Author, Speaker, Advisor, Global Goodwill Ambassador Startup, C-Suite and Business mentor who helps increase productivity profits, performance, communication, employee retention increase shareholder value
The Naukri JobSpeak index for Mar’17 at 2073 was 5% up from Mar’16, indicating an upsurge in the overall hiring scenario. BFSI gained the most during Mar’17 with a 26% increase in hiring as compared to Mar’16. Key industries like Construction and BPO/ITES saw a 9% growth, while IT-Software remained buoyant in Mar 2017 as compared to Mar 2016. Major metro cities recorded a YOY fall in Mar’17 as compared to Mar’16. Commenting on the report, Mr. V. Suresh, Chief Sales Officer, Naukri.com said, “Jobspeak index continues to move north with a 5% YOY growth in March 2017. Good to see sectors like Construction, Engineering & BFSI showing significant growth. Though there could be some short-term volatility, looks like the markets will gain momentum in the next few quarters.”
More Indians living in the US want a job back home after Mr. Donald Trump became the president of the world’s largest economy. The number of Indians in the US searching for jobs in India has gone up more than 10-fold between December and March, according to an analysis by consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Pvt. Ltd .There were approximately 600 US-based Indians seeking jobs in India in December 2016. By the end of March 2017, the number had gone up to approximately 7,000, Deloitte analysis said. This data comes amid a crackdown by the Trump administration on job visas for skilled workers, including software engineers from India. US Citizenship and Immigration Services said employers seeking H-1B work visas—a non-immigrant visa allowing American firms to employ foreign workers—for 2018 declined for the first time in five years. The surge in the number of applicants has been triggered by Mr. Trump’s vows to protect jobs for locals. As per reports Mr. Trump will take aim at information technology outsourcing companies when he orders a review of H-1B visa programmes to favour more skilled and highly paid applicants. Companies such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. and Mphasis Corp. as examples of outsourcing firms that would likely have fewer visas approved once the changes are adopted. The H-1B work visa programme channels thousands of foreign workers to the US technology industry. “While US companies will find some tech talent in the US, the numbers might be less than what are required to meet their needs. Add to that, the wages they need to pay to US employees will be much higher than what they pay to H-1B visa holders,” said Mr. C.K. Guruprasad, a consultant with executive search firm Spencer Stuart.
Yet another high-level executive has jumped ship from Uber. This time it’s Mr. Sherif Marakby, vice-president of global vehicle programs, who helped launch the company’s crucial (and embattled) self-driving car program. Mr. Marakby, who joined a year ago, in April 2016, said in a statement: “Self-driving is one of the most interesting challenges I’ve worked on in my career, and I’m grateful to have contributed to what will soon be a safer future for everyone.” Mr. Marakby is only the latest in a long line of executives to quit Uber in recent months, which is engulfed in multiple scandals, from allegations of a culture of sexism to a lawsuit brought against it by Google’s Waymo accusing it of stealing confidential information to use in its self-driving car program.
Former senior employees of e-commerce firm Snapdeal who were lured through attractive employee stock option plans (ESOPs) are a worried lot these days. Recently, founders, Mr. Kunal Bahl and Mr. Rohit Bansal in an e-mail, tried to assure the existing employees that the well-being of employees if their top and only priority. But, there is little clarity in terms of what happens to these employees or even the former employees ESOPs offered to them at the time of joining. ESOPs are benefit plans that are offered to employees in the form of stakes in the company. Employees can liquidate their ESOPs when the company goes for a buyback event. Usually, it happens either when a company raises a funding round or when it goes for an initial public offering. In the last couple of years, there have been multiple instances where ESOPs have been regarded to be game changers. Citrus Pay made multiple employees including one of its peon, millionaires when it got acquired by larger rival PayU last year. Around 47 employees at online payments and e-commerce firm Paytm were also able to sell off shares worth about Rs 100 crore to both internal and external buyers in the last couple of months, according to a media report. Unfortunately, Snapdeal is going through a moment of crisis. A potential takeover by Flipkart and the devaluation of the firm from a whopping USD 6.5 billion earlier to about USD 1 billion now, is likely to turn its employee’s stock options into just papers.
