India Inc Top Dogs Becoming Renegades

29_05_2015_001_091_008Recruiters report rising trend of CXOs, top-level managers pulling out of job offers in last lap
An alarming spike in `no-shows’ at senior management levels -CXO and onetwo levels below -is now causing much consternation within India Inc. Leading recruiters say they are battling a sharp increase in the number of such cases -senior executives accepting job offers but not showing up -the highest, since the boom times of 2006-07.At executive search firm EMA Partners, there have been 4 senior-level no-shows in the last two months alone.Hunt Partners has already seen more than 6-7 such instances in the first few months of 2015, compared to just oneoff cases earlier.Headhunters are able to share several such examples.One CXO, slated to join an engineering company , backed out two days before joining, citing his parents’ inability to relocate, knowing fully well throughout that it was a job requirement. Another, slated to join a consumer goods company , says Praful Nangia, associate partner of Hunt Partners, bought extra time to join his new employer -turning down the offer to buy out his notice period. He said he needed to complete a key project. It was discovered later that he had withdrawn his resignation a week after submitting it, after receiving a counteroffer. He kept the new employer hanging for five months.

Then there was the honcho slated to relocate from Bangalore to Mumbai with a new job. The recruiting company even flew him down to finalise accommodation. He did not show up the day he was to join. It later came to light that the person did move to Mumbai ­ but to join another organisation on the same day . Yet another candidate recruited as the digital marketing head for a pharma company got another offer from an ecommerce company and opted for that, leaving the other employer in the lurch.

Kamal Karanth, managing director of Kelly Services and KellyOCG India says such instances are particularly high in IT, ecommerce and shared services industries this year. “If there are 10 offers that are being made, we can easily expect a 30-40% dropout in these industries on an average,“ he says. According to him, dropouts in IT are in excess of 35%, shared services about 25% plus and ecommerce about 40%.

The numbers are surprisingly high. As K Sudarshan, managing partner, India and regional VP-Asia for EMA Partners, puts it: “You don’t expect such unprofessionalism at such high levels.“ His firm has seen senior-level no-shows shoot up by 30-40% this year.

“We blacklist such people as integrity and professionalism are important to us,“ says Santrupt B Misra, CEO, Carbon Black Business & Director, Group HR, Aditya Birla Group. “We cannot put people’s capability, track record and expertise ahead of integrity.“

A fair sprinkling of no-shows is par for the course at junior levels, but the increase in such instances at senior management levels is causing concern.

“No-shows (at senior levels) are very an noying. Between the time taken for the search and the notice period, you end up losing 5-6 months. And there’s little you can do,“ says Arvind Agrawal, PresidentHR & Corporate Development at RPG Enterprises. He has seen a president-level candidate backing out earlier. Agrawal believes in the prevention route: engaging with candidates on a constant basis once they are identified.

“No-shows happens when the market is looking up and there is a war for talent,“ says Mayank Chandra, managing partner, Antal International. “Increased opportunity for candidates and multiple job offers also allow them to refuse offers in hand due to bullish sentiments.“

A combination of factors have been contributing to this trend; most significantly the revival in the economy and the buoyancy in the job market. On one hand, there is high demand; on the other, less supply of critical talent. Companies are keen to hold on to their top talent at any cost: giving ev erything from counter offersrole enhancementslocation or product changes to stop key people from shifting jobs.

“We look out for warning signals such as candidates who are asking for too much time to join, or avoiding calls, but sometimes, it (no-shows) happens nonetheless,“ says Sudarshan of EMA Partners

This story appeared in Economic Times on May 29, 2015

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About Antal India Recruitment Blog

Founded in 1993, Antal International is a global Executive Recruitment firm with 120 offices in more than 30 countries We work with professional and managerial talent worldwide. works with many of the world’s most successful and ambitious employers. In January 2007 Antal International established the first office in India, which led to the opening of 38 offices in 14 cities. In 2013, Antal named Joseph Devasia as its Managing Director for Antal International Network, India – the man who brought Antal to India 9 years ago. Antal India today has 100+ consultants working across offices in India filling more than 3000 assignments at the mid – senior level. Antal India today has offices specialising in various industries like FMCG/CD, Ecommerce, IT, Pharma, Auto, Engineering, Manufacturing, Real Estate, Construction, Retail, Oil & Gas, Aerospace, Defence. Clients: Over the past 22 years, Antal has worked with over several thousand clients making 60,000 placements. Antal extensive network of offices and deep market expertise is what sets Antal apart from its competitors. To know more about us – www.antal.com

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