This is the full text of the interview in ENGLISH with Malcolm H Wagget, Chief Operating Officer, HSBC Global Resourcing- South Asia, that was published in DIKSUCHI, a book supplement of Andhrajyothy, a Telugu Daily News Paper, on 28th February, 2006.

This is to help those of my column readers who would like to get the original interview in English.

* Work force is now expected to be more skill savvy, knowledge dependent. There seems to be a lot of activity in hiring for the Finance and Banking Industry. Is HSBC looking into this? If so, why and if NOT why not?

– HSBC Global Resourcing is actively involved in recruiting for its businesses to cater to its customers. We have successful operations in all the cities in India that we operate at viz., Hyderabad, Bangalore, Vizag and Kolkata. One of the things that worked for us is our close association with educational institutions and government bodies to develop skills and knowledge of applicants in the Banking and Financial Services Industry.

* What are the basic / fundamental skill sets that HSBC is looking for in the potential employee?

– For a potential entry level employee, HSBC looks at the following skills and qualifications:
i. Excellent communication skills in English
ii. Ability to interpret and handle complex numerical data
iii. Strong customer service orientation
iv. Excellent interpersonal skills
v. Negotiation skills
vi. Good Keyboard skills
vii. Flexibility to work in shifts
viii. A 12th pass or graduation certificate

* Do / are the aspirants meeting the challenges when offered a position with the corporate entity?

– Upon joining HSBC all new employees undergo a comprehensive training to understand the job requirements and gain the skills required, they are also given support while they are new on the job. This enables the employees to meet the challenges of a position they are recruited for.

* Are they helping your productivity?

– During the training period all employees are trained to perform to an expected level of customer delight, which not only helps the employees maintain emphasis on productivity but also on quality.

* Is HSBC looking at Freshers?

– Diversity has always been a key element of HSBC’s people Strategy. At HSBC Global Resourcing, we look at a diversified set of skills and age groups. It is interesting to note that in the entry-level while we recruit candidates with less than 2 years of experience, we also have a considerable number of employees above 30 years of age.

* Is it just plain academic brilliance, excellent people skills or a mix of both- if so could you be more specific

– In today’s competitive employment market one cannot succeed with just one or two skills. While recruiting for HSBC, we look at an array of skill-sets along with a high level of general aptitude in all the candidates. Good customer service skills, ability to work well with a team and pro-activeness are some of the facets we look for in a potential employee.

* When the aspirant or the job seeker doesn’t have the access to these so called life skills (soft skills like – communication, presentation, leadership skills in addition to the academic excellence what do the corporate entities do?

– Learning is an ongoing aspect at HSBC Global Resourcing. We have a state-of-the-art Learning & Development Centre with a well-experienced training team. Employees are provided with opportunities to develop their communication, leadership, presentation anbehavioralal abilities along with technical training about their job-role.

* Presuming that the applicant gets into HSBC, does it upgrade her skills?

– HSBC recognises the importance of a trained workforce in order to meet change positively and seize opportunities for success. We are wholeheartedly committed to the development of a learning culture and training is at the forefront of many of our strategic initiatives. We therefore encourage each individual to consider the benefits of being involved in some form of learning, either to build on their strengths or work on their development areas.
– Apart from the traditional medium like classroom training, we continue to provide alternatives and are moving towards solutions that offer full training programmes using a variety of blended media including e-Learning through the intranet.

* What are these skills that HSBC feels that the applicant is lacking?

Could you be more specific like at the entry level, and @ the middle level managements?
– When we talk about the ITeS industry, proficiency in English is one of the key skills required. Though generally speaking, Indians have considerably good English speaking skills, we could do with some improvement especially at the entry-level.

* Could you, yourself, in a few words tell us about what the situation was say a five years ago in

your own domain?
– We are happy to note that the outsourcing industry in India has reached a certain level of maturity today, than about five years ago. Awareness has been created about the industry in different tier cities and more and more young individuals are choosing the industry as a career choice today.

* Where do you think it would be, say three years hence? What could be the basic / fundamental

needs of entities in your own field at that point of time?
– According to an analyst report by the year 2008, the Indian ICT services and back office work is expected to swell five-fold to a $57 billion employing 4 million people and accounting for 7 percent of India’s gross domestic product.
– There will certainly be a greater need for ready to employ talent in the market. However, fundamental needs will be to focus on Talent Attraction, Acquisition, Development and Retention.

* What is HSBC’S contribution to the society in this regard and what is your advice to the job

seekers & Freshers in particular?
– When we talk about the ITeS industry, proficiency in English is one of the key skills required. Though generally speaking, Indians have considerably good English speaking skills, we could do with some improvement especially at the entry-level. We are also faced with such situations more than often. We are glad to inform you about the imminent launch of HSBC Global Resourcing’s English Language Development Program, which will cater to the youth who wish to enhance their Spoken English skills and brighten their prospects of employment in HSBC or in the ITeS industry as a whole.
– HSBC is also working in close association with NASSCOM and APSCHE for supporting initiatives on Industry awareness and curriculum changes to be able to nurture a greater talent pool
– We would advice job seekers and Freshers who are aiming for this industry to focus on the key requirements of the job and develop their skills accordingly.

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