Reliance Industries has introduced a 12-week paid leave for ‘commissioning’ mothers who use surrogates to bear a child, as it adopted provisions of the new maternity law. “With effect from 1 April 2017 there will be extension of maternity leave to 26 weeks (182 calendar days), from 180 days, for regular employees,” RIL’s HR department said in a notice to company employees. A similar period of paid maternity leave will be provided for fixed term and trainee employees, up from current 84 days period. As per the new law, entitlement of maternity leave for third child onwards will be 12 weeks (84 calendar days). Also, RIL extended “adoption leave to 12 weeks, from 28 days, for a woman/single father colleague who adopts a child less than three months of age.” It introduced a 12-week leave for ‘commissioning mothers’, the notice said. Commissioning mothers are those who use surrogates to bear a child. The leave for such mothers is the same for working women adopting a baby below the age of three months. The 12-week period of maternity leave will be calculated from the date the child is handed over to the adoptive or commissioning mother. Parliament had last month passed new bill on maternity benefits for about 1.8 million women in the organised sector. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 applies to all establishments employing 10 or more people. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, protects the employment of women during the time of her maternity and entitles her full paid absence from work, to take care of her child.
ShopX, a digital offline platform that powers small retailers announced the appointment of Mr. Kirti Varun, from Amazon, as the Vice President of its Product Management function. Mr. Varun joins ShopX as Vice President of Product Management and will be a part of ShopX’s leadership team, the city-based company said in a statement here. He will work closely with co-founders Mr. Amit Sharma (CEO) and Mr. Apoorva Jois (COO) to help it to achieve its mission of organizing commerce in India through technology to make it accessible and valuable to everyone, it said. Prior to ShopX, Mr. Kirti was a Principal Product Manager with Amazon India, where he was responsible for building India-specific product innovations to improve key customer inputs such as Pricing, Inventory, Affordability and Selection, it said in a release. “This is an exciting time for ShopX as we are scaling up our retailer base rapidly with a sharp focus on unit economics and profitability. With our digital offline model, we have been able to offer a wide range of products across categories through our 45,000 plus retailer network,” ShopX CEO Mr. Amit Sharma said. Within 18 months of launch, ShopX has empowered 45,000 small retailers in 230 towns across 10 states in the South and West of India, serving more than 3 million customers, the company said. `The company aims to provide the 600-million middle-income population in India (as against the current 50 million active internet buyer base) access to e-commerce through its retailer network, it added.
India’s largest IT company Tata Consultancy Services’ (TCS) CEO Mr. Rajesh Gopinathan said that the company is unperturbed by the possible H-1B visa restrictions and it is willing to make “changes accordingly.” Speaking to investors at its post-earnings press conference, Mr Gopinathan said the current discourse on the H-1B issue is driven by emotions rather than economy and the best way to tackle it is through greater engagement. Responding to questions on a potential executive order or legislations being talked about lawmakers, Mr Gopinathan asserted that there is no law currently in the US that is discriminatory. The comments come at a time when US President Mr. Donald Trump is set to sign an executive order that seeks to closely regulate the process of issuing the H-1B visas, a move which has created concerns for Indian IT outsourcers who rely on highly skilled Indian IT employees to run their foreign operations. US – the company’s largest market – has been a “very welcoming” for the IT major and has provided it with a fair, open and competitive environment, Mr Gopinathan said. Shrugging of fears of prosecution by US officials, Mr Gopinathan said, “TCS has been complaint with directives by a regime and continue to remain so.” Mr Gopinathan, who succeeded Mr. N Chandrasekaran as the CEO in January, said that the company has been hiring local hands to support operation in the US and has been increasing hiring locally for a few years now. TCS’ main rival Infosys which reported its earnings on April 14 had also said it would focus more on local hiring in the US and is also looking at setting up development and training centres in the country as part of its efforts to tide over visa-related issues.
