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Int. J. Applied Management Science, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2011

Determination of recruitment age in Markov


manpower systems
K. Nilakantan*
Institute of Management Technology,
603, Khullar Apartments, Byramji Town,
Nagpur-440013, India
Fax: +91-712-2805591
E-mail: nilakanthan@gmail.com
*Corresponding author

B.G. Raghavendra
Indian Institute of Science,
Bangalore-560012, India
Abstract: The chronological age of members in an organisation has been found
to be one of the determinants of their effectiveness, efficiency and
performance, and organisational planners find it advantageous to monitor the
age distributions in the hierarchical grades of the organisation, to maintain
homogeneity and proper flow of personnel up the hierarchy. In this paper,
methods have been devised to maintain specified age distributions for
hierarchical systems in general, and also for a class of hierarchical
organisations which follow proportionality policies. Proportionality policies
are those that restrict the recruitment to every level of the hierarchy to be in
proportion to the promotions into that level, and are of relevance to
organisations which outsource a part of their work, the outsourced workforce
being notionally viewed as recruits to the system, and also to those which
ostensibly aim to protect the career interests of their existing employees
through such policies. The required or specified age characteristics are
maintained by selecting recruits of the appropriate ages to the system. The
theoretical analyses have been illustrated with numerical examples, and
validated with real-world data. The results extend in an identical and simple
manner to aggregate tenure distributions also.
Keywords: manpower planning; Markov models; manpower systems; age
distributions.
Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Nilakantan, K. and
Raghavendra, B.G. (2011) Determination of recruitment age in Markov
manpower systems, Int. J. Applied Management Science, Vol. 3, No. 1,
pp.7296.
Biographical notes: K. Nilakantan holds a Bachelors degree in Chemical
Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, a
PhD from the Indian Institute of Science, Blore, India, and a Masters in
Mathematics from the University of South Florida. He was with the National
Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, India for a large part of his
teaching career. He has published papers in many reputed international
journals. His research interests are in the applications of dynamic optimisation
in industrial, business, environmental and biotech systems.
Copyright 2011 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

Determination of recruitment age in Markov manpower systems

73

B.G. Raghavendra holds a Bachelors and Masters in Mathematics and


Statistics, and PhD in the Operations Research area from the University of
British Columbia, Canada. He was associated with the Department of
Management Studies in the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, as a
Professor for the majority of his academic career. He has published numerous
papers in many leading international research journals. He was particularly
interested in the application of operations research principles in the industry,
and has conducted a number of research projects and consulting assignments in
this area. He is still well-known in the industry in the Bangalore region for his
work in this field. Though he is no more, his name is still revered in both the
academic and industry circles as an academician and researcher par excellence.

Introduction

Achieving organisational effectiveness, the ability of an organisation to meet its stated


objectives and those of its stakeholders, is considered to be one of the most important
goals of an organisation. An effective organisation is characterised by high organisational
efficiency and productivity, and registers higher scores on its performance metrics, and is
both efficient and productive. An important factor in achieving organisational
effectiveness is the work-commitment of its workforce. The commitment of an employee
to his work has been found to be positively correlated with organisational efficiency,
performance, and effectiveness (Arthur, 1994; Bateman and Strausser, 1984; Meyer et al.,
2002; Sinha, 1990; Whitener, 2001; Wood and De Menezes, 1998). And one of the
significant demographic determinants of an employees commitment is, amongst others,
his chronological age (Blythe et al., 2008; Cennamo and Gardner, 2008; Cho and Hu,
2009; Cohen, 1993; Donatienne and Mathieu, 2008; Finegold et al., 2002; Hallier, 2001;
Hewitt, 2009; Hult and Edlund, 2008; Kumar and Giri, 2009; Lord and Farrington, 2006;
Lorence, 1987; Loscocco and Kalleberg, 1988; Nasrudin, 2005; Popoola and Oluwole,
2007; Riordan et al., 2003; Sager, 1991; Shadur et al., 1995; Sheard, 2009; Tabbodi,
2008; Tyagi and Wotruba, 1998; Wagner and Rush, 2000; Wegge et al., 2008; Witt et al.,
2004). The age of an employee has also been found to be a moderating variable in the
relationship between employee commitment and its other determinants, like tenure, and
position in the organisation (Cassidy and Sutherland, 2008; Hartline and De Witt, 2004;
Iverson, 1999; Jamal and Baba, 1991; Onyemah, 2009; Ragu-Nathan et al., 2008; Sun
and Pan, 2008). There is also evidence to suggest that age and other dissimilarity can
result in subtle forms of (age) discrimination, although not in an explicit manner
(Chattopadhyay, 1999; Daily, 2004; Kirchmeyer, 1995; Liao et al., 2004; Redman and
Snape, 2006; Snape and Redman, 2003). Organisations thus would find it advantageous
to monitor the age profiles of their personnel, to facilitate the progression of their careers,
and their growth within the organisation (Ornstein et al., 1989).
In this paper, we take up the study of the maintenance of these characteristics in
hierarchical manpower systems, modelling them as Markov systems. In the next section,
we review the literature on manpower models, and in Section 3 we introduce the notation
and salient features of Markov systems and age distributions, which provide the basis for
the study of recruitment age subsequently, in Section 4. The results derived therein are
then illustrated with computational examples and validated with real world data
subsequently in Section 5.

