With state-owned banks going slow on recruitment due to the financial stress emanating from bad loans, the burden of boosting hiring and restoring the sector’s reputation as one of India’s largest job creators has shifted to the less glamorous regional rural banks. These rural banks offer about 15,500 jobs this year, marginally higher than the number in the previous year, while vacancies in state-run banks are expected to fall sharply, according to industry officials.
State Bank of India, the country’s largest lender, will be hiring less this year because it has about 15,000 employees in excess following its merger with associate banks.
The regional rural banks, which provide services mainly to small and marginal farmers in villages, need a bigger workforce help fulfil the government’s agenda to broaden financial inclusion. There are 56 such rural banks in the country and they had a combined staff strength of 86,555 in March 2017, a drop from 88,196 a year earlier, even as their cumulative business grew 15% to more than Rs 6 lakh crore in 2016-17.
Vacancies in rural banks are also being created due to attrition, with employees aspiring to work in bigger banks leaving after the initial nurturing period. A majority of candidates selected for jobs in rural banks don’t even report for work and many start resigning within a quarter, said a senior official of Paschim Banga Gramin Bank. The trend may change this year as the overall job market in India looks dull, with job losses looming in the information technology sector. Only 1.35 lakh jobs were created in 2015 in labour-intensive sectors, against 12.5 lakh in 2009, according to data compiled by the labour bureau.
Last year, the institute notified 8,822 vacancies for probationary officers compared with 12,500 the year before. Vacancies for clerks were about 19,300 compared with 23,000 a year ago. These numbers do not include positions in some banks that mandate separate exams for candidates willing to get hired after successful completion of training.
“Large-scale hiring is required in RRBs to meet the growing needs of massive branch expansion, challenges of financial inclusion and to overcome the loss of manpower due to retirement as well as high attrition,” said A Sayeed Khan, secretary general of the All India Regional Rural Bank Employees’ Association.
Khan said the attrition rate is the highest in states such as Andhra Pradesh, where banking penetration is better than in many other states, mainly due to lack of parity in benefits and allowances with state-run bank employees. Attrition in RRBs is the lowest in the northeastern states, where the opportunities are fewer.
The IBPS conducts all-India exams for scale I and scale II officers in rural banks. For junior cadres, state-wise tests are arranged.
(Source: The Economic Times)