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New recruits tend to move out much earlier than before

Impatience and big opportunities unfolding quickly, aspirations to study abroad, haste to make more money are some of the reasons driving the trend.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Sep 09, 2012, 03.24 PM IST
Typically, campus recruits would stay for at least three years in their first company before looking out for alternatives.
Typically, campus recruits would stay for at least three years in their first company before looking out for alternatives.
NEW DELHI: Barely five months into his first job, Rajan Sharma’s (name changed) plans look rather quirky. Having joined an e-commerce firm fresh out of IIM Ahmedabad, he plans to move out within a year, do a similarduration stint in the new place and then venture out on his own. “I want to learn the ropes in e-commerce in one company, validate my learnings in another firm and finally start my own business," he says.

Six years ago, this would have been unthinkable, when fresh recruits mostly demonstrated longer tenures in their first job. But today, declining longevity of new hires is a challenge for companies across the board. Typically, campus recruits would stay for at least three to four years in their first company before looking out for alternatives, but today, they tend to move out in two years. “In may cases, they just wait for their bond duration to get over,” says Mukund Menon, director -— HR (AsiaPac) at Steria, a Noidabased information technology-enabled firm.

Impatience and big opportunities unfolding quickly, especially overseas, aspirations to study abroad, relocation issues, haste to make more money or move into different roles are some of the reasons driving the trend. Such a decline in longevity brings in a huge loss of young trained resources, and companies face knowledge gaps, requiring them to retrain fresh recruits.

Research by global HR consultancy Aon Hewitt shows Gen Y is switching jobs four to six times before they hit their mid-30s, in an approximately 10-year span.

New recruits tend to move out much earlier than before
“For organisations that have an overall attrition rate of 12 per cent to 15 per cent, the Gen Y attrition is often as high as 25 per cent to 40 per cent. This has peaked in the recovery we saw in 2010-2011,” says says Rajeswari Murali, director, practice leader (talent & performance).

The challenge persists because the Indian market is still relatively immature, says Piyush Mehta, senior VP—HR, Genpact. “Explosion in opportuntities and unheard-of salaries may be the reason, but as the market matures and salaries stabilise, this phenomenon will decline as seen in the West,” he adds. He says the problem is acute in professions that require rare skill sets, such as software, especially data warehousing and business intelligence. Or among call centres that require highend voice skills.

Young employees acquire more knowledge about the industry and opportunities than they did 10 years ago, says Krish Shankar, executive director — human resources at Bharti Airtel. “So they have a clear idea about what they want and where they’ll get that,” he says. “This has brought about a change in their mindset.”

While most HR heads ET spoke with agree that the declining longevity amongst the fresh recruits continues to be a challenge, they fail to admit it exists in their own companies. “We don’t see higher attrition within the first two years for campus joinees,” says Subhash Khare, vice president, human resources, Wipro Technologies.

“While some of them start leaving after they gain three years’ experience, most of them stay on for much longer.” Wipro, he adds, has constantly upgrades managers’ engagement levels with employees, has created forums where junior employees can speak their mind, point out issues and give suggestions for corrective action.

Airtel claims that between 2008 and 2011, the average experience of firsttime hires in the company has gone up. For instance, the average for the frontline hires is 3.8 years, up from 3.1 in 2008. “Young employees want the job they like and look for clarity in their career paths,” says Shankar.

The sectors that are likely to be hit harder are those in which Gen Y employees are a large constituent, says Aon Hewitt’s Murali. These could be IT, ITeS, media, internet, banking/finance, insurance, retail, hospitality, customer service — also the fastestgrowing sectors in India. “A look at the demographic split of recruitment numbers in any organisation today spells out the dominance of Gen Y (young employees below 30 years of age)," says Murali.

Aon Hewitt’s recent findings on this generation – the Y-Fi (Young Focused Individuals) as it calls them, has thrown up some interesting insights — one, Y-Fis look for clarity in career progression.

Two, they want to be exposed to various aspects of their jobs. "They appreciate the fact that given business exigencies, organisations will need to define the boundaries within which the possibilities could be explored," says Murali, who spearheaded the study.

"The refrain is that a role/stint in the organisation should not last for more than two years," he says, adding that till then, young employees want to be constantly challenged. "Since this group is strongly networked, they are confident in their own ability to find opportunities in a fast-growing India," Murali adds.

The challenge for organisations is to understand and manage these expectations. "We need to move towards acceptance as opposed to the constant and much-publicised refrain that Gen Yis unrealistic and irresponsible." Fresh joinees look for technically challenging assignments and learning opportunities, says Khare of Wipro.

"Giving them depth and width of technology opportunities keeps employees satisfied and motivated." Senior HR professionals believe there’s need for an elaborate pre-hire orientation programme. "And then, 10 out 100 need initial handholding. Supervisors have a responsibility," says Mehta of Genpact.

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