About 80% senior executives and 50% mid-level managers in public sector banks to call it a day over next two years

The campus placement season this year is seeing an unusual trend. Apart from the regular IT companies which have been recruiting huge number of students, public sector banks have emerged as favourite recruiters among students graduating in arts, sciences, commerce and management.

Experts say the reason for this increase is that a very large number of bank employees are due to retire over the next two years. The 1969 nationalisation of banks led to mass recruitment in the seventies. Indian banks now employ close to a million people.

“Employees recruited during 1972–78 will retire in the next few years. Nearly 60 per cent to 80 per cent of senior executives and 30 per cent to 50 per cent of middle managers will retire over the next two years,” says T.M. Bhasin, CMD, Indian Bank. Banks will need to recruit at least an additional seven lakh employees, he says.

This year, 60 per cent of placements at Madras University were from banks. Madras University Vice-Chancellor G. Thiruvasagam says that until a few years ago, banks never visited campuses for recruitment. “Despite being trained to handle banking operations, our students did not get a shot at a career with a public sector bank. Now the banking sector has opened up and is going the extra mile to help students settle in their new jobs by offering them mentorship programmes,” he says.

The recruited students have been offered scale 1 and scale 2 positions which means they will join as managers or assistant managers. The average salary is around Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 4 lakh which is on a par with the pay package offered by the IT sector.

Students are apprehensive, though. “With so much talk about online banking, what are the career prospects in the banking sector?” says S. Sharath, a student of University of Madras.

There will be no paucity of work, say experts. Banks plan to adopt new technology and change service and delivery models. The areas of focus will be relationship management, information technology, and customer retention, says a senior manager of IOB.

Attrition is an area of concern for banks, however. “When we advertise for vacancies, everybody applies. But by the time we select an applicant for a clerical post, she/he gets a job as an officer in another bank,” says a senior officer of Allahabad Bank. College managements promise to tackle this issue. Most institutes have strict joining rules and the joining rate is almost 100 per cent, he says.

While the trend might mean good news to students, senior bank officers have a bone to pick with them. G. Girija, an employee of Bank of India for 25 years, says, “When we joined the bank, we had to wait for seven years to become eligible for a promotion. Today, youngsters join at a higher designation and quit the company when they reach the executive level. This is unfair to us.”

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