State Bank of India to go slow on hiring; others likely to follow suit

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on March 13, 2018 Published on February 19, 2014

New challenges SBI Managing Director A Krishna Kumar at the inaugurationof an ATM at Sanathnagar in Hyderabad. - Photo: PV SIVAKUMAR

Trend indicates bankers’ move to cut cost, boost productivity from existing employees

In what could be an indication of the challenging economic situation, State Bank of India (SBI), the biggest recruiter among public sector banks, is scaling down fresh hiring.

The country’s largest lender, which used to hire 30,000-35,000 employees annually till a few years ago, has slowed down fresh recruitments since last year amid rising staff expenses and other concerns. And this is happening at a time when last year’s notification of 2,000 probationary officers’ vacancies attracted 17 lakh candidates. This recruitment is still under way.

“Our total employee strength is around 2.2 lakh after the recent retirement of about 3,000. We would like to maintain this staff strength for a couple of years,” Managing Director A Krishna Kumar told newspersons here on Wednesday.

Asked if this would mean going slow on recruitment, he said SBI was quite active in hiring of late and would now prefer to stabilise its workforce at the present levels. Any sudden decrease in hiring might impact the business. “But at the same time, I should not increase my staff so much that my productivity and my expense becomes an issue." Asked whether the number of retirements, which were on the higher side till recently, was coming down, Kumar said retirements would continue to be in good numbers in the industry till 2018.

However, this may disappoint bank-job aspirants. “From last year, the recruitment has come down compared to previous years. We have been waiting for a fresh notification of clerical recruitment for the last six months, which did not come out till date,” said the head of a noted training institute for bank recruitment exams.

SBI’s plans to stabilise workforce could be an indication of a trend wherein public sector banks might squeeze higher productivity from existing staff, instead of increasing employee base rapidly to cut costs.

For SBI, the staff expenses went up by 35 per cent in the nine months ended December 31 compared to the year-ago period. So was the case with many other banks.

Andhra Bank, for instance, is also going slow on hiring. “We have hired a large number in the last couple of years, and we also need to consolidate before fresh recruitment,” CVR Rajendran, Chairman and Managing Director, Andhra Bank said.

Many banks are yet to come up with the final number of vacancies likely to be notified in the next financial year.

Published on February 19, 2014
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