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'Now, salaries won't be as absurdly high as before the slowdown'

T.V. Mohandas Pai, Director, HR, Infosys Technologies, tells that India Inc is hiring again, but that employees should be prepared for a slower growth in opportunities.

Kamya Jaiswal        Print Edition: November, 2009

T.V. Mohandas Pai
T.V. Mohandas Pai

T.V. Mohandas Pai, Director, HR, Infosys Technologies, tells that India Inc is hiring again, but that employees should be prepared for a slower growth in opportunities.

The buzz is that companies are hiring again. Will it resume the pace of the pre-slowdown era?
Most of the hiring is part of the preparation for the anticipated growth; it’s not merely to fill the gaps created by retrenchments. The fear among companies has gone down. India’s local economy worth about $1.2 trillion is generating demand and the deficit created by those retiring from the workforce has to be bridged. Therefore, job opportunities will be created. However, it should take the private sector another two to three years to start hiring in the same manner as it did before the slowdown. The public sector has been very active in picking up talent in the past year. For instance, SBI has recruited 30,000 people in the past few months.

Is there a reduction in the current pay packages compared with those before the slowdown?
Pay packages have definitely become more reasonable. No more will salaries hit the absurdly high levels of the pre-slowdown era. The economic slowdown was a reality check. Companies have realised that across all management levels, rewards must be linked to the value added by an employee to the organisation.

How is this trend reflected in the pay structures?
Variability is becoming critical to salary structures as it helps to link pay with performance. Today, the terms of engagement between an employer and an employee have become more balanced. Before the slowdown it was in favour of employees, who could demand very high prices. During the slowdown, employers had an upper hand, and now both have balanced negotiating powers. Even those who have been retrenched are not at a disadvantage because this is not viewed as a blemish in their resumes.

What are the prospects of finding an overseas job now?
The job market abroad should pick up in about a year. Of course, it will be slower for countries like the US, which is still grappling with the economic crisis. Those looking for overseas jobs should be aware that the West is likely to be more protectionist for a while.

The crisis in the job market reaffirmed the uncertainty inherent in private jobs. How can employees prepare for such situations?
This risk is the price to pay for a high-growth job. In a a competitive environment, some people lose, others win. The only way to remain on the winning side is to constantly upgrade one’s skills.

How should people enhance their skill sets? Should they focus on multi-tasking or specialising?
The scope for specialists is limited, though they are indispensable. Multi-tasking has become crucial in the current job market. If you can add value to the company in various ways, you are not likely to be the first to get the axe during job crises like the recent one.

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