These are interesting times for career seekers in finance. You can join a course sponsored by a major company, which will interview you after your studies; or you can also choose to slog and earn an MBA or a chartered accountant’s tag. The banking and financial services industry (BFSI) in India is beckoning people at all levels.
India’s economy is growing at more than 9 per cent. Irrespective of the specific industries helping that growth, there would always be money connecting people in each of those industries. Banks, mutual funds, stock brokers, investment banks, venture capitalists and insurers help the money flow in the form of savings, loans and investments. And, as the economy grows, these segments of BFSI are also throwing up jobs of all types — in large numbers.
The fast-growing Reliance Capital, for one, has announced plans to recruit 39,000 people in two years. That is almost as many as Tata Steel employs in all of India. The ICICI Bank group, too, is likely to hire 20,000 people this year. Even smaller entities are hiring with zeal. HDFC Bank is adding 4,000 people. Tata AIG Life Insurance is planning to grow to 11,000 people from 3,600 at present — with 5,500 of the new people in front-end sales jobs. In fact, just the life insurance companies are adding almost a lakh. One estimate says that the whole segment’s top four brands are likely to add 75,000 jobs this year.
Vasant Sanzgiri, senior vice-president (HR) at Prudential-ICICI Asset Management Company, says: “Banks and mutual funds are today tying up with management institutes and colleges to offer job-oriented finance courses.”
Many of the companies need that ready-for-the-job supply of people urgently. That’s because some of the country’s top brands — ICICI, HDFC, Tata and Reliance among them — are expanding their finance business. At the same time, many large foreign brands such as Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and First Mellon are increasing their India business.
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This demand has pushed up the churn. The average number of people in the industry who quit (as a percentage of the total staff strength) is at a high of 35-40 per cent. Some of the better brands manage to keep the rate low. Even then, it is at 17-18 per cent for the likes of HDFC Bank. So once you get in, the companies would do a lot to keep you back.
Swayam Sen, deputy vice-president (HR) at HDFC Bank, says: “We are keen on diversity and are even hiring from other industries.” So even if you have started out in a different industry, selling something else, you can shift to selling loans and insurance if you so desire. Ashok Ramachandran, senior vice-president at Tata AIG Life, says, “The sector is now a melting pot of different cultures. We are seeing a lot of people from consumer durables or FMCG background coming into finance.”
What is the top end of this market?
K Sudarshan, managing partner at EMA Partners, says: “Analysts at top brokerages would make something like Rs 20 lakh a year, along with another
Rs 35-40 lakh in bonuses.” But to qualify for that, you need to be a top management graduate with three to fours years’ experience. When you enter BFSI at the age of 25 as a graduate, with possibly a diploma in finance, a Rs 2-2.5-lakh annual packet is what you can easily expect. Sanzgiri says: “More than salaries, employees are appreciating alternative forms of acknowledgement, which are usually tied to performance incentive pays, awards, and fun time!”