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Agriculture is offering unlimited opportunities on the back of retail.

twitter-logoManu Kaushik | Print Edition: April 6, 2008

Opportunities are multiplying: Says Sanjay Jog, Head (HR), Pantaloon Retail
Sanjay Jog
It’s raining jobs for agriculture graduates in the country. A number of retail players are getting into packaged food, fresh produce, and dairy products. So, naturally they are making a beeline for various agricultural universities and specialised educational institutions to hire fresh graduates. Says Shiv Aggarwal, CEO, ABC Consultants: “Graduates with technical knowledge on agri-sourcing are the most preferred ones as retailers look to streamline the procurement of produce, ensure quality and have an efficient back-end.”

Fact box

Who’s hiring: Some of the more active recruiters are Reliance Fresh, Subhiksha, Wal-Mart, Spencer’s, Food Bazaar and Spinach.

Who’re they hiring: MBAs (Agri Business), Graduates and Postgraduates in Agriculture. Graduates in Science and related subjects and B.Techs in Agriculture Engineering are also in demand.

At what levels: At all levels. Junior, middle (with six or more years of experience), and senior level (10 or more years of work experience). However, there’s greater demand for entry level/senior executives.

At what salaries: Rs 4-6 lakh p.a. at junior levels; Rs 8-10 lakh p.a. at middle levels; and Rs 30-50 lakh p.a. plus perks and other benefits at senior levels.

What are the numbers like: The top 10 retailers have hired around 1,500 professionals over the last three to four years. The number is likely to grow 25-30 per cent per annum. 

“Over the last three years, job opportunities for people with an agricultural background have multiplied in this sector. Apart from knowing how to source commodities, the professionals are required to have a good understanding of category management. Given their technical background, they play an important role in ensuring an efficient back-end,” says Sanjay Jog, Head (HR), Pantaloon Retail, adding that salaries across levels have grown 2-3-fold over the last 3-4 years. “For freshers, annual packages have shot up from Rs 1.5-3 lakh in 2003-2004 to Rs 4-6 lakh now,” says Jog. The institutes and universities catering to this demand include Institute of Rural Management (Anand), Indian Institute of Plantation Management (Hyderabad), G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology (Pantnagar), and National Institute of Agriculture Marketing (Jaipur).

It is not that retailers are just picking up fresh graduates from universities and putting them straight into jobs. They are also training them to understand the functioning of local agri bodies, consolidators and farmer communities, thus, helping them align their classroom learning with the technical knowhow retailers have acquired from running operations.

Explains Jog: “The new recruits bring with them knowledge of the segments; retailers are training them to understand and integrate the backend with the front-end of retailing. Additionally, understanding price movements of commodities and the vagaries of the business are of utmost importance to them.”

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