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K. Nilakantan and B.G. Raghavendra

Review of literature on manpower models

The approaches to the modelling of manpower systems have been through the use of
mathematical programming and network models (Aronson and Thompson, 1985; Chew
and Khoong, 1994; Glen and Yang, 1996; Grinold, 1978; Khoong, 1999), Monte-Carlo
simulation models (Bazargan Lari et al., 2003; Chattopadhyay and Gupta, 2007;
Standridge, 1979), multi-criteria models (Klingman and Phillips, 1984; Silverman et al.,
1988), and Markov models.
The most widely encountered technique in the mathematical modelling of hierarchical
manpower systems is through the use of Markov models (De Feyter and Guerry, 2009).
Hierarchical manpower systems facilitate their being modelled as Markov systems, and
thereby lend themselves to tractable quantitative analysis as Markov Chains. The
rationale is that although individual members can vary greatly in their performance and
capabilities, however, when taken collectively, the expected aggregate behaviour of the
whole grade can be described by the average behaviour patterns of its individual
members (Bartholomew, 1982). This rationale behind the modelling of hierarchical
manpower systems as Markov models is explained further and justified in Bartholomew
(1982) and Vajda (1978).
The literature on Markov manpower systems is both rich and extensive, spanning a
period of more than 65 years. A comprehensive treatment of the earlier work can be
found in the books by Bartholomew (1982) and Vajda, (1978). A number of other aspects
of hierarchical Markov manpower systems have been analysed by subsequent
researchers, like sensitivity of the system structure, and variance-covariance of the grade
sizes in Vassiliou and Gerontidas (1985), periodic systems in Vassiliou (1986), control of
system structure in Kalamatianiou (1987), Gaimon and Thompson (1984), Poornachandra
Rao (1991), and Zanakis and Maret (1981), multi-characteristic systems in Hayne and
Marshall (1977), and Chandra (1988, 1989), and a bivariate model in Raghavendra
(1991). Other significant aspects covered are in the papers of Gerontidis (1995) on
periodicity in Markov manpower systems and the problem of re-attainability, Georgiou
and Vassiliou (1997) on cost models in non-homogenous Markov manpower systems,
Popova and Morton (1998) on the use of Bayesian prediction with stochastic
programming in stochastic manpower scheduling, Carette (1999) on the use of two-wave
panel data in the development of hierarchical manpower systems models, Tsantas (2001)
on the limiting behaviour of the means and covariances of the grades, and Ugwuowo and
McClean (2000) on modelling heterogeneity in Markov manpower systems. The most
recent papers are on fire-fighter staffing under conditions of temporary absences and
wastage (Fry et. al., 2003), analysis of semi-Markov systems and their related reward
paths (Papadopoulou and Tsaklidas, 2004), and an application of Markov manpower
modelling in the armed forces (Skulj et al., 2008).
Papers pertaining to the length of service (tenure) and age distributions and their use
in manpower planning are those of Glen (1977) on the derivation of the steady-state
tenure distributions and their means and variances, Sirvanci (1984) on forecasting
manpower losses with tenure distributions estimated from past data, and Mukherjee and
Chattopadhyay (1990) on the computation of the maximum ages for promotions, in a
system with fixed structure and pre-specified ages of entry and retirement. Also relevant
are those of Nehra and Khurana (1990) on manpower planning in the Navy, using the
Markov model in conjunction with chronological age distributions, Guerry (1999) on the
use of fuzzy sets in manpower systems through the introduction of the grade of

Determination of recruitment age in Markov manpower systems

75

attainability of given personnel distributions, and Nilakantan and Raghavendra (2008) on


the tenure and age distributions in proportionality systems.
This paper extends the earlier work in the literature, and takes up the determination of
the conditions for maintainability of age distributions, and seeks to enhance their
applicability in practical situations, by providing the planner with a set of specific
methods and strategies to maintain them through recruitment age decisions.

Markov manpower system models: notation and salient characteristics

In Markov models of hierarchical manpower systems, the stocks of manpower in the


various grades of the organisation is represented by a vector, and is a state of the system
with each component being the stock of manpower in a grade or level of the hierarchy.
The system is assumed to consist of a finite number of grades, k, numbered serially from
bottom to top as 1 to k. Time varies over integral values of t, for t = 0, 1, , T, with t = 0
representing the initial point of time (see Figure 5)
Specifically, the number of members in grade j is represented by the random variable
nj defined on a suitable probability space (j, Fj, Pj) where, , F and P have their usual
measure-theoretic meanings. The structure of the system is represented by the row
vector n(t) whose components are the nj(t). The inter-grade transition probabilities in the
interval (t, t + 1] are represented by the elements of the (k by k) transition probability
matrix P(t). These probabilities can also be viewed as the proportions of members likely
to get promoted in the interval (t, t + 1]. The proportionality systems are characterised,
additionally, by the proportionality matrix, F = diagl(0, f2, f3, , fk), whose elements are
the proportionality constants (between recruitment and promotion flows) enforced in the
system.
The literature on age distributions pertains largely to those at steady-state,
characterised by a steady-state or limiting structure, n(), and a steady-state or limiting
recruitment vector, R(), which are basic to the characterisation of steady-state age
distributions. In general Markov systems, R() can be chosen arbitrary, R() while in
Proportionality systems, is constrained by the proportionality policies, and given by
R () = R1e1 + n()( P D)G, where G = diagl[0, (1/ f 2 ), (1/ f3 ),..., (1/ f k )].

