MUMBAI: State Bank of India has received a record 17 lakh applications for a mere 1,500 probationary officer positions the bank had advertised for. This is the highest response for bank officers’ positions. In 2009, in the wake of the global crisis, the bank had received close to 36 lakh applications for 11,000 clerical positions.
“This time, we had given the advertisement a good profile, highlighting the position of SBI and describing the compensation package in detail, which attracted a lot of attention,” said chairman Pratip Chaudhuri. He added that earlier the advertisements were like ‘tender’ advertisements, merely providing information about the job and eligibility criteria. One of the attractions of a probationary officer’s job is the promise of official accommodation. In a city like Mumbai, the bank would provide rent allowance to the tune of Rs 31,000.
This results in the compensation for a Mumbai probationary officer amounting to Rs 69,000 a month higher than the starting package in some private banks. SBI does posses its own quarters but these are way below employee housing requirements.
“Candidates for entry level jobs are fungible that is, the same type of candidate applies for jobs across sectors including telecom, insurance and other jobs in the service sector. This year, hiring by all others sectors is down, which might have resulted in a more candidates chasing banking jobs,” said a senior official with a private bank.
The generous benefits offered by SBI has resulted in the bank drawing applications from a wide spectrum of candidates, including those working for other banks. The bank factors in 10-15% attrition during the years because often successful candidates do not get a posting close to home or of their preference.
The bank has decided to interview all the 17 lakh candidates in a competitive examination. “We have conducted such examinations in the past by hiring schools across the country. This time, we may have to do two shifts,” said Chaudhuri. Candidates would be given random papers and, to discourage cheating, adjacent candidates will get different papers.