With a number of new banks and payments banks set to enter the market, larger incumbent private sector lenders are facing a huge challenge in retaining talent.

Banks such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank are facing the brunt of employee attrition with Bandhan Bank launching operations last month and IDFC Bank set to take off next month.

IDFC, which will turn into a bank on October 1, has hired three senior HDFC Bank executives — Biju Pillai, Amit Kumar and Birendra Sahu — to craft its retail strategy. In addition, the RBI had granted payments bank licences to 11 players last month and has given in-principle approval to 10 applicants for small banks.

The new banks are offering 100 per cent salary hikes at junior level and 30-60 per cent at the middle and senior levels.

Jairam Sridharan, President of Consumer Lending for Axis Bank, said: “Of course there is concern over attrition. The ability to retain talent is the lowest in many years. The talent hunt is across e-commerce and now payments banks.”

Aggressive hiring

A senior official of a mid-sized private bank said, “IDFC and Bandhan Bank have been aggressive in hiring from the big banks. We also always hire from the big banks. So yes, poaching has definitely increased.”

Zubin Mody, Executive Vice-President and Head of Human Resources at IndusInd Bank, said attrition is more likely to happen at the junior and middle management levels. 

“Employees at these levels look for rapid growth in grade and salary and often feel these will come from the next employer. We have put in place the right mechanism and culture to ensure that our employees stay with us.”

Shinjini Kumar, Leader (Banking and Capital Markets), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) India, said more than the skill the recruitments will be about getting people who are more resilient and ready to adapt to change.

According to Moorthy K Uppaluri, CEO, Randstad India, an HR consultancy firm, though some migration will happen from existing banks, the new entrants should look at newer pools of talent instead of creating a hole to plug another hole. “Banks should take a more strategic view to develop talent like the IT industry did during the Y2K.”