Sep 15, 2007

Officers, Gentlemen and now Managers

The management and leadership talent within India's defence forces is one of the ways organizations are tackling the shortage of middle and top level managers in the corporate world. I think the organizations need to approach the recruitment of such officers in the way they carry out hiring of college graduates - hire for attitude and train for skills. Another possibility would be to tie-up with the management colleges to train them on organization specific content amongst the same time they do the Management Development programmes. Thinking creatively and innovatively is the way to avoid the things this article states.

The Indian Air Force, for instance, is organising "a placement fair" for its retiring "air warriors" in New Delhi on September 22 and 23. "Close to 40 companies have already registered for the fair so far," said an officer.

"Every year, a large number of highly-trained, disciplined and multi-skilled personnel retire from service at a relatively younger age of 35 to 54," he said.

"The corporate world can benefit from hiring such personnel, who have at least 15-20 years experience in flying, navigation, air traffic control, aeronautical engineering, technology management and the like," he added.

The problem of a second career for armed forces personnel — over 60,000 of them retire every year — is of course quite acute. As reported earlier by the Times of India, there is a huge rush for the six-month intensive business management certificate course being held for officers in institutions like Indian Institute of Managements, XLRIs, MDI (Gurgaon) and Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (Mumbai).

Indian Air Force pilots, of course, face no problem in getting jobs in the booming civil aviation arena. In fact, Air Force authorities had to tighten controls to prevent pilots from leaving the force in large numbers. But job opportunities for personnel from other streams still remains a problem.