The primary variable of interest is the age [denoted by physiological age (PA)] of a
member in grade j at time T of the system, and is denoted by the variable PAj(T) which
can take integer values of 0,1,2, ..., the unit of measurement of PA being the system
transition period.
Rj (t, x) denotes the number of recruits to grade j in (t, t + 1] with a PA of x
uj(T, x) denotes the number of members in grade j at time T with a PA of x periods, and
plays a central role in the characterisation of age distributions.
U(T, x) is the row vector whose elements are the uj(T, x) defined above, and is expressed
in terms of the fundamental parameters, P and R(), as
k

U ( , x ) =

R ( ) P
l =1

( x al )

(3.1)

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K. Nilakantan and B.G. Raghavendra

Under stochastic recruitment ages, the probability mass function of the recruitment age
distribution for grade j (or the proportion of recruits to grade j with PA = w) is another
fundamental parameter of the system, and is denoted by:
pr ( w) j = Pr ob [ (age of recruit to grade j ) = w] , for w = 0,1, 2,...

where w is again measured in system transition time periods.


The vector Pr(w) = [pr(w)1, pr(w)2, ..., pr(w)k] is the vector of probabilities (or
proportions) of recruits to the grades having a PA of w, in terms of which,
x

U ( , x ) =

[ R() * P (s)]P
r

xs

for x = 0,1, 2,..

(3.2)

s =0

The quantities (uj (, x) / nj()) are the steady state proportions of members in grade j for
j = 0, 1, 2, ..., k with PA of x, for x = 0, 1, 2, ., and are the PA distributions or
characteristics of the system.
The model extends in an identical way to aggregate tenure (the total tenure over all
organisations that an employee has been in) distributions also, if in place of age, PA is
replaced by, or interpreted as, aggregate tenure (TA) instead.
The notations above are basic to the study of recruitment age taken up below.

Determination of recruitment age

One of the decisions an organisation is faced with during a recruitment planning process
is that of specifying the age for personnel proposed to be recruited to the organisation at
various levels. In this context, it is pertinent to note that in many developing and Eastern
countries, recruitment notifications frequently are found to mention desirable age
specifications for recruits.
The rationale for, and advantages of, such recruitment age specifications are usually
three fold. The first is that of ensuring the availability of persons with desired experience
and expertise at all levels of the organisation, (particularly in the higher levels). The
second is that of ensuring smooth flow of personnel up the hierarchical levels within their
working lives and avoiding stagnation. And the third is that of maintaining a degree of
homogeneity of the work force in the grades.
The rationale for using the PA as a measure of the experience level is that an
employee with sufficiently high experience or tenure levels, during the course of his
working life both within the organisation and outside of it, would also have attained a
high PA, as well as the vice-versa. This is particularly true of the middle and higher
grades of the hierarchy, wherein the experience and tenure across all organisations put
together will be of good value. This is captured in the PA. (Alternatively, the aggregate
tenure (TA) can also be directly used instead).
These objectives can be translated down to the achievement and maintenance of
desired PA (or TA) distributions within the system. The recruitment ages (or TA) can
then be so chosen, to be able to achieve the desired PA(TA) distributions. In our analysis,
as in the literature, by distribution, we mean the proportions of members with different
PA(TA).

Determination of recruitment age in Markov manpower systems

77

4.1 Deterministic recruitment age


4.1.1 Maintenance of MeanPA
Regarding the first objective, one method to ensure the maintenance of a grade with
employees of adequate experience levels, is to specify the mean age (or mean TA) of the
members in the grade, and this can then be used to set the recruitment ages (or
recruitment TA). In the case of age, the problem therefore reduces to:
The determination of the vector of recruitment ages, A, which for a given set of
matrices P (and F for Proportionality systems), will satisfy the following condition:
a) [ MeanPA ] = M d

(4.1)

where Md is the vector of the desired mean PA in the grades, and

[ MeanPA ] = [R()P(I P)2 + R()Da (I P)l ]% n()

(4.2)

In equation (4.2), Da is a diagonal matrix whose elements are the aj, and * and % are two
array operators defined as below:
x * y = ( x1 y1 , x2 y2 ,....) and x% y = ( x1 / y1 , x2 / y2 ,...).

Post-multiplication of both sides of equation (4.2), first by n() using the array *
operator, and then by (I P) yields
R () Da = [ M d * n()]( I P) R() P ( I P )1

(4.3)

from which we get


A = [( M d * n())( I P ) R () P ( I P) 1 ]% R ()

(4.4)

which yields an expression for A, the required recruitment age at each level of the system.
The method yields a single set of values of the recruitment ages. Adhering strictly to
these would not be feasible in practice, and what is intended in this method is that the
planners try to keep the recruitment ages close to the specified values. Alternatively, the
planner may specify the desired range for the MeanPA (minimum and maximum values),
for which, the method will then yield the desired range of recruitment ages (minimum
and maximum ages). This is illustrated in the examples subsequently. The method is
simple and operationally easy to apply in practice.
Identical results hold for TA also.

4.1.2 The method of restricted tails


One method of attaining both, the second objective of maintaining smooth flow of
personnel up the hierarchy, and the third, of maintaining a degree of homogeneity in the
grades, is to ensure that members are able to flow up to the higher grades at the right
ages, and that the grades of the system do not have too many members of
disproportionately high age. To achieve this we look at the tail of the PA distributions,
and restrict the area under the tail-end of the PA distribution for each grade to be within
pre-specified limits. Specifically, let bj be the desired cut-off level of PA for grade j, and
xj the maximum permissible proportion of grade j that can have PA above bj, and let X be
the row vector whose elements are the xj.

