India Inc. Losing Top Talent to Startups

39% organisations lost their top talent to startups in past six months. 45% of the companies surveyed agree that they had lost their choicest and top talent to startups. Over 60% candidates with 2-5 years experience move to startups to explore their creative side, and about 67% of the candidates with 5-10 years experience join startups for better positions and designations.


Startup Craze – The Entrepreneurial Rush

Many of the best and brightest of India Inc.’s talent are bailing out of their high-paying, prestigious jobs with big corporates to join startups or set up their own business. The IT/telecom sector has witnessed the maximum (40%) talent movement to startups followed by ITeS, retail and the manufacturing & engineering sectors.

The Game of Power

The startling data was revealed in a survey. As per this survey, more than 60% respondents feel that ‘freedom to innovate’ and ‘positions/designations’ are the key factors luring top talent to startups. being a key job portal of India from the stable of the Times of India Group was launched in 2004 and currently has a candidate database of more than 20 million registered job-seekers who clock-in over 40 million page views a month.

The attraction of having a position of power and of being in a leadership role is the maximum at the middle level. 65 per cent organisations said that maximum talent movement is at the middle level and 55 per cent of middle-level managers are attracted by the designations offered, revealed. The experience range of these high-value job hoppers lies between 5-10 years, said 48 per cent of the respondents in the survey. The fact that middle-level employees are getting to exercise leadership positions at startups is the biggest factor driving them to leave reputed and established organisations.

“A major reason for this exodus of talent is that in a big company mid-managers can take almost 10-15 years to reach leadership positions, while startups offer them a head-start at the power and opportunities that leadership provides at a much earlier stage in their careers,” says Vivek Madhukar, COO,

The portal is positioning itself as a knowledge resource and go-to-site for insights, information, analysis and opinions on the recruitment market. They have also launched RecruiteX and TJinsite – two knowledge sub-brands. RecruiteX is the index (and analysis) for demand and supply of manpower and TJinsite is the research based knowledge.

Playing to Their Strengths

“While money may not be the biggest attraction in startup organisations, they are cashing in on the concept of the ‘new work world’, which offers freedom to innovate, flexibility and leadership positions to lure Gen Y workforce out of their big corporate jobs. The fact that Gen Y is restless and seeks instant gratification, interesting work and quick results, startups are the place where they are getting what they want,” explained Madhukar.

According to Sunil Goel, MD, GlobalHunt, Startups have minimum liabilities and so they experiment and innovate with one specific area. Top talent have risk abilities and willingness to work all around the functions, hence they decide to join startups.” As far as designations are concerned, he said that in established companies there is a huge pool of people and so the hierarchy has to be maintained to make sure that new entrants are clear about their role, work areas and KRAs. However, in startups the resource pool is limited. It doesn’t matter what designation it should be called.

Besides, professionals today have become more optimistic about the future of the country, its economy and the markets. Hence, they are no more risk-averse. Also, with many startup success stories doing the rounds and world figures espousing the concept of entrepreneurship, the workforce is getting lured, highlighted Aditya Narayan Mishra, President Staffing, Director Marketing, Randstad India.

Joining a Startup


  • Opportunity to develop multiple skills, as one is expected to take on multiple roles.
  • Higher growth opportunity and faster learning curve with first-hand experience of working with top management.
  • One grows with the organisation, hence higher opportunity to earn better remuneration, added perks and profit sharing.
  • More accommodating towards work flexibility options.
  • More freedom to think out-of-the-box and ample opportunities to innovate.


  • Less organised work culture with the company at an evolution stage. Hence, systems and processes are not yet refined, leading to confusion and trouble in communication, especially for new joiners who are not yet accustomed to the corporate atmosphere.
  • Employees are not able to leverage the brand equity if it does not do well in the long run.

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