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APRIL 22, 2007
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Mobile Security
Today, it is all about information and how the right information is sent to the right people at the right time and right place. Uncertainty about how to secure mobile phones in the face of increasing threats is slowing individual adoption of mobile applications. There are many facets of mobile security, including network intrusion, mobile viruses, spam and mobile phishing. Analysts expect big telecom companies to develop security solutions on various security platforms.

Rough Ride
These are competitive times for the Indian aviation industry. As salaries zoom, players are scrambling to find profits. Even the state-owned Indian is now seeking young airhostesses to take on the competition. It is planning to introduce a voluntary retirement scheme for airhostesses above 40 years. On an average, they draw a salary of Rs 5 lakh a year. The salaries of pilots, too, are soaring. According to industry estimates, the country needs over 3,000 pilots over the next five years.
More Net Specials

Business Today,  April 8, 2007

Riding The Surf
The 3rd quarterly Business Today-TeamLease Employment Outlook Survey shows that the bullish scenario of the previous two quarters remains intact.


Building Careers
Help, Tarun!

If the job outlook forecast is any indication, the Indian economy will not be slowing down anytime soon. Sure, quarter-on-quarter, the net employment outlook may not have shown any dramatic rise, but the bottomline is: India's employment bazaar is humming-with net employment outlook (calculated as the difference between the proportion of respondents reporting an increase in their hiring and those expecting a decline, expressed as a percentage) standing at 82 per cent, up one percentage point over the last two quarters.

Spread across eight cities-Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad-the survey drew responses from 490 companies. While there wasn't much change in the survey results for the third quarter compared to the second quarter, a few trends did come to notice. It's continuing tough luck for people living in tier-II cities as opposed to their brethren in metro and class I cities; an overwhelming 95 per cent of the respondents reiterating their intention to hire from metro and class I cities-a marginal drop of one percentage point from the previous quarter's 96 per cent.

It's Still Raining Jobs

Gone are the days when one had to grin and bear it until one found an alternative. Jobs are being created across the entire spectrum of the economy. And by all accounts, it is not a fad for the season but a trend that's gathering momentum. Of course, the prima donna sectors remain the same as in the second quarter-IT, ITEs, financial services, retail, media and FMCG, infrastructure and manufacture and engineering. Retail has notched up an impressive gain of 8 per cent over the second quarter. Says R. Subramanian, MD, Subhiksha: "It's not at all surprising. If you just add up the expansion plans that each player has announced in the retail sector, the hiring needs of the industry become very obvious. Media, too, has come up in a major way, with a lot of focus on digital media, the introduction of CAS and DTH and also the boom in internet media with IPTV."

IT and ITEs, on the other hand, have actually declined by 2 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively. But even so, the numbers for it and ITEs are cumulatively still the highest-which means the decline is just a temporary blip on the radar. "We have tapped may be 5 per cent of the potential addressable market in India and we believe that the momentum will continue going forward," says T.V. Mohandas Pai, Director, HR, at Infosys Technologies. In fact, both Infosys and Wipro each expect to add another 20,000 people to their payrolls in the current quarter.

Infrastructure is another sector that is expected to see a rise in employment numbers; 78 per cent of the respondents in this sector reported an increase in their hiring needs over the current quarter compared to 71 per cent in the previous quarter. "The business confidence looks positive. The retail industry boom is resulting in both Indian companies and MNCs entering into textile, infrastructure and the realty sectors. This is a reflection of opportunities and growth for companies across the country at both the macro and micro levels," observes Sampath Shetty, Vice President, Permanent Staffing, TeamLease Services.

Talk of the Towns

So where does one work? Mumbai remains a favourite, with more companies there announcing their intention to hire people this quarter compared to the last-93 per cent against 90 per cent. Bangalore, which was the joint topper with the country's commercial capital in the last survey, inches ahead this time-with 94 per cent of the respondents reporting an increase in their hiring needs. But the major surprise this time has come from Chennai-a power surge of 19 percentage points propels it to joint second with Mumbai at 93 per cent. "Apart from the traditional manufacturing segments-leather and textiles-the city's it and ITEs sectors are also growing faster than the national average in terms of manpower recruitment. The telecom and electronics sectors are also fuelling the demand for human resources," informs K. Pandia Rajan, Managing Director and CEO, Ma Foi Consultants.