78

K. Nilakantan and B.G. Raghavendra


The criterion of restricted tails can then be stated as

u ( , x ) / n ( ) x
j

for j = 1, 2, ., k

(4.5)

x =b j

And the problem of determining the recruitment ages can be stated as that of determining
the recruitment age vector, A, to satisfy the condition (4.5) above.
Equation (4.5) can be written in the following more convenient form

u ( , x ) x n
l

for l = 1, 2.., k

l l

(4.6)

x =bl

Now, using the notation of Section 3, equation (4.6) can be written in vector form as

( R()e )(e P
'
l

x =bl

( x al )

)] n() * X

(4.7)

l =1

which in turn, upon interchanging the order of summation, yields

( R()e )(e P
'
l

( x al )

)] n() * X

(4.8)

l =1 x =bl

The LHS above can be summed to

( R()e ')(e P
l

( bl al )

)( I P) 1 which then yields

l =1

( R()e ')(e P
l

(bl al )

)( I P) 1 n() * X

(4.9)

l =1

Equation (4.9) can then be used to determine the desired recruitment ages.
For super-diagonal P, equation (4.9), written in scalar form for grade j is
R j () p jj

(b j a j )

j 1

[ R (){ p
l

(bl al )
. p j 1, j
l , j 1

l =1

n j () x j (1 p jj )

/ (1 p j 1, j 1 ) + plj (bl al ) }]

(4.10)

for j = 1, 2,....., k

where plj(bl al) is the (l, j)th element of P(bl al).


Equation (4.10) is a set of k equations involving the aj and can be solved recursively
starting with a1. For grade one, we have
R11 p11(b1 al ) (1 p11 )n1 () x1

(4.11)

from which a1 can be evaluated.


For the subsequent and successive evaluation of (a2, a3, , ak), the fol1owing
recursive procedure can be made use of. If al is known for l = 1, 2, , (j 1), then can be
evaluated using the relation (4.10) which, for super-diagonal P, can be rewritten as

Determination of recruitment age in Markov manpower systems


R j () p jj

j 1

(b j a j )

[ R (){ p

( bl al )
. p j 1, j
l , j 1

/ (1 p j 1, j 1 ) + plj (bl al ) }]

l =1

79

(4.12)

+ n j () x j (1 p jj )

In equation (4.12), all terms except the first term involving aj are known from the
previous computations. Notably, it may be observed that since P is upper triangular,
Pjj(bj aj) = (pjj)bj aj, where the RHS is simply the scalar diagonal element of P raised to
the power bj aj, which simplifies the computation considerably.
This method yields the upper limits on the PA of recruits to the grades, as it specifies
the maximum permissible ages of recruits to the various grades; and it is not uncommon
to find recruiters specifying such maximum age limits.
This method of restricted tails can as well be applied to achieve the first objective of
the planner, i.e., that of ensuring that the grades comprise of members of adequate
experience, and hence of adequate PA/TA. In this method, as an alternative to specifying
the MeanPA/TA, the planner might require that the grades should not contain too many
members of insufficiently low PA/TA. This specification can again be translated down to
a restricted tails criterion, wherein, the area under the tail of the distribution at the low
PA/TA end (lower tail) is restricted to specified low values. In the case of age, let hj be
the desired cut-off level of PA for grade j, and qj the maximum permissible proportion of
grade j that can have PA below hj, and let Q be the row vector whose elements are the qj.
Then the criterion of restricted tails can be stated as
h j 1

u ( , x ) / n ( )
j

qj

for j = 1, 2, ., k

(4.13)

x =0

And the problem of determining the recruitment ages can be stated as that of determining
the recruitment age vector, A, to satisfy the condition (4.13) above, which can be written
in the following more convenient form as

n j ( )

u ( , x ) n ( ) q
j

for j = 1, 2, , k

(4.14)

x=hj

and equivalently as

u (, x) n ()(1 q )
j

(4.15)

x=hj

Using equations (4.5) to (4.7) we can write the above equation as


k

[ R ( )e ] [e P
1

l =1

( hl al )

] [ I P]1 [n() *(l Q)]

where is the row vector with all elements equal to unity.


And analogous to equation (4.10), equation (4.16) in scalar form for grade j is

(4.16)

80

K. Nilakantan and B.G. Raghavendra


R j () p jj

(h j a j )

j 1

[ R (){ p

( hl al )
. p j 1, j
l , j 1

/ (1 p j 1, j 1 ) + plj ( hl al ) }]

l =1

(4.17)

n j ()(1 q j )(1 p jj )

In inequality (4.17) above, we have for grade one


R1 p11( h1 al ) (1 p11 )n1 ()(1 q1 )

(4.18)

From which a1 can be determined. And for the higher and subsequent grades
R j () p jj

(h j a j )

j 1

[ R (){ p
l

( hl al )
. p j 1, j
l , j 1

l =1

/ (1 p j 1, j 1 ) + plj ( hl al ) }]

(4.19)

+ n j ()(1 q j )(1 p jj )

from which the aj can be recursively determined as before.


These aj values are the minimum permissible ages of recruits to the various grades of
the system. Identical results hold for (minimum permissible) TA also.
In most cases, the planner would like to achieve both sets of objectives
simultaneously, in which case, the method is applied to both the lower and the upper tails
of the PA distributions simultaneously, using both equation (4.13) as well as equation
(4.16), thereby yielding both the minimum permissible (lower limits), as well as the
maximum permissible (upper limits) of PA for recruits. Alternatively, and a most
practically useful application would be the use of this method to determine the minimum
permissible TA, and the maximum permissible PA for the recruits.
The method is distribution free, robust and easy to put into practice, and all that is
required of the planner, is to ensure that the recruits adhere to the PA/TA span specified
by the method.

