ONGC succeeds in stemming the damaging brain drain

Vol 12, PW 2 (12 Jun 08) People & Policy

Senior managers at ONGC are heaving a sigh of relief after learning that fewer of its trained personnel are leaving for more lucrative jobs with private sector domestic and foreign operators.

ONGC tells PETROWATCH that almost a third less staff left the company in the year ending March 2008 than in the previous year. “In 2006-07, some 370 people left,â€‌ Dr.

AK Balyan, director human resources, tells PETROWATCH. “But this dropped to 261 in 2007-08.

â€‌ Most of those leaving ONGC were from the geosciences, drilling and production disciplines, the core of any E&P company. Balyan says the biggest improvement has been in the drilling department, where the â€کBrain Drain’ has dropped by half.

He credits this to several new measures to tackle the problem. “Our pension scheme is more attractive now and our social security system provides a job to the next-of-kin of any employee who dies on duty,â€‌ adds Balyan.

“Career growth issues are also being addressed by giving enhanced promotions.â€‌ Another reason for the slowdown in staff attrition, says Balyan, is feedback from those who’ve quit.

“Many find the grass is not always greener on the other side,â€‌ he says. Balyan cites issues like opportunities to â€کlearn on the job’ and involvement in decision-making and points to hidden costs in the private sector where salaries are based on â€کcost to company’ figures.

These, he says, can affect the amount of money deducted from a worker’s salary for expenses. Balyan stresses that ONGC employees receive unlimited health care - unlike those in the private sector - with access to the best facilities in India.

“In real terms,â€‌ he says, “ONGC pays its employees much more.â€‌ Balyan recounts examples of some employees who left, returning within a month, asking for their old jobs back, following an ONGC scheme launched last year to take them back.

“We received four hundred applications from around the world,â€‌ says Balyan with a tinge of pride. “Letters of appointment have been given to 28 with another 20 going out shortly.