Months after Mr. NR Krishnamurthy advised Infosys Board to refrain from hefty pay for the top executives, the IT Company has been dragged to an arbitral tribunal by its former CFO Mr. Rajiv Bansal over promised severance package. Mr. Rajiv Bansal is fighting for the portion of his controversial severance pay that Infosys has held back. Mr. Rajiv Bansal, who left Infosys in 2015, was promised to pay Rs 17.38 crore in severance, equalling 24 months of pay. However, Infosys’s co-founder Mr. NR Krishnamurthy slammed the Infosys Board’s decision and its falling governance standard. Mr. Murthy termed the severance pay as ‘hush money’ and said: “Providing huge severance pay (with 100 per cent variable) to some departing employees while giving only 80 per cent variable for employees in the company is one such example. Such payments raise doubts whether the company is using such payments as hush money to hide something.” Mr. Murthy said that such ‘generosity’ – severance pay – points to utter arrogance towards honest employees, total lack of fiduciary responsibility, and an unbelievable lack of application of mind. Mr. Murthy was not the only one who found severance pay against the company policy, Infosys’s former Chief Financial Officer Mr. Mohandas Pai raised the similar concern and said: “The founders who have built the company and created a value system have raised serious issues. As far as I know, no CFO in India has got a 24-month separation.” It seems, the Infosys Board came under pressure and paid only Rs 5 crore to Mr. Rajiv Bansal. Now, Mr. Bansal has invoked his rights to an arbitral tribunal for the remaining pay.
Jet Airways is treating Indian pilots in a “step-motherly” manner compared to their expat counterparts on the rolls, pilots’ body NAG claimed. Demanding swift action against alleged racist approach of the expat pilots at the airline, the National Aviators Guild (NAG) called for disallowing such pilots in the cockpit. The grouping’s statement follows its direction on April 15 asking its members not to fly with the expats in the cockpit after one of the foreign pilots allegedly assaulted a trainer in Bengaluru recently. Jet Airways has some 60 expat commanders, who mainly operate its Boeing 737 and ATR fleet. In a strongly-worded statement, NAG said disparaging, inappropriate and racist comments allegedly made by certain expat pilots cannot be taken lightly. “This is in addition to the verbal and physical abuse of a senior trainer by an expat pilot employed by the airline,” NAG claimed. “The management has for a very long time treated the Indian employees, including the pilots, in a step—motherly manner and has disregarded the legitimate expectations of its employees to be treated fairly, reasonably and in a just manner.”
Compensation of bankers will soon be based on the performance of their banks, according to the Reserve Bank of India. In the revised prompt corrective action (PCA) norms proposed by the central bank last week, banks which do not meet financial parameters set by the RBI, would face restrictions on compensations for directors and management including the chief executive officers and executive directors. The restriction on compensation has been recommended as one of the mandatory actions by RBI towards banks that breach the third-level risk threshold when it comes to either capital, bad loans or profitability. The third-level threshold includes capital that is below the indicator by 3.625 percent, net non-performing loans above 12 percent and negative return on assets (ROA) for four consecutive years. Current minimum prescription to maintain capital is 10.25 percent with 9 percent minimum total capital plus 1.25 percent counter cyclical buffer. The PCA framework, RBI said, would apply without exception to all banks operating in India including small banks and foreign banks operating through branches or subsidiaries based on breach of risk thresholds of identified indicators. Encumbered with the heavy bad loans in their books and slower loan growth, many banks are struggling to find profitability and raise capital. However, this may put a pause on a Bank Board Bureau’s proposal to government to ensure pay parity between public and private sector banks’ management in order to attract high quality and talented professionals.
Australia and New Zealand have tightened visa conditions for skilled migrants in a bid to woo nationalist-leaning voters, echoing the United States’ “America First” policy, but critics have decried the move as mostly political posturing. Australian Prime Minister Mr. Malcolm Turnbull abolished a temporary work visa popular with foreigners, replacing it with a new programme. New Zealand also tightened access to skilled work visas, taking a “Kiwis-first approach. “The changes are likely to hurt small businesses and Australian tech start-ups, industry officials said, but both countries will continue to see a surge in foreigners. Recent population growth in Australia has been driven by student visas, which offer a path for people to study, work and eventually become permanent residents. In the six months to December, the country granted 156,453 student visas. This compares with just 12,866 of the so-called 457 skilled work visas approved in the year to September 2016. More than 95,000 foreigners are now employed under the 457 visa, making up a mere 0.8 percent of Australia’s labour force. “This is just a change of name, nothing else,” said Mr. Shamim Ahmed, a Sydney-based migration agent at AIC Education Services. “They cannot really abolish this visa, because it is demanded by employers.” The 457 visa has been axed with immediate effect, and replaced by two new visas with a shorter skills shortage list and a tougher English language requirement, Mr. Turnbull announced.
