skills.

"Every time you take up a challenging role in an organisation, you lend yourself to reskilling," says Dungarwal, who now sources properties for shopping malls and looks after their operation and management, a far cry from stitching shirts or managing a retail operation, as he did at the The Loot, a discount store. When he joined Prestige Group, he kept in mind the learnings from the retail industry, but also trained himself to understand the jargon of the construction industry and learnt to read layout plans.

Dungarwal is not alone. As the boom in several sunrise sectors-like retail, real estate, insurance, it-enabled services (ITEs) and airlines, among others-creates thousands of new jobs, they are sucking in people from other industries. Result: professionals making the switch are having to go through an often painful process of reskilling while they learn the nuances of their new jobs.

"The job market is seeing a growing number of people joining industries in which they have never worked before. In the last 10 years, senior-level hiring from unrelated industries has grown from just 5 per cent to about 30-35 per cent now; this is expected to touch 50 per cent by 2010. Obviously, the first challenge these 'cross-overs' face is to learn about their new industries, reorient their skills and experience, and reskill themselves," says Ronesh Puri, Managing Director, Executive Access, an executive search firm. This trend, of people moving across industries, is equally evident in middle-level and junior-level recruitments as well.

“We look for people with the right attitude"
Sanjay Jog
Head (HR)/ Pantaloon Retail

“We have to reskill most of the new recruits as they comefrom diverse backgrounds"
B.A. Srinivas
Director/ Viveks

Says Samyukth Sridharan, Principal Sales and Marketing Officer, Deccan Aviation, who worked in Coca-Cola India and ING Vysya before joining the low-cost airline: "There are some similarities between selling tickets and selling consumer goods." But such similarities were only so much help. He had to quickly grasp the dynamics of the aviation market and focus not just on ticket sales, but also on building the image of Air Deccan. "Given the rapid growth of the market, learning on the go is the only way to keep pace," he adds. One of the key drivers of Air Deccan's rapid growth has been its ability to attract people from other industries and then train them to suit the needs of the low-cost aviation industry, says Ujjal Gangopadhyay, Chief People Enhancer, Deccan Aviation. For example, the airline has been poaching sales and marketing staff from telecom services companies and has also drawn talent from the hospitality industry.

"The general shortage of skilled manpower, especially in the sunrise sectors, and the growing competition between companies for human resources means that reskilling is increasingly becoming a critical factor to corporate-and individual-survival. For example, it has become imperative for organised retail and the ITEs-BPO industries to have their employees learn and unlearn skills in line with the needs of their employers," says Sampath Shetty, Vice President, TeamLease Services, a staffing firm.

Crossover Checklist
Issues you should keep in mind when planning a switch.
» Can you leverage similarities with your existing industry?
» You will have to put in long hours and lots of formal and informal studies
» Are your existing skill sets fungible?
» You will have to learn on the go
» See if you can grasp the functional areas of your new job

Anjali Bansal, Consultant, Spencer Stuart, a Mumbai-based executive search firm, explains the dynamics of crossing over and reskilling: "To begin with, an industry that's relatively new or is scaling up fast looks at its 'neighbours'-sectors with similar human resource requirements-for talent and gradually builds its own training programmes for fresh and lateral recruits. When the government opened up insurance, private companies were faced with a manpower vacuum. So, they looked at the banking industry and the FMCG sector for their talent needs," she says.

The same trend was seen in the telecom industry when it was opened up to the private sector. Bansal says a lot of lateral hiring across industries and subsequent learning is predicated on a person's general management skills rather than on his or her industry or domain knowledge. "What helps this process is some existing understanding of functional areas, such as marketing and finance. For example, marketing of consumer products is quite similar across industries and so, more marketing people tend to cross over to other industries," she says.

Sanjay Jog, Head of Human Resources, Pantaloon Retail, says his company has been tapping industries like manufacturing for talent in supply chain management. "In the case of lateral hires from other industries, we obviously need culturally-suitable people-those who can deal with the uncertainties of the retail business. So, we look for people with the right attitude. But there is no training; we only conduct orientation programmes lasting two-to-four weeks," he says.

