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IT tries fancy designations to retain talent
Mini Joseph Tejaswi, TNN

The Economic Times | 5 January, 2008

BANGALORE: The corporate talent poaching war is prompting Indian technology firms to offer fancy and important sounding designations to employees - designations often much at variance with their nature of work.

Some call it the 'bada title, chhota kaam' (big title, small work) phenomenon. Take Vijay Devraj (name changed) (28), a techie who quit his job as senior systems engineer three months ago to join a tier I tech firm as associate vice president (AVP). "I got a terrific deal in terms of designation and money,'' says Devraj.

So, what does it mean to him? "Are you asking about my new role and responsibility? Well, by and large, I am still a systems engineer. I was partially responsible for delivery in my previous job, and that will continue here as well.''

Enterprises have been under huge pressure to retain talent. "This merciless war for talent has been forcing tech firms to explore new ways to retain and attract people. Titles are played up in almost 50% of all lateral tech hiring in the country," says Praveen Khataria, a talent expert.

On the contrary, in an MNC, the roles of AVP, VP or director mean a lot, and a country head may even be a general manager. "The strategy is to create a false 'grade equivalent'," says VG Nirupama , MD, AdAstra.
"It's a new hiring game being tried out by several desi enterprises. Candidates with high aspirations fall for it.'' Corporates are even revising their HR policies to incorporate the trend.

"Designations and titles have become the order of the day. More than money, candidates are easily convinced by attractive designations. No one today is willing to wait for years to get into corporate hot seats,'' says Saraswathi Venkateswaran, president, CEO Search India.

This trend was rampant among banks. And some like Ahmed Ali, MD of talent advisory firm Cornucopia worry that it might now dilute the value and meaning of designations in the IT industry.

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