E-commerce major Flipkart will issue additional shares to eligible employees in efforts to ensure their stake remains at a “steady level” after the latest fund raising round that came at a lower valuation. The Bengaluru-based firm, which competes with the likes of Amazon and Snapdeal, has recently raised USD 1.4 billion at a valuation of USD 11.6 billion. This is lower than the previous funding raised in 2015, when Flipkart was valued at USD 15.2 billion. Employees who are part of ESOP (employee stock option plan) programmes across the Flipkart group, including Myntra and PhonePe, were informed of the move through an email. Flipkart Group CEO Mr. Binny Bansal said the differential grant was being made, so that the total dollar value of options allotted to an employee remain unchanged. This was being done to ensure that the employee’s equity stake in the company stayed at a steady level. “As an organisation, Flipkart takes immense pride in being the employer of choice for thousands of professionals — a vaulted status that only comes with a deep, company-wide sense of transparency and fairness. If Flipkart does well, so should you,” Mr. Bansal said. In recent years, Indian startups have increasingly offered ESOPs as a way to curb attrition and help employees build long-term wealth.
Workers at three British plants of German car giant BMW began a 24-hour strike over proposed changes to pensions, leading to a halt in production of the iconic Mini. Employees belonging to the Unite union picketed at the plants in Cowley and Swindon, in southern England, and in Hams Hall in the centre of the country, with eight more walkouts promised over the next five weeks. The carmaker said Mini and BMW engine production had stopped for the day as workers protested against the closure of its two final-salary pension schemes for around 5,000 employees in Britain. Going ahead, the value of a worker`s pension would be linked to the pension fund`s performance in the stock market, and not salary. The carmaker announced the plan last year, and aims to make the change on May 31. “It is very much the last resort for a world-class workforce that takes great pride in making the iconic Mini and world-renowned Rolls-Royce motor cars and one which could have been avoided if BMW`s bosses had been willing to negotiate meaningfully,” Unite general secretary Mr. Len McCluskey said. The carmaker said it regretted the strikes and hoped for further talks. It has called the current pension plans “increasingly unsustainable and unaffordable for both members and companies”.
Insurance behemoth LIC will soon obtain services of retired bankers to strengthen its lending operations and ensure that non-performing assets (NPAs) are kept at the minimum. LIC has set up a cell for its lending, NPA resolution and one time settlement (OTS), people familiar with the matter said, adding that the company will soon get experts, particularly bankers, to this portfolio. LIC has been into the business of insurance but they don’t have expertise on loan risk assessment and resolution, the people said. A standard operating procedure has also been worked out for repayment through OTS scheme, they added. At the end of March 2016, LIC had a debt portfolio of Rs3.79 trillion, bigger than the loan portfolio of most banks. Its gross non-performing assets stood at 3.76% at the end of March 2016, up from 3.30% in the previous year. Driven by a sudden surge in single premium policy sales and falling interest rates, the total new business premium of LIC rose 25.8% to Rs1.22 trillion in FY 2016-17 from around Rs97,000 crore in the previous year. However, the state-owned insurer witnessed degrowth in terms of policies during the year under review.
The high-level committee headed by finance secretary Mr. Ashok Lavasa on allowances under the 7th Pay Commission is expected to submit its final report to Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley. The committee had held a conclusive meeting on 6 April. The committee has been tasked to examine the 7th Pay Commission recommendation for abolition of 53 allowances out of a total of 196 and subsuming another 36 into larger existing ones. In its previous meeting on 28 March, the Lavasa committee sought comments from the ministries of railways, defence and posts on treatment of 14 allowances, the report said. Some of these allowances include accidental allowance, outstation detention allowance, trip allowance, and ghat allowance. Earlier, the 7th Pay Commission had recommended fixing the rate of house rent allowance (HRA) at 24%, 16% and 8% of the basic pay for Class X, Y, and Z cities respectively, according to the report. It had also recommended that whenever DA crosses 50%, the rate of HRA be revised to 27%, 18% and 9% respectively. Likewise, it should be revised to 30%, 20% and 10% when DA crosses 100%.
Author, Speaker, Advisor, Global Goodwill Ambassador Startup, C-Suite and Business mentor who helps increase productivity profits, performance, communication, employee retention increase shareholder value