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PSU Banks on hiring spree, on the lookout for specialists for lateral entry

Shritama Bose
Much of the hiring is in the areas of wealth management, IT, HR, information security, analytics, credit and risk

Public sector banks (PSBs) continue to make lateral hires in specialised positions as they pivot to an era of increased digitisation and focused lending to small enterprises. State Bank of India on Tuesday sought applications to fill vacancies for 477 information technology (IT) roles.

Its smaller peer Bank of Baroda (BoB) has also advertised 15 vacancies for specialist product managers to work on an Uttar Pradesh government scheme for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). BoB is also on the lookout for an executive to head its new MSME business vertical.

Much of the hiring happening at PSBs now is on a contract basis for specialised roles. In April, IDBI Bank had called for applications for nearly 950 positions, many of them in specialised roles, after the bank was taken over by Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India.\

SBI will make the new appointments across four different pay grades and the new hires are likely to be aged between 30 and 40. Most PSBs experience a natural attrition rate of 5% to 10%. They choose not to replace all the outgoing employees. In recent years, a large number of new hires has been in roles that demand specialisation like treasury, sales and IT.

According to SBI's annual report for 2018-19, the size of its workforce shrunk to 2.57 lakh at the end of FY19 from 2.64 lakh at the end of FY18. "Your bank is actively recruiting specialised talent on lateral and contractual basis in the areas of wealth management, information technology, information security, risk, credit, among others, in order to meet the demands of the fast-changing business landscape," the lender said in its annual report. In FY19, 692 specialists were hired by SBI.

It further said that it has made specialised recruitment in functions where requisite skills are not available and where skill development could turn out to be time-consuming. This includes the fields of marketing, IT, credit and risk, human resources, analytics and wealth management.

Analysts say that the upcoming round of bank mergers will enhance PSBs' ability to hire. In a recent note, Kotak Institutional Equities wrote that PSBs are seeing large retirements in their workforce each year. "Hence, any merger during this period makes it easier for the senior management to manage talent, especially when attrition rates are quite low," the broking firm said.