4.2 Stochastic recruitment age


4.2.1 Maintainability of age distributions
Though the methods above provide a range of values for the desired recruitment ages,
and hence a measure of flexibility to the planner, however, they do not allow for any
variation in the recruitment ages from period to period. An even more flexible approach
would be to allow the recruitment ages to be stochastic, and specify their distributions. In
this section, we derive a method for the determination of the recruitment age distributions
which would yield desired steady-state PA distributions.
Since the recruitment age distribution of a grade affects the PA distributions of all the
grades above it, it is logical and more convenient to derive the recruitment age
distributions of all the grades simultaneously, together in a single computation.
The input that is required for this method is the set of desired PA distributions across
the grades, one for each grade, taken collectively, which we refer to as the collection of
PA distributions of the system. These are then used to derive the desired recruitment age
distribution for each of the grades, again taken all together, which we refer to as the
collection of recruitment age distributions of the system, which would attain and
maintain the desired collection of PA distributions across all grades in the long-run.
Using the notation in Section 3, we have:

Determination of recruitment age in Markov manpower systems


U (, w) = PPA ( w) * n()

81
(4.20)

And thus,
x

U ( , x ) =

P (w) D P
r

xw

for x = 0,1, 2,

(4.21)

w=0

where DR is a diagonal matrix whose diagonal elements are the elements of R().
Noting that the term Pr(x) in the equations above is present only in the equations for
U(, s) for s x, equation (4.21) yields an expression for Pr(x), the vector of
probabilities (or proportions) of recruits to the grades with PA = x, as under
Pr ( x) = (U (, x) U (, x 1) P ) DR 1

for x = 1, 2, ,

(4.22)

and
Pr (0) = U (, 0) DR 1

for x = 0

(4.23)

The set of equations above can be used to determine the vector of the probabilities of
recruits to the grades with different ages (the recruitment age distributions).
However, since these values have necessarily to be non-negative numbers between
zero and unity, and should sum to unity, it is evident that not every arbitrary PA
distribution will be compatible with the system P (and F) matrix, thereby showing that
only certain PA distributions can be attained and maintained for a given set of promotion
(and proportionality) policies of the system. We can hence define the maintainability of a
collection of PA distributions across the grades of a system as under:
Definition 1: A collection of PA distributions across the grades of a system, one for each
grade, is maintainable if there exists a collection of recruitment age distributions, from
equations (4.22) and (4.23,) across the grades, one for each grade, which satisfies the
following conditions:
1

Pr ( x)

(4.24)

Pr ( x ) l

(4.25)

P ( x) = l

(4.26)

x =0

These are the conditions of non-negativity, upper bound of unity, and unity sum, of the
probability mass points of the collection of recruitment age distributions.
In order to test the compatibility and maintainability of a given collection of PA
distributions of a system with the given system parameters, P (and F), simple tests can
thus be devised, and are stated in theorem 4.1 below.
Theorem 4.1: For any given set of system parameters P (and F), with P upper-triangular,
a collection of PA distributions for the grades of the system, is a maintainable collection
of distributions, if its probability mass points satisfy the following inequalities
simultaneously
1

PPA ( w) PPA ( w 1) P

for every w = 1, 2,

(4.27)

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K. Nilakantan and B.G. Raghavendra


2

PPA ( w) PPA ( w 1) P R ()%n()

for every w = 1, 2,

(4.28)

PPA ( w)

for w = 0

(4.29)

PPA ( w) R ()%n()

for w = 0

(4.30)

PPA (0) +

= R ()%n()

(4.31)

(P

PA ( x ) PPA ( x 1) P )

x =1

Proof: If a collection of PA distributions of the system is maintainable, then there must


exist a collection of recruitment age distributions across the grades of the system that
would maintain it. The conditions of non-negativity, upper bound of unity and unity sum,
on the recruitment age distributions taken together are sufficient conditions for the
existence of such a collection of PA distributions.
Noting that equations (4.22) and (4.23) can be written equivalently as
Pr ( x) = (U (, x) U (, x 1) P )% R ()

(4.32)

Pr (0) = U (, 0)% R ()

(4.33)

and

respectively, and substituting equations (4.32) and (4.33) into (4.24) and (4.25), and
making use of equation (4.20), yields after some rearrangement, conditions (1) to (4)
above. Condition (5) is established by substituting equations (4.32) and (4.33) into
equation (4.26) and again making use of equation (4.20) yielding

[ PPA (0) * n() +

(P

PA ( x ) PPA ( x 1) P ) * n()]% R ( )

x =1

=l

(4.34)

from which, condition (5) follows upon post multiplication by and , using the * and %
array operators respectively.
This establishes the results of the theorem.
The existence of a collection of PA distributions satisfying the conditions of
theorem 4.1 is shown below in theorem 4.2
Theorem 4.2: There exists a collection of PA distributions across the grades, one for each
grade, which satisfies the conditions of theorem 4.1
Proof: The existence of a collection of PA distributions satisfying the conditions of
theorem 4.1 is proved by showing the non-negativity, and unity sum of such PPA(x) (from
which the condition of unity upper bound automatically follows).
The non-negativity of the PPA(x) which satisfies the conditions of theorem 4.1 is
ensured by conditions 1 and 3 of the theorem itself (since the elements of P are all
non-negative).
That the PPA(x) which satisfy the conditions of theorem 4.1 will sum to unity, is
proved by writing equation (4.31) as

PA ( x )( I

x =0

P ) = R()%n()

(4.35)

Determination of recruitment age in Markov manpower systems

83

which yields

1
PPA ( x) = R ()( I P ) %n() = l
x = 0

(4.36)

where, we have made use of the identity: R() = n()(I P), which holds for all Markov
manpower systems, thereby proving the theorem.
The related and consequent problem of rectification of a collection of PA
distributions if found non-maintainable, is essentially that of constructing suitable PA
distributions that would not violate the conditions of theorem 4.1.
Identical results hold for TA distributions also.

