New Delhi: Kartik Talwar, 23, is about to graduate from the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (IIM-K), and is eyeing a career that is relatively new among the business school set.
“I want real estate consulting or a job in a real estate firm,” said Talwar, an engineer who will enter the job market for the first time. “I talked to a few architects in my batch, plus alumni, and realized this is what I want to be.”
New horizon: Kartik Talwar, IIM Kozhikode batch of 2008, is looking for a job in the real estate sector.
Two real estate companies — DLF Ltd and K Raheja Universal Pvt. Ltd— have asked for slots to recruit at IIM-K when job placements begin in the first week of March for the 2008 batch. The school is also expecting some real estate consulting firms and realty funds to make offers to graduates.
The trend is significant because real estate has historically been an unorganized sector of the economy, relying on family ties and personal connections for its talent pool. But if past experience and recruitment on college campuses — information technology in the 1990s, financial services and consulting in recent years — is any indication, the aggressive wooing of fresh management graduates reflects the changing and growing nature of the industry. Retail companies, for instance, were seen on campuses last year, a few months after giants such as Reliance Industries Ltd and Bharti Enterprises Ltd announced plans to enter the sector.
Real estate in India has already seen a rise in mid-level salaries and high attrition rates. A number of real estate firms tapped the capital market last year—developers, including DLF, Omaxe Ltd and Puravankara Projects Ltd, raised around $3.7 billion (Rs14,689 crore) in 2007. Another company, Emaar MGF Land Ltd, shelved an initial public offering earlier this month due to the turbulent stock market.
Still, the growth in the business has translated into big-time hiring. “For the first time, we have become very aggressive regarding people,” said D.P. Srivastava, director of Omaxe, who looks after nine divisions of the company, including human resources. “Our expansion has been very fast in the last two years.”
Omaxe has invitations from six to seven business schools such as the privately-run Amity Business School and the Indian Institute of Planning and Management in New Delhi, and Nagpur’s Institute of Management Technology. It plans to hire 25 management graduates, and wants a total of 40 new recruits, including finance and engineering graduates.
For most business schools, real estate companies are first-time recruiters. “Real estate developers and infrastructure companies are the new trend,” said Saikat Dutta, who is on the student placement committee at IIM-Bangalore.
Most placement representatives that Mint interviewed, including Dutta and those from IIM-Indore, declined to reveal the names of the real estate companies that will recruit on their campuses. Business schools compete for top recruiters as much as companies fight for graduating talent.
Recruiters at the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad include Jones Lang LaSalle, a global real estate services and money management firm; CB Richard Ellis, a real estate advisory; Tischman Speyer, one of Manhattan’s largest commercial landlords; Hines India Real Estate Pvt. Ltd, the local unit of a US-based real estate firm; and DLF.
Besides real estate, health-care is also recruiting in a more organized manner, notes Bhuvana Ramalingam, director of communications at ISB. The school began placements in November and expects them to peak this month.
“Health-care (companies are also visiting ISB) because we have a number of doctors in our batch,” said Ramalingam. The new recruiters on campus have not quite displaced the highest paying sectors: investment banks, consultancies and private equity firms. Recruiters from these areas are expected to pick up 60% of graduates from business schools again this year.
Thus, for new recruiters such as real estate, the challenge remains to offer competitive salaries. Salary levels in the real estate business have grown at an annual 25-30% in the last two years, driven largely by the shortage of people at every level, as a predominantly unorganized business transforms itself into a more organized one.
“The average annual salary at IIM-K was more than Rs12 lakh last year,” said Talwar. “I expect that to be topped”.