This is truly an era that allows you to live your life on your own terms, at least as far as a job is concerned. The contours of employment have changed to the extent that you can now be a full-time employee or a part-time staffer; run your own business or take a break and find a second career later. In short, you have the options to work and make a living the way you deem fit.
Fresh graduates have become the most sought after group of potential employees in the past 15 years or so. Campus placements happen as early as in the pre-final year and some companies groom students right from the first year through mentoring and project work to assess the potential of their future employees. The IT industry, the largest recruiter of fresh graduates, is the forerunner in this quest for young talent.
A report jointly released by Wheebox, PeopleStrong and Linkedin in association with CII, says that over 72 per cent of Indian employers prefer young talent below 30 years. So, if you’re a fresher with talent and capability, companies will welcome you with open arms, unlike in your parents’ time when the decisive criteria for employment was prior work experience.
If you’re not the type that would fit in a work environment with set rules and the pressure to be content with slow organic growth, the entrepreneurial world will be more than happy to induct you. In these booming times for entrepreneurship, all that is required of aspiring businessmen is a workable idea. Finance, market access, hiring assistance and infrastructure are all coming together like never before. Right from the Centre’s Rs10,000-crore fund for startups to the new impetus across industry bodies to groom fledgling entrepreneurs under their fold and the changing mindset about getting into business, the ecosystem became more than conducive this year.
“When I started out, there wasn’t much help available anywhere. Fast forward twenty years and now you have everything served almost on a platter,” says Arun Jain, executive chairman of Polaris Consulting & Services. “Finance is available if you go to the right places and industry veterans are willing to mentor upcoming entrepreneurs. But to be successful, you will have to relentlessly pursue and go after people for their help. If you keep knocking on doors, you will get the right guidance.”
Entrepreneur incubation/mentorship programmes are the latest fad with industry bodies. Almost all of them have initiatives lined up to identify, encourage and aid startup firms not only in IT but also other verticals.
Again, you don’t have to be fresher or a college dropout for investors to pay attention to your idea. You have enough opportunities, in fact more, if you are an industry veteran, who wants to try out entrepreneurship for a change. “In fact, it’s the 40-plus that are becoming entrepreneurs more than the fresh graduates. We are seeing a lot of people who have seen career success here in India or abroad, quitting their jobs to become businessmen. This is true of people who have saved a corpus and are entering social sectors including agriculture and related businesses,” says Chandu Nair, a Chennai-based entrepreneur and angel investor.
Doesn’t matter if you don’t belong to any of the above categories; if you’re the type that detests full-time work and or being tied to an organisation, you have space to exist as well. Several corporate organisations offer partial or full work-from-home options that help employees to be in control of their schedules. The BPO sector is actively looking at this form of employment and some have even started to implement them.
Medical transcription leader Nuance Transcription Services India has extended the facility to its employees, especially in the lower cadres. Traditionally, the only impediment for such options was salary calculation — how to measure attendance and detect salary for absence when employees don’t come to office, was the big question.
“There is a fixed salary component and a variable part for our employees. The variable portion depends on the number of lines they transcribe per month,” says Suresh Nair, head of operations for Nuance Transcription Services India. “A vast majority of our transcribers in the US are employed under the work-from-home option. We would want to replicate that in India as well.”
As a special case within this category of employment, if you are an expert in your field and don’t want to be tied to one organisation, consultancy options are now aplenty. Companies large and small are now open to hiring manpower consultants CXO-level employees on a per-project basis for better efficiency.
“Doctors have all along been working on a consultancy basis in multiple hospitals. Why shouldn’t other specialists do so?” asks S Venkataraman, director of MyCFO. The company offers outsourced CFO services, which means it works with organisations that require CFO presence but find it difficult to attract the right talent; promoters having misgivings about having highly paid full-time professional employees on board as CFO, and where a CFO may have resigned and an interim arrangement needs to be made or when there is a competent CFO in place, but the firm needs support in project-specific initiatives. Even CEOs are now hired on a consulting basis, he adds.
Lastly, if you’re a woman who values her career but has familial responsibilities as well, you won’t be forced to choose between the two. You can have both with your head held high. By providing facilities from extended maternity leave to childcare and second-career options, organisations are becoming sensitive to your special needs.
Says BVR Mohan Reddy, founder and executive chairman of Cyient Ltd: “We offer six-hour work days exclusively for women with childcare needs. Moreover, we try to accommodate them with work that provides them the right flexibility.” Companies like Yahoo are even more progressive. Their CEO Marissa Meyer delivered immediately after joining Yahoo from Google and she understands the pains women go through while balancing work and family.
The company has recently rolled out improved benefits to support the “happiness and wellbeing of Yahoo employees and their families.” The New Child Daily Habits programme at Yahoo’s Bangalore unit includes five basic types of services used within 15 days after the birth/adoption of a child such as dry cleaning/laundry; housecleaning; groceries; cooking/food delivery/take-out, and babysitter/child care/nanny services.
Employees also get longer new child leave; new moms can now take up to 16 weeks of paid leave while new dads can take up to eight weeks of leave. So, what are you waiting for? This is the best time to go to work, and with all these facilities and options, you are your own boss with the final say on your schedule.