Expat hiring picking up at top management levels: Experts

By: | Published: November 23, 2014 11:47 AM

HR experts believe that at least 15-20 per cent of Indian companies have hiring expats for executive-level positions.

Expatriates are in high demand for top management positions at Indian companies. (Thinkstock)Expatriates are in high demand for top management positions at Indian companies. (Thinkstock)

Expatriates are in high demand for top management positions at Indian companies, as such groups further expand their global presence, experts say.

While 30,000-35,000 expats are estimated to be working at various professional positions in India at present, HR experts believe that at least 15-20 per cent of Indian companies have hiring expats for executive-level positions, including for the roles of CEO and board members.

While hiring of expatriates across industries has been growing at a steady pace over the last two decades, this trend has accelerated considerably in the last few years.

As per HR services firm Randstad India, about 30,000- 35,000 expats are working in India at present and this number is set to increase by around 10-15 per cent a year going forward, as India returns to a path of economic growth.

“With Indian companies also increasing their presence globally, we are witnessing significant expat hires with the technical and functional knowledge to compete with global competitors,” Randstad India CEO Moorthy K Uppaluri said.

Apart from the positive outlook of the economy, the ease in travelling, better connectivity better lifestyle at much lower costs have greatly facilitated this trend, he added.

Executive search firm MANCER Consulting CEO Satya D Sinha said that “the concept of expat hiring at top level management has always been prevalent across globe. With the increasing globalisation the trend is even more visible in last five-six years”.

Uppaluri said the trend has accelerated in the last five years, while Sinha feels there has been a major upsurge in hiring activities for expat in the last 5-6 months on account of change in government and rising Indian economy.

Experts said about 70 per cent of expats are hired at senior CEO levels while the rest are taken in at middle or junior management position.

Unison International’s MD Udit Mittal said that most common reason for hiring expats was lack of skill availability in the domestic market.

“Another common reason that firms use expats is for their superior communication skills and because they have an understanding of new markets and how business is done in their home countries,” Mittal noted.

MyHiringClub.com CEO Rajesh Kumar said that most expat hiring is taking place on top management level.

“One major reason for hiring expats on top management is their skills and exposure of international market,” he added.

Major players looking to hire expats are in the automobile sector, retail, e-commerce space, aviation, engineering and manufacturing, experts said.

“With a lot of mergers and acquisitions happening and India being a fact paced economy, a lot of Indian business houses are taking up JVs with international brands,” Mittal said.

Interestingly, Sinha said, a lot of the expats have begun their own start-ups in India.

According to talent management firm DDI’s Amogh Deshmukh, “While they (expats) may be new to Indian way of working and the culture, they are still quite adept at learning and accepting the new work culture and environment”.

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