Vet­er­ans not Keen to Jump Ship to Fight for Star­tups

Se­nior tal­ent chooses job se­cu­rity above fat pay or startup ex­pe­ri­ence

The Economic Times - - Front Page - Sreer­adha.Basu @times­

Mum­bai: A vet­eran in the con­sumer goods in­dus­try re­cently got an of­fer to join an ecom­merce ma­jor at a top po­si­tion. He re­jected it sum­mar­ily. An­other ex­ec­u­tive who was iden­ti­fied by a startup to hire as its cor­po­rate af­fairs head sud­denly got cold feet. In his case, the com­pany in ques­tion had very re­cently raised funds and was do­ing well, but that didn’t pro­vide the se­cu­rity he wanted.

“Star­tups are un­sta­ble,” he told the re­cruiter man­dated to carry out the search.

What were the hottest CXO jobs un­til a few months ago are now in­creas­ingly get­ting the cold shoul­der from po­ten­tial em­ploy­ees, as star­tups, no­tably in the show­piece ecom­merce seg­ment, wade into an un­cer­tain en­vi­ron­ment. Funds have be­come hard to come by for home­grown com­pa­nies slashed valu­a­tions, lay­offs and man­age­ment up­heavals con­tribut­ing to over­all un­cer­tainty in sec­tor

to 50% in­crease in back­outs/ de­clines

work cul­ture an­other put-off

through tak­ing much longer to close

with greater em­pha­sis on vari­able, an­other prob­lem

and valu­a­tions have shrunk, even as the com­pet­i­tive in­ten­sity in the mar­kets they op­er­ate in re­fused to ebb with deep-pock­eted for­eign ri­vals con­tin­u­ing to bankroll their In­dian op­er­a­tions. Lay­offs and man­age­ment up­heavals have be­come fairly com­mon.

Top ex­ec­u­tive search firms such as Transearch, Long­house Con­sult­ing, RGF Ex­ec­u­tive Search and An­tal In­ter­na­tional said they were find­ing it tough to con­vince can­di­dates to sign up for CXO roles in ecom­merce com­pa­nies and other star­tups. In re­cent months they have recorded up to a 50% in­crease in of­fer re­jec­tions. Even when a can­di­date is ready to join, it is tak­ing longer to close the process.

“When times are good, ev­ery­one wants to jump in. When things slow down, the music stops,” said San­deep Murthy, part­ner at ven­ture cap­i­tal firm Light­box Ven­tures.

For se­nior tal­ent, job se­cu­rity has be­come far more im­por­tant than the ex­cite­ment of work­ing at a new-age com­pany of­fer­ing a fat pay packet along with gen­er­ous stock op­tions, which though come em­bed­ded with great risks.

Tal­ent Hunt

How­ever, com­pa­nies are wait­ing for the GST roll­out, ex­pected some­time this year, be­fore fi­nal­is­ing plans.

This also ap­plies to In­dian and for­eign com­pa­nies that made in­vest­ments based on the 11.5% duty dif­fer­en­tial be­tween lo­cally made prod­ucts and im­ports.

“They have asked for long-term sta­bil­ity of pol­icy, but the main is­sue is whether if they man­u­fac­ture in In­dia, they would not be at a cost dis­ad­van­tage com­pared to ear­lier,” Sun­darara­jan said.

“The GST Coun­cil is still evolv­ing, so we can’t cat­e­gor­i­cally say what kind of view they will take.”

The coun­cil, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive body of the Cen­tre and the states, will de­cide the GST rates. The key is­sue will be cop­ing with the tran­si­tion as GST takes ef­fect, Sun­darara­jan said.

Mind­ful of the sit­u­a­tion, the depart­ment has set up an In­vest In­dia arm to hand­hold com­pa­nies, Sun­darara­jan said.

“We have very cat­e­gor­i­cally told them that In­dia is open for in­vest­ments and that we’re there to sup­port them,” she said.

The key is­sue will be cop­ing with the tran­si­tion to GST, said Sun­darara­jan

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