At a time when the chips are down in the economy and the threat of downsizing looms in the private sector, candidates with professional qualifications are finding entry level jobs in public sector banks attractive.
This is seen in the recruitment trend in State Bank of India and the scenario is not different in other public sector banks .
Though the qualification for the Assistant’s position, the lowest rung in mainline banking operations, is 12th class (with minimum 60 per cent aggregate marks) or a degree from a recognised university, SBI has managed to attract candidates with professional qualifications in computer engineering and business administration.
Expansion of the branch network, coupled with the need to mitigate staff shortage, particularly at rural and semi-urban branches, saw SBI recruiting 20,682 new Assistants in FY2013.
More than 30 lakh candidates appeared for the test for the Assistants’ position.
A senior public sector banker said given the fast-track promotion process in public sector banks, an Assistant can hope to retire as a General Manager.
“There are cases whereby a candidate joins a bank as an Assistant but aims for the Probationary Officer’s (PO) position. Once, the candidate cracks the PO exam and gets selected, he can even rise to be a Deputy Managing Director (in SBI) or a Chairman and Managing Director (in a public sector bank), if he is a fast-tracker,” he said.
In the financial year ended March 31, 2013, SBI recruited 847 probationary officers. Seventeen lakh candidates applied for officers’ position.
As on March-end 2013, the bank had 2,28,296 employees (2,15,481 as on March-end 2012) on its rolls, comprising 80,796 Officers, 1,09,686 Assistants, and 37,814 Subordinates.
During the year, the bank added 719 branches, taking the total number of branches to 14,816. Of these, 66 per cent of the branches are in rural and semi-urban areas.
“The large scale recruitment of Gen-next employees in the officers as well as in the Assistant grade have not only brought a far-reaching attitudinal change among staff in their customer interface and services across branches, it has also become a catalyst in enhancing/ improving the productivity and efficiency of employees,” SBI said in its annual report.
In FY2013, SBI’s business per employee and net profit per employee rose to Rs 9.44 crore (Rs 7.98 crore in FY2012) and Rs 6.45 lakh (Rs 5.31 lakh).