Beckoning Global Indian Managers

Updated: Oct 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
If you thought that Indian managers are moving out of the country to work on a global canvas in search of greater opportunities, challenges and dollars, think again. For, today, companies and consultants say that increasingly a large number of them who have moved out of India to senior and top management positions in the United States, Europe and the Far East, are now looking at coming back to India.

But interestingly, there is a difference this time in the profile of managers returning. They are no longer the middle managers whose contracts have expired and are not being renewed. They are also not just the large number of people who had gone to the Middle East and are now coming home. They are also not merely the senior-level professionals who may have moved from the Indian operations of transnationals to their global operations, either on secondments or longer term contracts and are now shifting back to domestic postings.

But, today, a number of the managers who are looking at coming back to India are those in senior and top management positions in companies in the United States and Europe, sometimes terminating their contracts and often even willing to make financial and other professional compromises. These India-aspirants are also top managers who if they had stayed on in their international postings could even have had chances of rising further up in their career in their respective companies.

But today, leaving all that, management consultants and human resource professionals in Indian companies aver that, an increasing a number of them are looking at coming back to India Whats the lure For one, a number of them feel that organisational politics are sometimes very high in some of these international postings and the cost-benefit analysis of sticking it out there with all the pressures may just not be worth it. Further, it is also felt that in global operations, changes in roles, responsibilities and reporting relationships are very frequent. Most often, there are large number of changes in the international pecking order overnight in transtionals and these affect managerial positions down the line across countries and regions. Some of these changes happen because of cross-border mergers and acquisitions. Another important reason why these managers are re-looking at India seriously now is that salary scales in many Indian companies are being matched or being being closely matched with international levels. Interestingly, these high salary packages are just not in the Indian subsidiaries of transnational corporates as would have been in the past, but in Indian family business groups too.

Further, a number of these managers who in the past would have desisted from joining Indian business groups for fear of potential cultural and working conflicts would now not shy away from them. This is because there is a growing realisation that atleast some of these groups are making internal changes within their companies. Indeed, some of these Indian business groups have indicated that they would like some of these new global recruits to even champion these changes within the companies. It is felt that when this is done by new change agents who come from outside the company, it may be more effective and easier to implement.

It is felt that if this requirement can be combined with the experience of global exposure, then that would be a potent managerial and human resource asset. Returning Indian managers are also finding that opportunities are opening up in a whole host of new areas and not just in the traditional segments like the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) where some of them would have found openings in the past. These new areas include telecom, business process outsourcing, retailing, media and entertainment.

Finally, of course, all of this would not happen unless the virtual job drought that existed in large sections of the economy in India have started easing. In recent months, a large number of corporates are also turning around easing the pressure on the jobs. Clearly, if this early trend is sustained, then it would be one more way in which change would be driven in Indian corporates.