4.2.2 The set of maintainable age distributions


The significance of the equations above and some insight into the possible shapes of
maintainable PA distributions can be discerned from the conditions of theorem 4.1
a

For grade one


PPA ( x)1 PPA ( x 1)1 p11

(4.37)

And if the minimum values are chosen, a geometric distribution with


PPA (0)1 = R1 (1 p11 ) / n1 ()

(4.38)

is obtained in grade one.


Thus, it is not possible to have PPA(0)1 greater than the RHS of equation (4.38).
However, if PPA(0)1 is chosen to be less than the RHS of equation (4.38), then it is
possible to have arbitrary shapes, however, with the tail decaying to zero
geometrically, in view of equation (4.37) and the condition of unity sum.
If PPA ( x)1 = 0x < amin,1 , then the same arguments hold with PPA(amin,1)in place of
PPA(0)1.
b

For grade j, we have


0 PPA ( x) j PPA ( x 1) P. j R j () / n j ()

(4.39)

where Pj is the jth column of P, which for super-diagonal P reduces to


PPA ( x) j PPA ( x 1) j 1 p j 1, j + PPA ( x 1) j p jj

(4.40)

and then to
x 1

PPA ( x) j p j 1, j (

PA ( x 1 l ) j ( p jj )

) + PPA (0) j ( p jj ) x

(4.41)

l =0

which again shows that it is possible to have a wide variety of shapes of the PPA(x)j
curves, however, with the tail decaying to zero asymptotically, in view of equation
(4.41).

84
c

K. Nilakantan and B.G. Raghavendra


And if PPA ( x) j 1 = 0x < amin, j 1 , then can be (but not necessarily so) zero
x < amin, j 1 + 1, and non-zero thereafter, and equation (4.41) can be written as
amin, j 1 +1

PPA ( x) j p j 1, j (

l =0

PPA ( x 1 l) j ( p jj )l ) + PPA (amin, j 1 + 1) j ( p jj )

x amin, j 1 1

(4.42)

which again permits a wide variety of shapes for the PA curves, with the tail again
decaying to zero asymptotically in view of equation (4.42).
d

It is conceivable that the planner might want the following conditions to hold for PA
proportions: PPA(x)j = 0 for x amin,j, where amin,j is the desired minimum PA below
which range the PA proportions in grade j are zero.
Such a distribution is maintainable, as can be seen from the above equations.

However, a condition of the type: PPA(x)j = 0 for x amax,j is not maintainable, as can
be seen from equation (4.42).

Thus within the interval [amin,j, ), the PA proportions can have any desired profile,
provided they do not violate equations (4.40) to (4.42) , and thus, the maintainable set
admits a wide variety of PA distributions.
A more detailed characterisation of the maintainable set offers scope for further
research.
If a collection of PA distributions is maintainable, then the collection of recruitment
age distributions which would maintain it can be obtained from the working equations
below.
Pr (0) = PPA (0) * n()% R()

(4.43)

Pr ( x) = ( PPA ( x) PPA ( x 1) P) * n()% R()

(4.44)

For testing the maintainability of a collection of PA distributions, applying the


test-conditions given in theorem 4.1 in practice, presents certain difficulties, and often
practically achieved and maintained PA distributions can fail the test conditions of
theorem 4.1. This is due to the following reasons:
1

in practice, the values are restricted to integer values, which can cause the PA
distributions to fail the test conditions,

maintainable PA distributions are required to decay to zero asymptotically by


condition (4.41), whereas in practice, the PA proportions almost always will hit zero
and stay zero beyond a certain PA, which is the max permissible PA of an individual
(the retirement PA), and hence, the tail end of a practically maintained PA
distribution will almost certainly fail the condition (4.41).

Nevertheless, these equations can still be used in practice, although with a certain degree
of approximation, as is shown in the example in Section 5.2 below.
All the results above extend in an identical manner to TA distributions also.

Determination of recruitment age in Markov manpower systems

85

Examples

5.1 Computational examples


We consider a (proportionality) manpower system with the following parameters:
0.6
0
P=
0

0.2

0.8
0

0.05
0.65

0
0
0.2

0.85

0
0
F =
0

1
0

0
2

0
0
0

and

R1 ( ) = 100,

which yield, R() = (100, 50, 12.5, 5.37). (In general systems R() can be chosen
arbitrarily).
To illustrate the determination of recruitment ages by the first method of MeanPA, we
fix the desired MeanPA vector as [20, 28, 36, 45].
The desired recruitment age vector is then readily calculated using equation (4.4), as
A = (18.5, 27, 44.4, 48.5).
If, instead, the desired range of MeanPA is fixed as [20, 28, 36, 45] to
[25, 33, 40, 50], the range of recruitment ages comes out as (18.5, 27, 44.4, 48.5) to
(23.5, 32, 46.4, 54.7), thereby providing a measure of flexibility to the planner.
We next illustrate the determination of the recruitment age vector A using the
restricted tails criterion. The system we use for this computation is one with the same P,
with F = diagl(0,1,1,2). The other parameters are as follows:
a

the vector b of cut-off PA in the grades is taken as (30,35,45,55) and

the vector X, of maximum permissible proportion of the grades with PA above the
cut off PA, is taken as (.05, .10, .20, .15).

