India feels the talent squeeze

May 29 2007 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Despite being blessed with one of the world's biggest labour pools, Indian financial services businesses are struggling to find graduates with the right management and people skills.

While Indian universities are now taking on the West in the quality of their technical and theoretical training, when it comes to "soft skills" the sub-continent still has a long way to go, a study by KPMG and the UK-India Education and Research Initiative has found.

Nevertheless, the scale of India's financial services boom can be gauged by the fact that recruitment outpaced that of the UK last year, with many firms hiring as many as 5,000 new workers and some even more than that.

Yet both Britain and India are now facing a severe skills crunch, the survey warns.

Ian Gomes, KPMG's UK chairman of new and emerging, said the recruitment of the right talent into the financial services industry was now a big issue in both London and Mumbai.

"Our report shows that graduates are leaving education with inspiring theoretical knowledge but lack practical job-related skills," he said.

"There is a 'soft skills gap' developing. The findings of our report will be used to inform joint curriculum projects in both the UK and India to help address this," he added.

Financial services organisations in both the UK and India were experiencing staff shortages and the subsequent lack of employees with the right skills was leading to a fierce war for talent.

Indian and British firms were therefore now looking less for technical skills, which were considered as something new recruits could be given upon joining, and more skills around teamwork, communication, client relationship management, customer services, business awareness and problem solving.

In India in particular there was growing evidence that employers were now working closely with universities and colleges to develop sponsored training programmes.

More summer and winter placements were also being offered to new graduates to help them develop their practical experience, the report added.