Stock Options Continue To Be A Sharp Tool In New Formations

New Delhi: | Updated: Nov 17 2003, 05:30am hrs
Executive search firm Stanton Chase International recently held its global partners convention in New Delhi, primarily to emphasise the significance of India in the worldwide sweepstakes for executive positions and its emergence as a key outsourcing destination for business processes.

Sounding upbeat on the potential for Indian technology and BPO firms, StantonChase chairman H Edward (Ted) Muendel spoke with eFE on executive hiring trends, with a focus on the tech and knowledge space.

What are the emerging signs on hiring senior and top-level people in the tech sector now that it is warming up again
The critical importance from Indian-origin technology firms point of view is to attract matured biz-developers who combine aggression and industry knowledge. These managers bring in business-flow into the Indian firms.

The acute shortage of senior business developers who can acquire business at the present moment which is called post-bubble era is being felt by offshore firms.

With Microsoft moving away from stock options as a retention and motivational tool, has that triggered a trend amongst technology firms
Stock options continue to be a cutting edge whenever there is an M&A or new legal structure being created. Employees trusts are allocated a sizeable equity for reissuance for key employees at the prevailing market price and then the employees strive to raise the upside.

Stock options continue to be a sharp tool in new formations.

What are the key technology areas, verticals and geographies that are seeing an uptick in hiring across levels
There are hirings across the entire spectrum. Chiefly at semi-conductor level for skills such as very large scale integration and design automation, at the system software levels especially relating to telecom and the regular enterprise technologies including mobile and Internet-based platforms.

What are the key areas (in the broader economy and global geographies) in which hiring is taking off and what are the sectors that are witnessing a pick-up
There is a slowdown in hirings in the US and UK. Substantive leadership hirings are centered in Asia. In the West, hiring takes place at a rate which is driven more by replacement and not necessarily fueled by growth. On the other hand, in Asia leadership appointments are for pursuing new avenues of growth. At the moment we are hiring laterally out of the box for sunrise sectors such as insurance, telecom, BPO and also at the same time for the core sectors such as power, oil & gas, manufacturing and so on.

With the growing awareness about corporate governance issues what has been the impact on executive compensations
In the US it is now plain-vanilla, easily explainable and board approved compensation. If the chief executive earned US $10 million buoyed by stock gains, variable bonuses, attractive pensions and various other handouts, this is now clearly thing of the past. It is now more fixed and a variable compensation approved by the compensation committee and audited by the audit committee.

After the boom-bust and now the upswing, what is the emerging trend of potential senior managers towards start-ups Is the caginess wearing off and is there renewed interest in new and early stage companies
Senior managers do like challenges and are backing up good ideas and good leadership.There is a bit of an increasing slide towards pharma, advanced technology, bio-medical, BPO and consumer services such as retailing, credit card, mortgages both in the US and internationally.

Apart from layoffs, people were sticking to their jobs during the downturn. Do you now see a pick-up in employee turnover across levels What are the key sectors that are witnessing a (relatively) higher employee turnover
Employee turnover is towards higher opportunities and challenges. It is not particularly definable from the market segment point of view. Corporates are looking at bright CEOs and bright functional directors. There are instances where people a couple of layers down in large organisations are sourced out for CEO jobs elsewhere. The current phase of job movements is more leap-frog jumps and opportunistic in nature.

With the offshoring of software development, business processes and now even IT infrastructure management, do you see an interest among US and European job seekers (not people of Indian origin) for positions in India
Ideally it is in businesses which demand business development and transitioning to be carried in base locations be it Europe or US. There are people not of Indian origin who want to work for Indian companies for UK or US-based locations.

Indians resident in the US have been in positions of leadership with some of the technology majors and even finance, consultancy and old economy companies. Do you see Indian-born/Indian-origin people as CXOs and CEOs emerging as preferred hires
When Mckinsey can have an Indian CEO or Vodafone can have an Indian CEO, Carly Fiorina, Warren Buffet & Bill Gates can have high-profile Indians as their cronies and key business shooters, why not This trend can only increase.

There seems to be a flood of Indians returning to India after stints of varying lengths in the US. What opportunities are you helping them tap
Indians returning to India from the technology sector get into the delivery organisations one way or the other. Indians from other industries or services sector also join-up technology firms but front-end to these firms by being employed as CEOs or business developers.