Then, using equations (4.11) and (4.12) we get


1

a1 < 24.14

choosing a1 = 20 yields a2 <26. 38

choosing a2 = 25 yields a3 < 39.11

choosing a3 = 35 yields a4 < 45.18

and finally, choosing a4 = 45 yields A = (20, 25, 35, 45).

An illustration of the determination of recruitment age distributions under stochastic


recruitment ages is provided in the next section with real-world data.

5.2 A real-world example


The data in this example pertains to a large heavy engineering firm. The company
exhibited a relatively stable organisational structure over a four year period over which
data was drawn from the companys records, and relates to the cadres of engineers in the
engine division of the company.
Data on the prevailing PA characteristics were gathered for grades one to four only,
as the higher grades were found to be too small in size.
There was no recruitment to grades three and above as per the prevailing policies of
the company. The transition probability matrix of the system was estimated as

86

K. Nilakantan and B.G. Raghavendra


0.0
0.9 0.05 0.0
0 0.84 0.067 0.0

P=
0
0
0.85 0.067

0
0
0.84
0

The company followed proportionality policies which yielded a value of the F matrix as:
F = diagl{0, 2, , ), i.e., the recruitment to grade two was equal to half the number of
promotions to it, and recruitment to grades three and four were proscribed. The steady
state recruitment vector for the system was: R() = (30, 11, 0, 0).
The actual prevailing PA proportions across the grades are given in terms of the
uj(, x) values in Table 1, which give very jagged PA curves, and the smoothed-out
version, in Table 2, wherein we allow the values to be fractional. Using equations (4.43)
and (4.44), the recruitment age distributions were calculated and are tabulated in Table 3
and plotted in Figure 1 and Figure 2, for grades one and two respectively, which yield
approximate bimodal distributions for the recruitment ages. (There was no recruitment to
grades three and four). The curves show some very small negative values, which in
practice, are to be interpreted as zero, since exact zero values are usually never achieved,
due to the reasons given in Section 4.2. For the same reasons, the negative values of the
proportions at the tail of the distributions are also neglected, and the values then
normalised. Thus, the recruitment age distributions which would maintain the prevailing
PA distributions are arrived at with a degree of approximation.
Table 1

U values from actually prevailing PA distributions

PA

u1

u2

u3

u4

20
22
24
26
28
30
32
34
36
38
40
42
44
46
48
50
52
54
56
58
60

0
0
6
18
20
13
7
8
7
15
11
16
27
29
17
19
19
18
5
8
0

0
0
2
2
9
11
9
3
7
4
10
7
7
4
9
16
14
16
4
8
0

0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
3
1
2
4
8
10
1
6
3
5
8
2
0

0
0
0
0
0
0
0
4
8
3
4
4
3
0
1
3
3
5
0
1
0

Determination of recruitment age in Markov manpower systems


Table 2

87

U data from smoothed PA curves

PA

u1

u2

u3

u4

24
26
28
30
32
34
36
38
40
42
44
46
48
50
52
54
56
58
60

4.5
15
16.5
14.5
12.5
10.5
8
6.5
6
12
23.5
26.5
27.5
21
17
14
11
9
0

0
1
3.5
8
9.5
9
7.5
6.5
5.5
6
7
10.5
13.5
14.5
14
13
11
8
0

0
0
0
2
2.5
3.5
4
4.5
4
3.8
3.7
3.5
3.7
4
4
4
4
4
0

0
0
0
0
0
1.5
1.8
2
2.5
2.7
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
0

Table 3

The computed recruitment age distributions

PA

pr1

pr2

24
26
28
30
32
34
36
38
40
42
44
46
48
50
52
54
56
58
60

0.1754
0.4269
0.117
0.0136
0.0214
0.0292
0.0565
0.0273
0.0058
0.2573
0.4951
0.2086
0.1423
0.1462
0.0741
0.0507
0.0624
0.0351
0.3158

0
0.0714
0.176
0.3901
0.1893
0.0364
0.0539
0.0184
0.0263
0.0995
0.1253
0.3174
0.3091
0.1644
0.0709
0.0359
0.0571
0.1649
0.6605

88

K. Nilakantan and B.G. Raghavendra

Figure 1

The computed recruitment age distribution for grade one (see online version for
colours)
0.35
0.3

Proportions

0.25
0.2
0.15

NldPr1

0.1
0.05
0
-0.05 0

20

40

60

80

-0.1
Rectt Age

Figure 2

The computed recruitment age distribution for grade two (see online version for
colours)
0.25

Proportions

0.2
0.15
NldPr2

0.1
0.05
0
-0.05

20

40

60

80

Rectt Age

Figure 3

The actual recruitment age distribution for grade one (see online version for colours)
0.3

Proportions

0.25
0.2
0.15

ActDstr1

0.1
0.05
0
-0.05

20

40
Rectt Age

60

80

Determination of recruitment age in Markov manpower systems


Figure 4

89

The actual recruitment age distribution for grade two (see online version for colours)
0.3
0.25

