Get Set

We have one of the largest population of S&T manpower. Try recruiting one, more often than not, you may have to settle for a second grader.

The flip side of the picture is equally puzzling. The employment scenario is not rosy, yet we loose technical people, the HR Division needs to work extra time to maintain an equilibrium in a company.

The reasons behind the two apparently contradictory situations are not far to seek. Good training institutions are not many. Therefore, the stock and flow of first rate professionals are limited and they are hooked early in the career either in India or abroad. While good professionals play musical chairs, in India only semi-skilled professionals are available for fresh recruitment.

Apart from marketing their products and services for a respectable bottom-line, corporate today have to present themselves well to attract talents in order to maintain competitive edge over their rival enterprises. The most difficult task, however, is to retain the brains. This is true for all organizations _ private, public irrespective.

Today, a jungle raj prevails in the IT manpower market. A good professional gets a significant pay hike every time he changes his job. The organization loses _ time over-run and consequently cost over-run on projects. Besides, the organization forfeits the up-front investment made in grooming a person to be productive in the particular corporate environment. The person takes with him the experience and corporate intelligence, which may be used to the detriment of the company he served earlier. The history is repeated again in the new location.

The situation might enable the individuals to rise in the pecking order, but it does not help an employer. Why put the blame squarely on the employees? The employers are usually the least concerned about the mental and physical welfare of the employees in the short or long range. Introduction of a regular mechanism for knowledge enrichment is out of the agenda _ according to them, the time is better spent if the employees could write few extra lines of codes. Baits like stock option holiday abroad and so on have lost the charm as almost all companies now offer these. It is time that the corporate entities get together and find a more lasting solution to the problem.

This, however, is easier said than done. The small companies and Internet start-ups organize a team of talents for high valuation of intellectual assets, and wait for an angel to take over. These fly-by-night operators cannot be disciplined.

The large multinationals have not come to India for love. No wonder they poach talents from other companies. It is not that this set of companies offer better work environment, challenging assignments or technology edge. They have the glitter (All that ……..!). They may be paying more in terms of Indian rupees (pittance considering what they would have to pay in their own countries). They are here to make money and not to do what is good for India. They are not amenable to reason on Indian soil.

That leaves the medium to large Indian companies. They have the capability and the intention to stay in business. They should be able to organize themselves into a group, evolve and enforce a code of conduct for themselves and for their employees to contain the movement of professionals within limits.

Have you observed how the multinational giants captured the Indian soft drink market and divided it among them? The lesson is wide and clear!

— A. Lahiri

Information Today & Tomorrow, Vol. 19, No. 2, June 2000, p.1-p.2