‘Sarkari Naukri’ at PSUs or Job at Startups?

A job in the Public Sector Undertaking (PSUs) is lucrative. PaGaLGuY listed out the perks of working in the PSU, but engineers who have worked in PSUs say that there is a flipside to all the benefits that one gets. PSUs come with the chip of being a ‘sarkari naukri’. Many Indian families associate a job in a PSU as prestigious. But is it as rosy as it is perceived? PaGaLGuY finds out.

Youngsters, who are fresh out of IITs and who have worked with both startups and PSUs, have a slightly different opinion about working in PSUs. “After working in a start-up for 6 months, adjusting to the work culture at a PSU was a hell of a shock.  Everything functions in slow-motion. No kidding here, the ‘babu culture’, which we have seen in movies, is for real even at the executive and managerial level,” says Karan Chhabra, from IIT Delhi. He quit his startup job after 6 months to work in a core sector company. What follows the slow motion, and the babu culture is the monotony of work.

Anuj Chowdhary says that the productivity at the job and the salary they receive for it, is disproportionate. “You will feel you are being overpaid for the amount of work you are doing,” he adds. He explains that the job they have is ‘hard-core’ engineering work, and in a PSU, since everything is slow moving, the amount of work being accomplished is lesser than in a start-up. “On an average, 14-16 hours is what we engineers put in a startup. Employees in a PSU give exactly 8-9 hours of work. Though it’s not bad, eventually, the work get monotonous and boring.” says Chowdhary.

Startups have been known to offer exorbitant amounts of money as CTC. The pay-package at a PSU is much less. “Where engineers have been offered a CTC of Rs 40 lakh per annum a PSU’s highest offer has been Rs 14 lakh per annum. Despite other benefits of working for a PSU, the salary is a big draw for most students picking up startups over PSUs.” says Kabir Dewan, an IIT Kharagpur graduate. Comparing the amount of work in a PSU to a startup, engineers have felt being over-paid, but at the cost of monotony in their work.

IITians spend about 4 years (or more) of their college life hearing about innovation like it’s their mantra. “In a start-up, one breathes lives and dies – innovation. PSUs are more about implementing the skills learnt in college. Forget the cool culture, working while perched on bean bags, the endless rounds of coffee and mainly your mantra of innovation. There is hardly any place for this in a PSU.” says Abhijeet Prakash, an IIT Roorkee graduate, who worked with a start-up, which is now black-listed. He currently works at Central Electronics Ltd. (CEL) 

Job security, decent pay and a place to employ skills of ‘core’ specialization are what set the PSUs apart from the start-ups, but when it comes to things like exorbitant pay, a cool work culture and scope for innovation, start-ups dominate the scene.