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India – Expats not keen on Indian job market, fear about safety prevails

29 April 2013

India has become a less popular destination as a potential workplace for expat professionals, following recent cases of attacks on foreigners. A survey by MyHiringClub.com found that expats who were keen to work in the country last year are now looking at other countries such as the Philippines, Gulf/Middle East, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The survey, which questioned over 2,000 respondents, also showed that 38% are still willing to work in India. But overall, the recruitment of expat professionals in the country is expected to drop by up to 20% this year, after seeing a rise of +18% in 2012.  

During the first quarter of the year, the hiring of such expats has dropped by -37% on the prior year. India is estimated to employ around 39,000 expats in a number of industries. The survey found that high-profile media reports of rape incidents have shifted the view of workers on the Indian job market.

Expats now worry more about their safety, while many are also concerned about work culture and infrastructure. Information technology, automobile, hospitality and manufacturing are some of the sectors most affected by this development.

“Expats were keen to be part of the Indian workforce to not only gain first-hand experience in a global economy but also be a part of the dynamic India growth story, but now they are suffering from safety fear in India,” said MyHiringClub.com CEO, Rajesh Kumar.

“The crime and continuous attack on foreigners in India is the major reason where expats are not considering India as comfortable and suitable job destination as of now.” 

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Jeanne Heydecker 04/29/2013 09:20 am

I am an American expat living and working in India for the past seven years. We've lived in Kolkata, Gurgaon, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune. We were living in Delhi when the rape occurred that became international news. It is scary. My son and his friends frequented the Saket Select City Walk mall and the same movie theatre where the victims had gone that evening before this incident occurred. It was horrifying, but far worse were the comments made by politicians blaming the victims. THAT was far worse. Bear in mind that rape occurs everywhere. It is NOT an "Indian" problem. It is an international problem. We decided to move to Pune in January. While the rape was not the deciding factor, it was one of many factors.

Safety here is just like any other urban center where common sense will save you most of the time. More at issue is kidnapping. Expats feel exposed, especially Americans, due to factors happening in our own country and our "war on terrorism". The effects of our own country's actions have made us targets in countries with populations sympathetic to our "enemies".

Expat concerns over work culture and infrastructure are far more potent issues. India is a very hard country to work in as a foreigner. They keep changing the rules and you never really know what you're supposed to do. There is absolutely no transparency on any registration process and it changes from state to state. Corruption is widespread. The police will never help you as a foreigner - you are seen just as a wallet. Someone from whom to gain.

Being an expat is a life of isolation. You live separately from the local culture. The only people you can trust will be other expats. While most Indians are wonderfully helpful and kind, once you've been cheated over and over again, and when catching them in the act, having them laugh at you like it's not a serious thing, well... you become more isolated. There are many, many more countries out there who actually like foreign workers who bring new ways of thinking, that have laws that enable foreign workers to have some basic civil rights, easier tax treaties, better banking, etc. Expats don't have to take this complete and total lack of clarity anywhere else.

I remember one expat telling me that he got "hazard pay", a 30% increase in his salary because he was moving to India. He had lived in nearly 30 countries before India. He spent 6 months working on construction projects in Gurgaon before he gave up and moved to another project in Singapore. He's not alone. Most expats can handle a year here at the most. Very few actually stay long term and raise families here, but those that do develop a deep love and affection for the magic that is India. It's crazy to think so, but India has a way of building a place in your heart that will never let you go. It's exotic, surreal, chaotic and unreal, but totally worth it for the die-hard expat ready for an adventure. India won't disappoint. :-)


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