India Inc On a Hiring Binge as CSR Grows in Scale, Scope; Salaries Zoom

WIDE ANGLE Demand grows in large and mid-sized firms; salaries up by nearly 50% at the leadership level as companies look for specialists

In February, Vikas Goswami joined Godrej Industries Limited & Associated Companies as head of Good & Green, the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) division, moving from her prior assignment as group head ­ community relations, Vedanta Resources.

About six months ago, Abhishek Patwardhan moved from the chemicals industry to Maruti Suzuki as deputy manager in its CSR projects. Around the same time, Amit Kumar, a civil engineer, moved from the hardcore construction sector to work with Maruti in its CSR infrastructure projects.

A little over two years after the Companies Bill made it mandatory for firms to spend 2% of their net profit on CSR, Corporate India looks set for an aggressive recruitment drive for qualified professionals to lead and manage CSR initiatives, leading to a 40-50% increase in salary at the leadership level.Additionally, CSR is emerging from being an additional charge of the human resource or communication departments to an independent function that requires skilled project managers.

“The demand for social professionals has gone up.Companies have scaled up their efforts especially after the implementation of the Companies Law from April 1, 2014,“ says Ranjit Singh, general manager, CSR and sustainability at Maruti Suzuki.

Mid-sized companies are willing to offer Rs 50-60 lakh for the right candidate amid a paucity of supply. Although in large conglomerates, the salary of a CSR head could be between Rs 60 lakh and Rs 90 lakh. “There is a huge pick-up in hiring for CSR roles. We have been receiving active enquiries from companies for talent with 5-7 years’ experience in CSR and 20-25 years’ experience in the corporate sector,“ says Lakshmi Santhanam, co-head, support functions hiring, at executive search firm Vito India Advisors. Demand for CSR professionals has gone up by 40-50% across levels, she says.

Average compensation for most CSR roles, however, is low as compared to similar levels in other management functions. The average salary of an entrylevel field officer from a top social work school is Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh per annum. The salary range for senior CSR professionals, even CSR heads, is not more than Rs 25-30 lakh for people with 18-20 years of experience.Though at the GM or VP level, it could go up to Rs 60 lakh to Rs 90 lakh per annum, but that is only for a handful of large conglomerates.

“Many companies are either looking for someone to head CSR while others (bigger players) are looking for CEOs to head their foundations,“ says A Ramachandran, cli ent partner, EMA Partners International, which is doing CEO searches for foundations of leading technology companies.

Several large conglomerates like the Tata Group, Aditya Birla Group, Marico, Maruti Suzuki, among others, are involved in a wide range of CSR activities.But now, even mid-sized companies are hunting for talent in this space, says Deloitte senior director P Thiruvengadam. The demand is not only for seasoned social professionals to execute and monitor social projects but also for specialists.

Maruti, for instance, needs people from a civil engineering background for a village sanitation project. “For the school upgradation programme where the target is to move from 7 to 20 schools over the next two to three years, we need civil engineers to monitor the progress of school infrastructure,“ says Singh. The company will step up hiring.

Also, with funds pouring into CSR, companies need to spruce up their teams. “There is demand for people who can identify and articulate proposals, deploy projects, attract funds, work out the budget,“ says Aditya Narayan Mishra, Aditya Narayan Mishra, president staffing, Randstad India.

Adds Bhaskar Chatterjee, director general and chief executive officer of Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, “I see a trend in which CSR will not be an additional charge. That `also’ word is now going to disappear from our lexicon.“ He estimates 14,00016,000 companies will soon come under the ambit of the CSR law and each will need three to four good professionals, which means about 45,000-50,000 people.

“There is serious money involved and you need a proper mechanism to channelise the money,“ says Saket Jain, managing partner, Vito India.

Management institutes too are aware of the demand. ISB recently partnered with IICA to offer a short-term certificate programme in CSR management. “Earlier CSR was seen as a donation for brand building… But now it is money for undertaking projects. That is a different ball game,“ says Pradeep Singh, CEO Mohali campus and deputy dean, Indian School of Business.

Public sector companies too are on a recruitment drive for experienced CSR professionals. In 2014, Coal India recruited 120 management trainees in CSR from leading institutes like IRMA, TISS, etc.This year, the company is on the lookout for middlelevel managers, says R Mohandas, director, personnel and industrial relation at Coal India.

This is one mandate that organisations across the board are taking seriously.

Source – Economic Times

Date – 20-03-2015

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