Just five leading private sector lenders, including ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank, added more than 15,000 employees to their payrolls in the last fiscal.

The expanded workforce seems to be improving employee productivity, an analysis of the annual staff details of ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Yes Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank shows.

At the same time, the full—year staff costs also rose for all the five banks. Together, the five banks saw their headcount rise by 15,823 persons in the latest fiscal, ended March 31, 2013, to close to two lakh employees.

While HDFC Bank had the biggest workforce (69,065) among the five at the end of the fiscal, the highest increase (6,163 employees) was recorded by Axis Bank in absolute terms.

HDFC Bank’s workforce rose by 2,989 employees, while that of ICICI Bank rose by 3,789 persons to 62,065 during the fiscal 2012-13, the details published in the banks’ latest annual reports show.

Axis Bank saw its headcount rise to 37,901 employees, while Yes Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank also expanded their staff strength by 1,382 and 1,500 persons, respectively.

The collective headcount of the five banks stood at 1,99,555 as on March 31, 2013. The five banks together incurred total employee expenses of close to Rs 13,000 crore in the year 2012—13, marking an increase of about Rs 1,700 crore, with HDFC Bank leading the charts in terms of increase as well as the total staff costs for the fiscal. While per-employee profitability rose for all five banks, four recorded an improvement in their respective business per employee.

Axis Bank was the only one to see its business per employee dip marginally to Rs 12.15 crore, from Rs 12.76 crore.