India’s State-Run Banks Announce Massive Hiring Spree: Plan To Hire One Lakh People Focusing On New-Age SkillsBoth SBI and Syndicate Bank have announced a hiring spree (Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images)

State-owned banks like SBI, Bank of Baroda, and Syndicate Bank will be hiring as many as one lakh people this financial year in niche skills like wealth management, analytics, strategy, digital and customer services, Economic Times reported.

The report quoted Syndicate Bank CEO Mrutyunjay Mahapatra as saying that  “Going forward, the plain vanilla generalist recruitment will give way to niche, strategy-based hiring”. He also added that the new type of manpower will be deployed in emerging areas like digital marketing and stressed asset recovery.

A mere 20 per cent of public sector bank employees now fall in the category of clerks, a change precipitated by automation of back-office functions such as passbook updation, cash deposit and KYC verification.

The new staffing strategy underscores the struggle of public sector banks, with their huge branches, employee overheads, and cumbersome decision-making processes, in competing with nimble new insurgents with no legacy problems.

In 2015, for example, the SBI and public sector banks had more than 8.5 lakh employees on their rolls; the new mobile banking players will run with barely a few thousand employees.

The state-owned banks are realising that banking in India is shifting from physical points of presence to the smartphone, aided by Aadhaar-enabled payments, cashless money transfers, falling transaction charges, and technology-driven revolutions.

The mobile phone is replacing ATMs, credit and debit cards, and even chequebooks, cash with the creation of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI).

Branches have also been described as an unnecessary overhead beyond an absolute minimum.‎

Traditional jobs such as passbook updating, cash deposit, verification of know-your-customer details, salary uploads are increasingly going digital resulting job redundancies. Experts predict that developments in technology could see some 30 per cent of banking jobs disappearing in the next five years.

They claim that advances in artificial intelligence and automation could mean that banking will be the ground zero of job losses and a dramatic shift to new age skills.

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