As ONGC gets younger old-timers start to worry

Vol 21, PW 5 (30 Nov 17) People & Policy

As ONGC gets younger, company veterans fear the organisation's knowledge and experience base is draining away.

Internal ONGC figures reveal that five years ago the average age of senior officers was 48 years, but today it's only 43 and likely to drop to just 36 years by 2020 - mainly due to the large number of old timers retiring. This month (November) alone 179 officers retire, including one ED, nine GGMs, 12 GMs and 22 DGMs.

"The number is unusually high this month," admits a source. "Usually the average is around 100 people." Blame this on a surge in ONGC recruitment between 1983 and 1985, many of whom are retiring now leading to an ever-growing shortage of experienced hands.

Some suggest the solution is for ONGC to re-hire retired officers as consultants so they can pass on their expertise to the next generation. By March 2016, ONGC's staff strength stood at exactly 33,927.

Another problem is that recruitment takes place only once a year but the loss of experienced staff happens monthly when they retire. ONGC expects up to 2000 people to retire annually till 2021.

To address this the oil ministry in 2016 set up a Task Force to look into HR practices at state-owned oil companies. One of the forthcoming changes at ONGC will be the introduction of "job bidding" where candidates apply for senior positions and are evaluated by a 'talent council.'