A hundred thousand candidates have applied to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) after it advertised for new officers to join the market watchdog.
This puts the number of candidates at over 1,300 for every opening, according to two people familiar with the matter - one Sebi official and the other a person who gave the exam; neither wanted to be identified.
There are only 75 posts available.
The exact ratio of candidates to the number of jobs on offer is 1:1,333, a statistic that makes Sebi roughly 10 times harder to get into (statistically) than Google.
Google, whose employee perks include massage and concierge services, reportedly gets over a million applications and selects a few thousand candidates each year. Foreign media reports pegged the figure at 130 applicants for every candidate selected.
This is still a 10th of the competition for a job at Sebi. One Sebi official, who declined to be identified suggested weak market conditions and an attractive pay package drew the crowd.
"This is the first time after a long while that Sebi has gone in for such a major recruitment drive and the remuneration is also attractive," said the person.
The regulator's advertisement pegged the cost to company (CTC) at Rs 11 lakh.
E Balaji, an independent human resources consultant said candidates are attracted by pay, profile and parentage. "Government jobs tend to receive a lot of applications…Sebi is a good brand, the compensation is attractive and there are opportunities for training and development," he said.
Manish Sabharwal, chairman, Teamlease Services, said government employment had always been seen to be attractive. "The government pay tends to be higher at the bottom of the pyramid though it may be lower at higher levels."
Sebi had asked for candidates with professional qualifications or a master's degree. Applicants were to take an online examination consisting of multiple choice questions for 200 marks, which was to take place on September 15. The exam was to be conducted at 15 centres across the country, including major metros such as Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata, as well as smaller cities including Patna, Jaipur and Kochi. The next step is an interview for short-listed candidates.
Interestingly, the regulator's expansion in manpower is in sharp contrast to the intermediaries that it polices. "Hiring in the financial services space is down 20-30 per cent from a few years ago…" said Sabharwal.
A Sebi spokesperson did not reply to a request for comment.