New Delhi: The country’s largest power generation utility, NTPC Ltd plans to raise the number of business unit, or BU, leaders—typically those who play a pivotal role in running its power projects—by seven-fold to 300 shortly, and pay them more as it attempts to hire and retain engineering talent.
The state-owned company, which plans to step up training its managers as part of the goal, has some 45 BU leaders, including regional executive directors, who manage its regional operations. The company is trying to stem employee desertions for higher paying private sector jobs.
NTPC defines a BU leader as one who runs its power projects and has cross-functional skills in business development, project execution and strategic sourcing, among other things.
“The growth is so fast that we require (more of) these BU leaders. In order to do so, we have to create a pipeline of a few thousand managers...we recruit around 1,000 employees every year at the entry level (in engineering and related professions),” said R.C. Shrivastav, director, human resources, at NTPC.
The firm has a power generation capacity of 29,394MW across its 26 power projects. It posted a net profit of Rs7,129.30 crore on revenue of Rs37,004.60 crore in the fiscal year to March.
The company now has a staff strength of 24,000, of which around 11,000 are executives. Of these, some 5,000 people are at a managerial level.
Some human resource expoerts are sceptical about the efficacy of the company’s move.
“Any employee retention strategy has to be holistic in looking at true role enrichment and empowerment. Notional title changes...will have very limited returns,” said Bangalore-based human resources adviser Hema Ravichandar.
While NTPC recruited 500 engineers to entry-level executive positions in 2007-08, it increased the intake by 40% to 700 engineers in the current year. The numbers are expected to go up by 100 engineers and 300 engineers in 2009-10 and 2010-11, respectively.
NTPC is putting an aggressive human resources strategy in place as it lost 400 engineers in the past one year to private sector firms such as Tata Power Co. Ltd, Reliance Infrastructure Ltd (earlier known as Reliance Energy Ltd) and Lanco Infratech Ltd.
Currently, the private sector companies are recruiting only for construction and project management roles for power projects. NTPC expects that once the projects become fully operational, the companies will lure away its operations and maintenance engineers as well.
The salary offered by NTPC is marginally higher than the private sector’s for entry-level engineering positions. But engineers employed in senior manager-level positions in private sector firms earn salaries four times that of their public sector counterparts. A senior manager-level employee at NTPC typically earns around Rs8-10 lakh per annum.
NTPC also has plans to offer hydroelectric power project and coal-mining engineers additional allowances—as much as 60% more than what its other employees currently get, as reported by Mint on 19 July.
The newly created NTPC Bhel Power Projects Pvt. Ltd aims to offer pay packages similar to those offered by the private sector, as reported by Mint on 26 August.