Indeed, with Rs 15,000 crore of big ticket private sector investments in the telecom and auto sectors already announced and 35 million square feet of space needed for the burgeoning it and ITEs sector by 2010-which will absorb 4 lakh people-the city is on a roll. "Add to that the 10-12 integrated townships and the 18 malls that are on the anvil and Chennai could well emerge as an industrial El Dorado of the decade," says A. Shankar, Deputy GM, Trammell Crow Meghraj.

Adds Yashovardhan Verma, Director (HR), LG Electronics India: "What also goes in Chennai's favour is that salary levels there are lower than those of even Pune (a class I city). And though the skill sets are a bit lacking, the people are hardworking."

Also to be noted is that while companies are going big on recruitment, they want more full-time workers and are gradually chucking out the part-time system.

The Business Today-Teamlease Employment outlook survey, which follows a rigorous, statistically validated process adhering to the highest standards in market research, was conducted among 490 companies selected from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy database, from NASSCOM for it companies and from companies registered with the website of for ITEs companies. A combination of database and random sampling as a technique has been used. Care was taken to ensure a good mix of large, medium and small companies as also an equitable representation across industries to remove any bias or variation that might be attributable to a particular industry. The target respondents at these companies were the hr heads or decision makers in the hiring process. The questionnaire used for the survey collated information on overall business improvement (last three months and next three months); overall recruitment needs (last three months and next three months) and recruitment trends (across age, geographies, cities, functions and levels). A total of 490 interviews were conducted during August and September over telephone and responses obtained were coded at the time of data collection. The information was then analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences software, which is used by research and consulting companies worldwide. Given the concentration of companies in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and Ahmedabad, the study was restricted only to companies with a presence in these cities. A random sampling was drawn from each city with due weightage to size. Two indices, The Employment Outlook Index and the Business Outlook Index were computed to elaborate and analyse the trends that emerged from the data.

Sourcing Pockets

Big is better-so seems to be the mantra of the surveyed companies, which reiterated their intention to largely recruit from metros and class I cities. "The larger cities have a sizeable placeable population whose aspirations are manageable. Their skill sets are synchronised to the needs of the recruiters and they also understand the culture of the city where these companies operate," observes Venkatesh Shastry, Partner, Stanton Chase Consultants, a leading executive search firm. Agrees Kris Laxmikanth, CEO, The Headhunters, a Bangalore-based hr consultancy: "For both employers and recruits, larger cities are much better equipped in terms of schools, hospitals and entertainment, despite an apparent breakdown in infrastructure."

It's quite obvious that with the new sunrise sector of retail coming up in a big way, new entrants want people trained to handle operations from Day I and save themselves the trouble of investing in enhancing their skill sets. That, in turn, has the potential of creating a vicious merry-go-round wherein a person is willing to go job hopping at the drop of a larger penny. "The challenge for organisations will be to match the demand and supply of manpower to optimise their market share in this economy growth," feels Shetty of TeamLease.

However, Sanjay Jog, Head (HR), of Future Group, feels companies can't afford to ignore non-metros. "I don't agree that 95 per cent of employers expect to hire in metro and class I towns. The top eight cities are growing; but so are the smaller places. A lot of our hirings happen in places like Bhavnagar, Indore, Kolhapur, Ambala and Meerut; we have stores and outlets in all those towns; so naturally, we hire people from there," he points out.

Three Degrees of Separation

Among the junior, middle and senior management levels, a majority of the respondents confirmed that they will be continuing with the previous quarter's trend of having the highest intake at the junior and middle management levels. While 93 per cent of the companies surveyed said they will recruit entry-level employees-an increase of 6 percentage points over the second quarter-45 per cent confirmed an upswing in middle managerial levels, which will witness an increase of 10 percentage points over the last quarter. However, the downswing in senior level recruitment continues, with fewer respondents indicating any senior-level hirings this season. Again, most of these recruitments will be filled in the IT, ITEs and the retail sectors with media and FMCG following close behind.

Do What You Want to

While it and marketing continue to thrive as the favourites for job hunters, a surprise mover up the ladder is hr-and not surprisingly, given that managing human resources appears to be the biggest challenge confronting India Inc. today. "HR is only just about coming into its own, and it is only in the last few years that companies in India are realising the importance of HR," says Srivathsan S., Executive VP, Human Resources, Sony Television.

With rural markets now beckoning India Inc. in a big way, some people think jobs in the rural areas will see an increase. "There will be a sudden spurt in the employment outlook growth in the rural sector; the banking and financial services sector is making inroads into these markets. The BFSI, infrastructure, retail and manufacturing offer the maximum job opportunities and will lead the hiring spree, though it may not happen this quarter," says Shetty.

