The country’s automotive sector, which currently employs about 13 million people, is projected to have a workforce of 25 million people within next few years, effectively doubling the total number of professionals it engages.

With most of the recruitment now likely to be centred around a young workforce, with different set of expectations, the human resource (HR) professionals are in for a big challenge both in terms of finding the right talent but also managing their aspirations, according to S.Y. Siddiqui, Chief Operating Officer, IT, HR, Finance, Maruti Suzuki Limited.

This means, HR professionals need to unlearn and innovate to connect better with such young force.

During his visit to Hyderabad to take part in the National Human Resource Development Network conference, Siddiqui, the man overseeing the HR function of the country’s largest automaker that employs close to 10,000 people, told Business Line that skilling people and managing young workforce will be a big challenge in the country.

Multiple challenges

Given the huge number of job opportunities that will open up in various sectors, including the auto sector, this calls for a different way of handling the issues right from opting for the right talent to grooming them and then deploying in the areas with their strengths.

The profile of recruits has changed from the time Maruti first recruited people in the year 1983. The market conditions, environment and people’s expectations and aspirations were different, he said, adding that things have changed significantly over the years. Therefore, HR needs new approaches to tackle such youth.

The HR professionals need to understand and prepare to manage the capabilities, aspirations of this young workforce with an average age of 25 years. Over the next two decades, the share of young population in India is set to grow.

This has wide ramifications for the nation in various aspects of policy making, economic planning, resource allocation, skilling and job creation.

“We also realise that demographic shift is not happening alone. It is accompanied by other mega trends in India and abroad. The information technology revolution is shaping thoughts, abilities and outlook of this young population and setting the pace for change,” he explained.

The combined result of all these factors is that this young talent is innovative, business and tech savvy, quick on the uptake and has an instinctive ability to network. They possess unbridled ambition, high expectation and aim at speedy career growth. It applies to both blue and white collar workers.

The challenge is to how to lead Gen Y towards high motivation, ownership and commitment to the organisation.

Big numbers

Referring to Maruti, he said that the company now employs close to 10,000 people and will recruit about 1,200 people by September next, in time for Manesar expansion. “In addition, we may have to add another 1,200 people for the Greenfield plant coming up in Gujarat,” he added. On an average Maruti inducts about 300 engineers every year.

“The engineering aspect is not alone, we also need people with other skills. That is the big challenge for not just Maruti but the entire automotive industry. The situation is no different in other sectors.”

To address this, Maruti is addressing the Industrial Training Institutes (ITI), which churn out skilled manpower required by the automotive sector. There are 2,500 ITIs in the country and the Government is also actively engaged in revamping the curricula to suit what the industry requires.

Maruti has adopted about 11 ITIs across five States. “We are looking at adopting 50 ITIs. Thus far we have helped train about 4,000 youth who have been recruited in factories and service centres. This is part of skilling the factory employee. There is need to train at least five lakh people over the next three years,” he said.

rishikumar.vundi@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 6, 2012)
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