A month ago, 30-year old Kaushik Bose (name changed), a consultant with EY in Mumbai, quit his job to relocate to Pune where he joined the back office of a global investment bank. Bose was prompted to make the shift to Pune from the city where he has lived, studied and worked for the past 10 years. The draws: a better quality of life, including cheaper rentals, a home close to the workplace, scope for more family time and net savings from the better cost of living. Several professionals across levels are making Pune their home. The city, known as a BPO hub for information technology majors, is now a hot destination for back offices of global banks, which are set to witness a hiring boom in the next 18-24 months. An estimated 5,000 people across levels will be hired at the global in-house centres (GICs) of Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Credit Suisse, BNY Mellon among others in the period, according to executive search firm estimates. Pune has many factors working in its favour. Topping this list is its proximity to the commercial capital Mumbai – it is barely a threehour ride from the megapolis. “Pune as a destin a t i o n h a s gained growing importance in the past few years due to the development of the city’s infrastructure, which has made it an attractive location for talent as well corporates,” says Vikram Subrahmanyam, head of operations and technology at Citi South Asia.
“Pune is set to see a big pick-up in hiring with about 5,000 additions to GICs in the next 18 to 24 months, says Puneet Pratap Singh, partner-incharge, New Delhi at search firm Heidrick and Struggles. He estimates that at the leadership level hires, Pune will eventually help companies to save around 10 per cent on compensation. Pune is the preferred choice for talent not only from Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra, but also from cities like Bangalore, Gurgaon, Hyderabad and Calcutta. From the standpoint of companies, it is an attractive destination due to the cost advantage in terms of real estate, as well as people. Rentals in Pune, for instance, are 40 per cent to 50 per cent lower than those in Mumbai, says Anuj Puri, chairman and India country head of Jones Lang LaSalle, a global real estate services firm. “Mumbai is becoming untenable for most people with commuting getting increasingly tougher and a very high cost of living.With several bank back offices setting up shop in Pune and strengthening their manpower, it is good that it will set up a talent pool,” says K Sudershan, managing partner — India and regional VP — Asia, EMA Partners International. Adds Singh, “To move talent from Mumbai to Pune, companies have to offer a 15 per cent to 20 per cent hike on base compensation compared with 25 per cent to 30 per cent that they might normally offer. However, the bigger positive impact will be attrition management and real estate cost advantage.”
The city has an existing presence of IT product and services organisations, as also captives. “The willingness of the talent base to relocate to Pune is also due to the good quality of residential infrastructure and relatively lower commute time,” says Subrahmanyam. Attractive SEZs and good corporate infrastructure with the availability of quality talent has made Pune an attractive destination for corporates to set up their GICs. The city is also relatively more cosmopolitan compared with emerging locations like Chennai, Hyderabad, says Dhvani Anjaria, specialist for support functions hiring at Vito India Advisors, a BFSI search firm. For Citibank, Pune is becoming very strategic, with its global inhouse centre Citi Technology Center planning to scale up staff strength to 2,500 from 1,200. “The plan is to continue to leverage the availability of the city’s large talent base,” says Subrahmanyam. The current talent base at Citi’s GIC in Pune has professionals from Mumbai, Delhi, NCR, Bangalore, Hyderabad and other cities. Around 8 per cent employees have moved from Delhi and NCR, 10 per cent from Bangalore, 7 per cent from Hyderabad and other cities. Deutsche Bank, which is the latest to set up its back office — DBOI Global Services India — in Pune this year, has moved about 600 people from Mumbai, an industry source said. DBOI refused to share numbers though. “Pune is an attractive destination for banks’ in-house centres. We recently set up a centre in Pune and are pleased with its build out and growth. Our staffing is a mixture of local hiring of talent as well as some colleagues who relocated to Pune from our Mumbai office,” says Manoj Yadav, managing director and head of Deutsche Bank Group’s in-house centre for India.
Facilities and living comforts apart, Pune also has a high availability of talent across business areas. “Pune has a large number of world class educational institutions and hence there is a constant supply of high quality talent which is absorbed by companies based there,” says Yadav. “Candidates from across different cities with experience in functional areas such as operations, finance and technology were open to moving to Pune,” he adds. “With urban infrastructure, moderate cost of living and good governance, Pune has all it needs to attract employees. It’s also known as the Oxford of the East, with ample colleges and schools for children’s education,” says an HSBC spokesperson.