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Employment in the private sector
2019: MNCs take lead in veteran hiring
At least three multinational companies in India — Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and UBS — have begun hiring programmes for armed forces veterans. These are perhaps the first such organised programmes in the country for a community that is welltrained, but often find themselves without a job when they are 45 years or less.
Veteran hiring is big in countries like the US, where they are valued for their training, discipline, experience and motivation. A search result will show up numerous sites devoted to such hiring. In India, veterans have been valued by some for roles in administration and security in particular. But a concerted move to create awareness about the issues around veterans, and to help them transition to a corporate role has been lacking.
It is this that the financial services giants — all of which have extensive technology and business operations in India — are changing. Wells Fargo started its India programme in April, and it’s part of a global initiative to take its veteran count to 20,000 by next year from about 9,000 now. It has already hired 17 and plans to scale it up significantly. Five of these had completed executive post-graduate programmes from IIMIndore, and two from IIM-Ahmedabad. They are being hired for a variety of positions, including the risk function and tech project management.
“We are working with each vertical leader to open up certain positions for veterans,” said Parthajit Panda, senior VP and head of corporate risk at Wells Fargo’s enterprise global services unit in India. This unit employs about 18,000 people across offices in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai. Panda is a former Navy commander and was associated with the nuclear submarine project as information security officer.
The banks are working with these agencies, as well as dedicated job portals like Faujnet, Soldier Second Life and Military to Corporate, to hire veterans.
UBS India launched a pilot India Veteran Programme in February this year and has already hired eight veterans. UBS country head (India) Harry Egger himself is a veteran of the Swiss Air Force. “We strongly believe that their diverse backgrounds make a significant contribution to the success of the firm,” he said.
Egger said the selection process is stringent. “Our induction programme is designed both to facilitate the smooth transition of these officers and build on the technical and functional skills they acquired in the forces, to enhance their management and technical skills in the corporate world,” he said.
Goldman Sachs started the Bengaluru chapter of its Armed Forces Integration Program (AFIP) some five years ago. Since then, it has offered internships to 41 officers, and about 50% of them have become full-time employees. “The officers bring with them operations, process & project management, risk & crisis management, analytics and administration skills, which we value highly,” said Goldman Sachs India head (human capital management) Vidya Laksmi.
Wells Fargo India MD Arindam Banerrji said when veterans come straight out of the service, it’s a different world altogether. So existing veterans are assigned as their buddies to help them settle into the corporate world.