Proportions

0.2
0.15
ActDstr2

0.1
0.05
0
-0.05

20

40

60

80

Rectt Age

Table 4(a) Kolmogorov-Smirnov D test for grade one


Rectt age
20

ActDstr1

NldPr1

CuActDst1

CumPr1

KSD1

22

24

0.091

0.10438

0.091

0.10438

0.01338

26

0.161867

0.254047

0.252867

0.358427

0.10556

28

0.093025

0.069626

0.345892

0.428053

0.08216

30

0.034222

0.00809

0.380113

0.41996

0.03985

32

0.01259

0.01274

0.392703

0.407224

0.01452

34

0.004631

0.01738

0.397334

0.389848

0.007487

36

0.001704

0.03362

0.399038

0.356225

0.042813

38

0.000627

0.01625

0.399665

0.339979

0.059686

40

0.000231

0.003452

0.399895

0.34343

0.056465

42

0.105

0.153118

0.504895

0.496548

0.008347

44

0.274332

0.294632

0.779227

0.791181

0.01195

46

0.139548

0.124137

0.918775

0.915318

0.003458

48

0.051337

0.084682

0.970112

0.02989

50

0.018886

0.988998

0.011

52

0.006948

0.995946

0.00405

54

0.002556

0.998502

-0.0015

56

0.00094

0.999442

-0.00056

58

0.000346

0.999788

-0.00021

60

0.000127

0.999915

-8.5E-05

Max

0.059686

Min

0.10556

Note: Tabulated value of D(n, ): D(20, 0.2) = 0.231

90

K. Nilakantan and B.G. Raghavendra

Table 4(b) Kolmogorov-Smirnov D test for grade two


Rectt age

ActDstr2

NldPr2

CuActDst2

CumPr2

KSD2

20

22

24

26

0.008

0.035791

0.008

0.035791

-0.02779

28

0.092

0.088225

0.1

0.124016

-0.02402

30

0.279323

0.195549

0.379323

0.319565

0.059758

32

0.139545

0.094892

0.518868

0.414457

0.104412

34

0.051336

0.018247

0.570204

0.432703

0.137501

36

0.018885

0.027019

0.58909

0.459722

0.129367

38

0.006948

0.00922

0.596037

0.450499

0.145538

40

0.002556

0.01318

0.598593

0.437315

0.161278

42

0.00094

0.049877

0.599533

0.487192

0.112341

44

0.092

0.06281

0.691533

0.550003

0.141531

46

0.161009

0.159106

0.852543

0.709108

0.143435

48

0.093077

0.154945

0.94562

0.864053

0.081566

50

0.034241

0.08241

0.979861

0.946463

0.033397

52

0.012597

0.035541

0.992457

0.982004

0.010453

54

0.004634

0.017996

0.997091

-0.00291

56

0.001705

0.998796

-0.0012

58

0.000627

0.999423

-0.00058

60

0.000231

0.999654

-0.00035

Max

0.161278

Min

-0.02779

Note: Tabulated value of D(n, ): D(20, 0.2) = 0.231

To check the validity of the results, they were compared with the actual recruitment age
distributions which were as under.
The recruitment to grade one had two streams: young engineers from external sources
as well as of those taken from the non-supervisory cadres below grade one. The grade
was therefore, a mix of people who had risen up from the ranks and were hence of higher
age (of age 42 and above) and young engineers recruited to the grade from external
sources who belonged to a lower age group (of age 24 and above), with both groups
skewed towards the lower ages. The recruitment ages in grade two were again found to
fall into two groups, one between 28 and 34, and one between 44 and 48. These are given
in Table 5, and shown in Figure 3 and Figure 4 for grades one and two respectively.
A goodness of fit test was performed using the Kolmogorov-Smirnov D statistic and
is shown in Table 4(a) and Table 4(b). We can note a good degree of conformance of the
calculated recruitment age distributions with the actual data.

Determination of recruitment age in Markov manpower systems


Table 5
Rectt age
20
22
24
26
28
30
32
34
36
38
40
42
44
46
48
50
52
54
56
58
60
Figure 5

The actual recruitment age distributions


ActDstr1
0
0
0.091
0.161867
0.093025
0.034222
0.01259
0.004631
0.001704
0.000627
0.000231
0.105
0.274332
0.139548
0.051337
0.018886
0.006948
0.002556
0.00094
0.000346
0.000127

ActDstr2
0
0
0
0.008
0.092
0.279323
0.139545
0.051336
0.018885
0.006948
0.002556
0.00094
0.092
0.161009
0.093077
0.034241
0.012597
0.004634
0.001705
0.000627
0.000231

The Markov chain model of a hierarchical manpower system

Notes: S is the state space of the discrete-time Markov chain, and consists of the n-tuples
(n1, n2, n3, , nk) , where each of the nj can take on non-negative values.
The state space of the chain is thus the k-fold Cartesian product of the set of
non-negative real numbers, R+, i.e., S = R+ R+ R+ R+ = {R+}k.

91

92

K. Nilakantan and B.G. Raghavendra

Conclusions

This paper has studied the determination of the recruitment ages which would meet two
prime objectives of the manpower planner, viz. to ensure that the grades are manned by
staff with adequate experience, and to ensure smooth flow of personnel up the grades of
the hierarchy.
The first two methods proposed treat recruitment ages as deterministic, namely, the
one based on MeanPA, and the method of restricted tails. Both methods are quick, robust,
distribution-free, and easy to put into practice, and would be of good value to planners.
Under stochastic recruitment ages, firstly, conditions for maintainability of a collection of
PA distributions across the grades have been derived, and then the recruitment age
distributions for the grades which would maintain them. The results have been illustrated
with computations, and validated with real-world data.
The methods and results extend in an identical manner to aggregate tenure
distributions also.
A detailed study of the maintainable set offers scope for further research.

Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank the three anonymous referees for their very detailed
comments, the incorporation of which has substantially enhanced the quality of the paper.
This research was fully funded and supported by the Department of Management Studies,
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore-560012, India.

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