Another area that will see companies going in for big time recruitment, according to Verma of LG, is logistics and supply chain management; the retail sector is expected to lead this trend.

So How's Business?

The rising inflation rate may have affected business sentiment a wee bit. The survey shows a marginal drop in business confidence over the last quarter-but the outlook remains buoyant. And this despite the see-saw in the stock markets-last quarter, the expectation was that the BSE Sensex would touch 15,000, this time the bourses are struggling to maintain even 13k. However, an overwhelming 90 per cent of the companies say they expect an increase in business over the last quarter; the growth is led by the retail, media and FMCG sectors.

Infrastructure is another sector that is expected to do well, especially in Delhi, which is hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games. However, the IT and ITEs business outlook got a bit clouded following the imposition of the mat and the bringing of the ESOPs under the FBT, which will burden the employers.

Business' Favourites

Well, if you are looking for the bad news, fewer companies are enthused about Delhi as a business hub. This is not surprising when one considers the lack of business-friendly infrastructure and bureaucracy that creates more hurdles than it solves. Bangalore, once India's thriving Silicon Valley, has been seeing a steady erosion in its business confidence. And while Mumbai retains its top spot, it's Kolkata that wins the corporate confidence award, with an increase of 8 percentage points-and this despite the recent turmoil in Singur and Nandigram. "Minor hiccups cannot stop this upward movement. Despite recent political turmoil and tensions, the situation has not come to such a pass that one cannot get land for industry at all," feels Pawan Kumar Ruia, Chairman, Jessop & Company and Dunlop India.

But the concern in industry circles is not the political storm but the lack of a talent base. "Numbers are not a problem, quality is. The state needs to do much more to enhance the quality of people-both in terms of required competencies and skills-to meet the needs of the industry," suggests P.P. Sahoo, Executive Director (HR), Balmer Lawrie.

Chennai and Pune are the other two cities that get a bigger thumbs-up from companies this quarter as against the last time. "Across the many cities we operate in, we find Chennai to be among the best for business in terms of costs-both people costs and space costs. Also infrastructure, especially power, is much better here than in most other cities," adds Subramanian of Subhiksha. That means the larger metros need to get their act together fast or risk being left out in the race.

Building Careers
There's massive demand for civil engineers.

Gone are the days when civil engineers had to take it and other professional courses to improve their career prospects. Construction companies, realty developers and financial institutions funding PPP projects are hiring them in droves. Says Amitav Mundhra, Director, Simplex Infrastructure: "There has been a huge demand for civil engineers, architects and project engineers over the last two years; it's unprecedented. The trend will continue for another five to six years at least as all construction companies have large order books, often running to three to four times their present turnover." Vinod Singh, Senior General Manager (HR), Ambuja Realty says: "The opportunity for civil engineers is enormous. Our group alone recruited 100 engineers last year and we plan to hire 150-200 over the next one year." And salaries… they've gone up 100 per cent over the last two years, adds Mundhra.


WHO'S HIRING: Simplex Infrastructure, Ambuja Realty, DLF, Unitech, HDFC, Subhash Projects, HIDCO, among others.

WHO'RE THEY HIRING: BE & B.Tech (Civil), Diplomas in Civil Engineering, BE & B.Tech (Architect).

AT WHAT LEVELS: Freshers, mid-level engineers as well as chief engineers.

AT WHAT SALARIES: Rs 2-3.75 lakh p.a. at the entry level; Rs 5-12 lakh p.a. at middle levels; and Rs 18-50 lakh p.a. at the senior level.

HOW MANY WILL THEY HIRE: Given the hiring spree, there is demand for at 8,000-10,000 such pros per year.

Help, Tarun!

Q: I have just graduated with economics, which, I must confess, I didn't enjoy. I love writing though and would like to do a related course that would help me join the print media. Could you suggest some good courses?

There are several courses in journalism as well as post-graduate diplomas in media offered by universities and specialised communication institutes like Xavier's Insititue of Communication, Mumbai. These courses will enhance your prospects in the field of print media and probably provide a chance to explore other forms of media as well. You could also consider joining short-term writing workshops.

Q: I'm a 22-year-old BTech graduate in computer science from IP University. I've been inducted into networking through campus placements, I wish to become a software developer. Are there any courses I could join to enhance my prospects.

There are several post-graduate courses in networking conducted by reputed computer training institutes. You could do a short-term course in the latest programming languages. These short-term certifications along with your current qualification should be good enough to help you get a foothold in a software development company.

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.

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..