At a time when financial institutions are in the process of cutting costs through retrenchment, the country's largest insurer, Life Insurance Corporation of India, has drawn up plans to hire over 10,000 employees and around 250,000 insurance agents across the country.
"We are hiring 4,800 class-II employees, around 5,000 class-III employees and 400-500 class-I officers. We have already hired about 100,000 agents and plan to strengthen our agency distribution channel by about 250,000 by March 2009," a senior LIC executive told Business Standard.
The public sector company is recruiting class-III employees, mainly clerical staff, after a gap of eight years, while class-II staff are being hired after a two-year gap.
The executive said a majority of the employees would be hired to man the 500 new satellite offices that LIC intends to open during the current financial year. "LIC is in an expansion mode right now. We are looking for people across our new business verticals like micro-insurance, bancassurance channel partners and satellite offices. Some of the new employees may be assigned for the existing businesses as well," said LIC Managing Director A K Dasgupta, when contacted.
Unlike banks, where major private players have scaled down recruitment, insurance companies are still hiring employees and agents as they increase their presence across the country. LIC, which has among the widest network of offices in the country, has had to recruit as it is falling short of hands to man its new offices and branches that are planned mainly in tier-II and tier-III towns. Private sector players are still largely confined to tier-I towns and cities and state capitals.
At present, LIC has 114,000 employees and 1.26 million agents. Of this, there are around 21,300 class-I officers, nearly 23,000 class-II officers, about 66,900 class-III staff in addition to 2,300 class-IV employees. The class-I category staff at are mainly engaged as assistant administrative officers, whereas the class-II category employees are offered posts of development officers. The class-III category officers are mainly engaged in clerical operations.
Even among banks, it is largely public sector banks that are hiring, with SBI alone planning to recruit over 25,000 clerks and executives.
The class-I officers will receive management-oriented training, the class-II officers will receive marketing-oriented training and the class-III category gets administrative training, somewhat similar to class-I. The newly-appointed employees receive confirmation only after a year of service. "Although class-I officers receive the maximum fixed pay, out of all the three categories, the class-II cadre might draw the maximum pay package, as they are entitled for fixed as well as variable pay or incentive," said an executive, who did not wish to be identified.
He added that following the implementation of the sixth Pay Commission recommendations for central government staff, LIC employees may also see an increase in compensation.