Money & Banking

Wave of bank mergers may sink fresh hiring

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on September 04, 2019 Published on September 04, 2019

The PSU bank merger is expected to impact the recruitment of clerks, in particular. File photo of a Canara Bank branch in Mumbai   -  Emmanual Yogini

‘Dip in recruitment, a natural offshoot of rationalisation’

Even as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman assured the unions last week that the mega merger of 10 public sector banks into four entities will not lead to job losses, it looks likely that the sector will see a tapering of fresh hiring.

The Centre had announced last week that Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, the Union Bank of India, Indian Bank, the United Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, Syndicate Bank, Corporation Bank, the Oriental Bank of Commerce and Andhra Bank would be merged to create four big lenders — Punjab National Bank (PNB), Canara Bank, the Union Bank of India and Indian Bank.

Read: Bank mergers won’t lead to any job loss, assures Finance Minister

Per IBPS (Institute of Banking Personnel Selection) data, these banks have been major recruiters over the years, which will change now.

“Reduction in fresh recruitment will be a natural consequence of any merger as rationalisation of branches and staff will have to be worked out to optimise resources,’’ a senior PNB official told Business Line on the condition of anonymity.

Fewer openings

According to CS Vepa, former director of the National School of Banking and the present Director of Vepa Academy, recruitment notifications expected to come up this year may feature fewer openings.

“Already, over the years, there has been a steady decline in recruitment conducted by the IBPS for its member-banks. The number of clerical vacancies has come down progressively to 7,275 last year from 19,243 in 2016, while (the number of) probationary officer posts dropped to 4,336 this year from 16,722 in 2016 per IBPS data,’’ he said.

The hiring of clerks is more likely to be impacted as so far no notification has come up.

Also read: IDBI Bank to get additional ₹9,000-cr infusion

When asked about human resource management at SBI when its associate banks were merged with it in 2017, a top executive said: “There was rationalisation of branches and optimisation of staff across the country.’’

The SBI example

The staff of SBI before and after the merger also confirm a likely dip in hiring.

In FY17 (before the merger), 13,097 had joined SBI against the retirement of 11,264. But in FY18, the fresh addition was only 3,211 even as 18,973 retired. As of March 2019, the total number of employees decreased to 2,57,252 from 2,64,041 the previous year.

The bank had also said earlier that achieving optimal manpower by leveraging data and technology would be its focus.

As a majority of applicants for bank jobs in the country are engineering graduates, this is likely to the impact the overall job market scenario.

“The Finance Minister says there will no job loss due to the merger. But the real issue for us is the creation of new jobs, which will be hit,’’ said Challa Gangadhar, an engineer who is preparing for the bank exams.

Published on September 04, 2019
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