ONGC plans sharp salary hike to stem brain drain

Vol 9, PW 26 (20 Apr 06) People & Policy

ONGC has drawn up plans to stem the exodus of staff to private Indian and foreign oil companies.

We are faced with a very serious situation, ONGC tells this report. Theres been an exodus since the past one year of specialists from the drilling, well services and geophysics disciplines.

Every month about 50 specialists leave ONGC. Most of them are going to multinational companies or to Reliance and Essar.

According to ONGC, the ratio between office and field personnel is widening at a rapid pace. Out of 36,000 total staff with us, only 1000 or so are geophysicists, continues our source.

Studying geophysics is not enough. We recruit raw geophysicists and groom them.

When they reach their 40s they stagnate with no promotion avenues. Thats when they start looking outside.

ONGC is not only worried at the loss of these experts but also at the data and work experience they take to their new employers. These days you do not have to carry bulky paper files of data to your new employers, we hear.

They just have to go over with the experience gained. ONGC has drawn up a new promotion and remuneration policy to tackle this alarming situation and sent it to the government for approval.

Under the new policy, ONGC will have a separate pay structure, independent of all the other state-owned companies. The idea is to offer salaries matching the private sector.

But salaries will not increase dramatically for all employee categories. There might be more than 100% increase for specialist personnel.

ONGC also plans to carry forward the decentralisation of powers set in motion by the McKinsey-inspired Corporate Rejuvenation Campaign begun by chairman Subir Raha when he took charge five years ago. The second phase of the McKinsey plan will now begin, we are told.

Younger general managers are planned. Today an employee typically becomes general manager in his mid-50s when he nears retirement.