Kerala at the core of our global delivery services: Arun Batra of EY

Vinson Kurian | | Updated on: Mar 21, 2022
Arun Batra, Client Service Leader, EY GDS

Arun Batra, Client Service Leader, EY GDS

EY Global Delivery Services to raise number of professionals engaged in the State from 8,500 to 10,000 by June

Kerala continues to be an integral part of EY Global Delivery Services (EY GDS) and a ‘very core location’ for service delivery, says the firm’s top official.

According to Arun Batra, Client Service Leader, EY GDS, the company will continue to invest in expanding the headcount at its centre in Thiruvananthapuram.

“Today we have about 8,500 professionals already operating out of Kerala. We hope to cross about 10,000 by the end of June this year,” said Arun Batra, who leads a team of almost 50,000 professionals at EY GDS across consulting, assurance, strategy and transactions, tax, technology, and knowledge domains.

‘Centre of gravity’

Kerala is the ‘centre of gravity’ for many of the emerging technologies, Batra told BusinessLine. For instance, EY GDS has its largest blockchain and analytics teams and the second largest cyber security team.

“The State has a talent ecosystemstrong enough to provide us the numbers. From an EY perspective, all our solutions are focused on how do we leverage emerging technologies.”

EY GDS has drawn up on-campus, off-campus and lateral hiring strategies. On an average, 12 to 18 per cent of the head count is taken from campus. This is based on a certain demand projection but given that demand in business, particularly of consulting and technology, continues to vary depending on macro-economic signals, warranting an off-campus strategy as well.

“We even look for those who have left graduation but are in the zero-two years timeframe by when they have tested their waters or interest levels. Together, off- and on campus account for 30-35 per cent of the hiring.”

Returning professionals

EY GDS feels that the Kerala ecosystem is improving significantly due to a combination of several factors. While there has been significant development of SEZs over the past few years and investments by new companies, the State has also a very decent returning population of professionals.

“The state has a big expat population and growing inbound traffic that helps with our lateral hiring strategy.”

Comparing the skill sets available, Batra said those returning from the US are strong with their technical capabilities while those from the Middle-East have good management capability levels.

“Expecting one individual to be well-versed in both is never easy. So you need a strong cross-skilling programme that can combine technical and management capabilities to the desired levels,” Batra explained.

Boot camps for freshers

EY GDS has developed strong internal training programme with its own bouquet of courses and tie-ups with external providers. It significantly invests on freshers since, while strong on intellect, they do not have requisite skills.

“So we have boot camps which could range from 15 days to as long as two months to give training depending on where we want to put an individual in. The entry level is heavily focused on technical training while middle management is a combination of general management and business land client leadership training,” Batra added.

Published on March 21, 2022
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