Sharpen your skills

Recruiters are looking beyond academics, with the focus shifting to skill sets that prepare you to be job ready

Sharpen your skills
Sharpen your skills
Preeti Kulkarni - 31 July 2017

The job prospects of 21-year-old Bhanumati, a commerce graduate, changed as soon as she cleared her mutual fund foundation certification in final year of college. Based in Coimbatore, she was looking for employment in the BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) industry as the prospects of working with a big bank or a wealth management company appeared as the ticket to a bright future. “I was not sure of the employment options after graduation and was not sure if my family could afford an MBA for me. I took the NISM certification as an added qualification,” she narrates.

She was lucky to have been picked from the campus by a bank that was expanding its footprint in the region with fresh positions for financial product distribution. In the case of 33-year old Rajendra Prasad, the skill development course as an emergency medical technician (EMT) in 2013 helped him bag a job with a private hospital in Faridabad, which was paying him a lot more than what he earned as a male nurse. He has not undertaken any advanced course in EMT, which he is expecting will offer him a bigger role and a higher salary.

Right skills and attitude

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has actively promoted skill development in several fields, especially financial services, healthcare and technology. The demand for skilled labour has grown so high that several organisations have started offering skill development courses, which includes issuance of a certificate at the completion of the course that increases the prospects of certified candidates finding employment.

Says Thyagarajan Balasubramanian, Co-founder & CEO, Stratadigm Education and Training: “These courses are designed on the WITP (Work Integrated Training Program) model which makes them different from other courses. Also, the number of enrolments are continuously increasing with the student community slowly realising the value of such programs.” His company has been closely working with organisations that are looking to recruit, and also with education institutions where the training programmes can be conducted to improve the probability of students finding a job after undertaking the NSDC certification.

With an ever-increasing insistence on financial inclusion aligned with digital advancement, the sudden demand of highly specialised talent in the industry has acted as a catalyst for skill providers. It has become imperative to rework on the existing skills. Pressing on the same Makarand Khatavkar, Group Head -Human Resources, Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited, says, “This is where various skilling programs conducted by both government as well as various non-profit institutions, including CSR arms play a huge role.”

In the Healthcare sector, VIVO Healthcare Institute is doing a commendable job. Recounts Dehradun-based Bharat Bhushan: “I enrolled for the ‘Train the Trainer’ programme under a senior faculty member to understand the training methodology and presentation skills.” At present, he is deputy manager training in charge with Vivo, a step very different from his previous stint as assistant professor in a reputed university in the North East.

Employers look out

One of the challenges that employers are facing today is finding qualified, skilled and ready-to work talent. Says Mayank Bathwal, CEO, Aditya Birla Health Insurance: “We are looking not only for good academic credentials but also for the right skills and attitude during the selection process.” Although many have deployed scientific filters in their recruitment processes to get better results, the gap still exists.

For instance, YES Bank is the first Indian organisation to introduce a game based evaluation round in addition to group discussions and interviews during the hiring process at premium B-schools across India. Deodutta Kurane, Group President - Human Capital Management, YES Bank, says, “This highly interactive gamification app helps evaluate the core competencies of the candidates that are specially customised in line with the Banks’ core ethics.” The app proves to be helpful to candidates by providing them instant feedback which can be used to improve and enhance their skills further.

DBS looks for people who are self-starters and are willing to experiment. They look for entrepreneurial bent of mind. “At DBS, we leverage Hackathons as one of the ways to identify digital talent. Running through a typical 24 to 36 hour period, Hackathons are high energy, effort intensive and extremely outcome-focused initiatives that enable an organisational view on potential candidates,” says Kishore Poduri, Head – Human Resources, DBS Bank (India).

There are still some employers like Motilal Oswal Private Management, who refrain from hiring freshers in large numbers. Sudhir Dhar, Director & Head HR, Motiwal Oswal Financial Services Ltd., says, “We look to hire people who are working in the private banking divisions and groom them into wealth managers through rigorous training. We also have a training program for freshers just out of college, where in they are tagged to existing wealth managers for 4-5 years while they learn the tricks of the trade and build up relationships.”

In the Mutual Funds industry, domain knowledge plays a very important role in the areas like fund management and operations. Sundeep Sikka, ED and CEO, Reliance Mutual Fund, says, “At RNLAM, almost 70 per cent of our talent comes from the non-AMC background and 30 per cent comes from non-BFSI industry. This distinctive hiring strategy has helped us bring fresh thinking and innovative process and practice. We also look at scalability of the candidate with us in future as that gives us talent pipeline. We have 78 per cent of key talent who are groomed internally.”

“Fresher recruits show a lot of excitement towards their first job with elevated levels of aspirations. Hence, with a fresher, we largely emphasise on his/her ability to learn, imbibe the organisation’s culture and develop a constructive intent towards delivering quality service to our customers,” says Reynu Bhat – Head, Human resource and learning & development, HDFC Securities.

While organisations are constantly working towards filling the skill gap, a lot is now being addressed by engaging with skill development organisations that are affiliated to the NSDC. The demand for talent and workforce with the right skills is on a rise and one of the ways to make a mark is to consider skilling oneself for a better job prospect. At the same time several of the skill development training partners are becoming the hunting ground for recruiters who are assigning them the task to train candidates who can be hired as they are ready with the necessary skill sets.

The entry-level BFSI Jobs

A few skills that will help you with a job, include the ability to speak in English and the local language of the city you are based in. Proficiency in written communication and the ability to pick up on-the-job skills, especially proprietary software go a long way. Make it a point to be abreast with any other skills to be in sync with demands of the job.

Sales executive: Jobs in banks, wealth management and brokerages involving sales of banking and financial services products like loans, mutual funds, insurance and credit cards.

Insurance agents: Trained personnel by insurance companies who represent an insurance company and sell policies. They earn a commission on the policies sold, which is linked to the premiums on the sold policies.

Investment advisors: They can be found at banks and investment broking firms, who provide advice related to investment products and other financial services. They are equipped to handle multiple financial instruments such as insurance, annuities, mutual funds, retirement plans and equities. They would be qualified through a certificate programme offered by NISM or any other qualification as mandated by regulations.

Salary/Remuneration: Entry level jobs for the above profiles pay anywhere between Rs 15,000 to Rs 30,000 a month depending on the role, qualification and experience, if any. There are additional benefits by way of commissions and incentives that are linked to sales and performance.

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