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Reliance creating over 600,000 jobs!
Priyanka Sangani in Mumbai | June 30, 2006
If it's Reliance, it has to be huge. Just a quick glance at what the company has planned over the next few years, predominantly for its retail and refinery ventures, is indication enough of that.
As Reliance gets closer to the deadline for the roll out of its first retail outlet, the action is also hotting up on the people front.
According to HR consultants, the attrition levels in the sector have sky rocketed in the last few months, especially in the corporate and back office functions where Reliance has been steadily hiring.
The company's retail team is already 2,000 people strong. Over the next few years, the group has committed to spending Rs 25,000 crore (Rs 250 billion) on its retail rollout , which is expected to create at least 1 million jobs both directly and indirectly. And this is just retail.
Refining, the company's other major initiative, is also likely to spawn a number of openings, predominantly for engineers and management staff.
The refinery at Jamnagar, which is expected to be ready by 2008, is all set to take on 100,000 people on board. And this does not include the additional jobs that would come up in terms of construction workers hired to build the new settlements around the refinery for the staff. Clearly, the 'think big' maxim did not end with Dhirubhai Ambani.
At the AGM, which was the first time that Ambani spoke in detail about the company's plan of action for retail, Ambani said that in addition to the 10,000 professionals that they would be hiring for the retail venture, the company would also take on board 500,000 customer care executives.
These would be youngsters, either students or those who are fresh out of college, who would be trained by the company across a variety of disciplines.
These would include behavioural traits, customer service, product knowledge and the technology aspects, all of which would serve them well as the frontline staff for the retail stores.
"Our plan is to provide training and education opportunities on a distributed learning platform through classroom e-learning and and personalised coaching in a 'earn while you learn' framework," said Ambani.
The company is said to be working in collaboration with a foreign partner to develop an appropriate training module for the frontline staff.
In addition to this, Mukesh Ambani is said to be finalising plans to set up a university in Gujarat which would produce 10,000 graduates a year.
While the university would offer courses across various disciplines, it is believed that most of these students would be absorbed by the different Reliance group firms. The university is also likely to tie up with a few international universities.
Money clearly is not a constraint when it comes to luring the best talent in the industry, with about Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) said to have been put aside only as salaries for the senior management team (read chief executive officers of different verticals).
However, placement executives point out that the company has structured pay packets in such a way that a large part of them are retention bonuses that would be available to the employees only if they stick on with the company for a given period of time.
The company has been actively hiring senior level executives (read CEOs for its different verticals) from both within and outside the retail sector.
From all the people movement that has taken place, some of the most notable have been Gunender Kapoor from Unilever, S Ramesh, who used to head the sourcing operations for Wal-Mart in India and Raghu Pillai from Pantaloon who have gone over to Reliance Retail.
For the upcoming refinery at Jamnagar, the company is on the lookout for engineers and management graduates. It is believed to have already recruited up to a 1,000 people and is likely to double this headcount over the next few years. Most of these recruitments are at the senior management level.
In addition, a team has been brought in from Bechtel, with whom Reliance has a joint venture, to train the engineers hired by Reliance for this refinery. This is mainly a crash course to update the ITI graduates to bring them up to the mark.
This programme is being designed by Bechtel and senior Reliance executives. In it's hunt for suitable managerial staff, the company also approached IIM, Ahmedabad for its placements earlier this year-- a first for the company.
Meanwhile, as Reliance kicks off its hiring of frontline staff for retail, attrition levels in the rest of the large format retail sector (which are already hovering around 30 per cent) are expected to go up by another 10-15 per cent.
But while corporates try and figure out how to retain staff, it's good news for youngsters who will have more lucrative options to choose from.