“At my level, learning took place in understanding the business”
Raghu Rajan
Deputy Vice President (Infrastructure)/Vertex Customer Services

The career graph of Raghu Rajan, Deputy Vice President (Infrastructure), Vertex Customer Services, the Gurgaon-based BPO, recently acquired by private equity investors led by Oak Hill, is an interesting example of this reorientation. A former Squadron Leader in the Indian Air Force, Rajan took early retirement in 2002 after 24 years of service and joined Vertex. "I went through a little bit of training and a fair bit of orientation in my first three months with the company. But at my level, the learning happened in terms of understanding the business, the business processes, and the project management competencies and not in terms of acquiring a particular set of skills," he says.

Ditto with V.K. Chandran, Branch Manager at Viveks, a Chennai-based retail chain. He worked as a medical representative with Glaxo Laboratories and later as a product manager at Tamil Nadu Dadha Pharmaceuticals (which later merged with Sun Pharma) before moving to Oman as Country Manager at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, and even tried his hand at entrepreneurship before joining his current employer. The change from the pharma sector to retail wasn't easy. He had to reorient himself as the retail sector involves direct, and daily, interactions with several customers, each with his/her unique demands; then, he had to learn to manage inventory of items that varied widely in value; and finally, he had to learn to manage huge crowds of customers, especially during festival seasons and on holidays. "If you work in the retail industry, you can work in any industry that has something to sell," he says. "We have to reskill most new recruits as they come from diverse backgrounds," adds B.A. Srinivas, Director, Viveks.

Executive Access' Puri says reskilling programmes vary from company to company, but "more and more companies are putting in place at least some kind of orientation and training programmes for their lateral recruits," he adds.

DLF, the Delhi-based real estate major, for example, has tied up with "a number of training schools" to train the people it is attracting from other industries. "That's in addition to the on-the-job training that these recruits receive," says a DLF executive. The company also incentivises reorientation and reskilling through bonuses.

So, even if you're not young anymore, you can still inject some steroids into your career by moving into one of these new sectors. The advantage: they don't yet have set hierarchies, and so, you can rise fast if you're good.
-additional reporting by Anusha Subramanian and Nitya Varadarajan

Help, Tarun!

Q: I am currently pursuing a PGDBM (finance and international business). What are the various job opportunities in the field of financial and business research? Also, do I need to undertake any other short-term course?

The CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) course could be useful if you want to do analytical work. This can be done simultaneously with your academics or job. As far as job opportunities go, how about the research cell of a financial services firm or a rating agency? You can also become a business or financial journalist. However, if you are talking of academic research, you need to pursue a PhD.

Q: I am a 21-year-old Psychology graduate interested in pursuing a management course. The problem is that I am a little confused about what to take up as a specialisation. Human Resource Development (HRD) seems an obvious choice. Please advise.

Don't limit yourself to any one area just because you are a Psychology graduate. The first year of any MBA programme is designed to give you an overview of different functions; pursue the one you feel comfortable with. Many B-schools allow you to have two or more majors. Marketing, Finance, Systems, International Business etc., are areas you can look at.

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..

Hotels Beckon
Careers in the hospitality sector can be rewarding.

The Indian hospitality sector, like several others, is booming. New hotels are coming up across the country every other day and existing ones are expanding capacity, but supply is just not keeping pace with demand. Result: there's a huge demand for manpower. Besides, the industry is also having to replace personnel who are being lured to other sectors. Says Ashwini Kakkar, President, TAAI (Travel Agents Association of India): "The key issue in the industry is that people are being poached by new industries such as aviation and healthcare." Thus, the demand for personnel is being driven both by players putting up new capacities as well as by those who are recruiting people to replace those who have left. This demand is visible across the hospitality value chain-from five-star to budget hotels. And given the rate at which it is expanding, the demand for manpower is outstripping supply by a wide margin. Result: a 30-35 per cent increase in compensation packages over the last one year.

WHO'S HIRING: Indian Hotels (Taj), East India Hotels (Oberoi), ITC Hotels and almost every other hotel chain in the country.

WHO'RE THEY HIRING: Industry veterans, MBAs, hotel management grads, architects, engineers and marketing pros from consumer goods companies.

AT WHAT LEVEL: Primarily at the middle management level; but some top- and junior-level recruitment is also taking place.

AT WHAT SALARIES: Rs 1.5-3 lakh for entry- and junior-level jobs; Rs 5-20 lakh at middle management levels; and Rs 18-50 lakh at senior levels; top-level recruitments, though rare, can command salaries of over Rs 1 crore a year.

AND THE NUMBERS: Industrywide figures aren't available, but given the hiring spree, there is demand for at least 10,000 pros across all levels.