Talent Trends Emerging From India’s IPO Growth Story

Vaibhav Agarwal

India is witnessing an unprecedented growth story, and one of the key factors driving this growth is the rapid increase in the number of companies getting listed on the Indian stock exchanges. According to Bloomberg, more than 110 companies got listed on the India stock exchanges last year, raising a total of more than USD 18 billion in public capital. These numbers are not showing any sign of slowing down as a record number of companies are gearing up for IPO in the coming months. At the outset, SEBI – India’s capital market regulator is bracing for this surge by ramping up its headcount. Most vacancies are in the general and legal streams, as per the advertisement published on SEBI’s official website. This hiring is fuelled by a large number of tech startups planning for an IPO in the coming months.

Primarily, 3 themes appear to emerge in the race to hire talent at IPO bound companies:

1) Hiring senior business and strategy leaders bringing domain expertise and demonstrated track record of scaling businesses
Senior strategy roles are in high demand where there is a strong preference for talent from ‘Big Three’ management consulting firms, along with experience in relevant industry practices. Large multinational companies such as HUL and P&G have also become a preferred source for many tech startups to get senior talent in Marketing, Brand Management and Growth functions.

2) Hiring for CFO and CHRO roles to strengthen compliance, corporate governance, audit, human resource strategy and organisational effectiveness
One of the leading tech startups in the B2B domain that recently filed for an IPO has brought on board a new Chief People Officer 3 months before making the IPO application. This person was earlier playing the role of Chief People Officer in a large multi-billion dollar IT firm. Catenon is also helping the firm hire for a new Head of Financial Planning & Analysis as a part of strengthening the Finance function.
In another example, a large D2C firm that has filed an IPO and expects to get listed in the next 6 months is beefing up the Finance function. Catenon is helping the company hire for various roles including Head of Business Finance, Financial Reporting, Inventory Management and Commercial Finance. In addition to culture fit, the companies are objectively looking for relevant experience and capabilities required to investor relations, stakeholder management and compliance to be able to make the IPO a success. Having exposure to IPO execution is a great added advantage.

3) Tech startups looking to bring senior women leaders as a part of building a diverse leadership team
One of the tech startups in the services domain brought a senior woman leader to lead the Human Resources function. The person brings in vast and diverse experience from top IT and Technology companies.

In addition to the above three, companies are also trying to bring senior leaders as independent directors on their boards.

To attract talent, companies are offering hikes in the range of 30-50% on base salaries to candidates. In addition to joining bonuses, relocation expenses and healthy variable pay, companies are also focussing on ESOPs as key elements of the compensation offering. The hiring process is also being heavily optimised to ensure speed in recruitment without compromising on the selection process. Quick turnarounds on interview discussions and ‘weekend interviews’ have become extremely common.

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