Last week, the Cabinet cleared a proposal for consolidation of PSBs the complete details of which are yet to be spelt out clearly.
The probationary officer/management trainee recruitment for vacancies to be filled in 2018-19 has already been impacted going by the data of the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS), which is a common recruiting agency for officers in the 20 participating banks.
In the recruitment to be conducted this year, seven banks have indicated zero hiring. Four others have not reported any intention to recruit yet.
These include Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Punjab and Sind Bank, United Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Syndicate Bank, Indian Bank, IDBI Bank, UCO Bank and Vijaya Bank.
“We expect the recruitment to come down or be delayed considerably because of the consolidation move, the impact of which is already being seen,” CS Vepa, Director, National School of Banking, told BusinessLine.
A senior executive of PNB said on condition of anonymity that the next two years could see up to a 50 per cent fall in fresh recruitment as banks will undertake reconciliation of headcount and rationalisation of branches.
In the last two years, 68,000 to 70,000 vacancies have been filled up in PSBs, including in SBI.
According to CH Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees Association, the developments after consolidation of State Bank of India are a case in point. “There are 7,000 branches that are being closed after SBI’s consolidation. This will be more in the case of other nationalised banks as they have a thicker presence in many areas than SBI. Their consolidation will surely hit recruitment of clerks and officers in a big way,” he said.
According to the first quarter numbers of SBI, total branches of itself and its associate banks were 24,017 as on March 31, 2017. The number has come down to 23,423 by June 30. And, the bank has indicated that 30 per cent of staff will be redeployed.
The popularity of bank jobs among job-aspirants can be seen by the huge numbers who appear for the recruitment exams.
The number of candidates who registered for the common written examination for officer cadre posts in PSBs conducted by the IBPS in 2016-17 went up by about 20 per cent at 19.67 lakh, from 15.76 lakh in the previous year.
Similarly, for clerical jobs, 20.81 lakh persons registered as against 19.26 lakh in the previous year. About 1.3 million people are employed by public and private sector banks.