India saw 42% of Deutsche Bank’s global hires

Mumbai: More than 40% of the hiring that the 25.4-billion-euro Deutsche Bank (DB) has done globally this year has been in India. Elaborating on the importance of India — which currently accounts for 17% of its nearly 83,000 employees globally — Michael Ilgner, senior group director and global head of HR & real estate at Deutsche Bank, said the bank looks at India as a source for talent that it wants to develop within the country and also for senior roles globally.

As of December 31, India was the fourth-largest contributor to the group’s profit before income tax, at 459 million euros, with total strength at 14,114. In an exclusive interview with TOI on his recent visit, Ilgner said, “India is a growth market for us — 42% of our global hiring in the year to date has been taking place in India. If you compare that to the total population, you’ll see that our hiring is proportionately higher in India.

Last year, the India hiring number was at 33% of global hiring. Compared to the size and the relative growth, India is clearly, against other regions, a growth area for DB.” Ilgner, a 51-year-old German national who was appointed to the current role in March 2020, said DB is providing significant development opportunities in India in senior ranks.

“People don’t only start careers here, they also have the perspective to develop into leadership roles. We don’t intend to move leaders from elsewhere as expats to come here, although that can happen once in a while, but that’s not the general strategy we are pursuing. We want to develop leaders within India based on the higher share of juniors we have here compared to the world,” said Ilgner, while adding that the bank, however, supports exchange and international mobility.

With the post-pandemic digitalisation of the workplace, which has made talent accessible and jobs location-agnostic, Ilgner expects there will be continuous global exchange of talent to strive for best solutions and to bring best talents together. He expects global mobility to pick up pace.

As to whether allegations of ‘greenwashing’ of investment products — which led to raids on the offices of DB and its asset management subsidiary DWS in Frankfurt — could have an impact on DB’s employer branding, Ilgner said,

“With our global network, long-standing expertise in financial services and shift into sustainable growth, we believe we offer a compelling proposition for talent. We have set ambitious sustainability targets and aim to make ESG (environmental, social & governance) the new normal at the bank, in dialogue with our clients, in our own operations and in all our processes.”

Based on a CHRO roundtable Ilgner attended in India, he said currently it’s an employees’ market worldwide with talent supply chains on a global scale getting interrupted.“This interruption of the talent supply chain is affecting almost every business right now, almost every region in the world. But, as it is affecting everybody, there will also be a solution sooner or later.

We are well positioned but we are also eyes wide open to see how this develops. In some regions, we see that a peak of attrition has been achieved and it will go down again. But we are trying to be very analytical in our HR function, where we have almost real-time data to make sure that we can course correct and also take action if it’s required.”

Ilgner, who played in the German national water polo team and participated in the Olympics in 1996, is applying some of these learnings on team dynamics in the bank today. “I wrote my PhD thesis in microeconomic theory and came up with a concept to describe behaviours in groups. In my sport, in particular, the player who provides an assist is actually more rewarded than the one who scores a goal,” said Ilgner.

As part of his thesis, in a survey of highly competitive teams, a majority of 66% members said it’s the ‘we’ that helps a team win under pressure as compared to the ‘I’. “It was interesting to see that people within the high-performing group appreciate that the majority of interests that they have to focus on in their daily decisions needs to be the group success and not the individual success.

Group success can only take place when everybody provides his or her personal best. It’s this link, which I experienced very intensively in sport, that I try to translate into our cultural development of leadership principles,” he said.