Think Global People, Think India webinar

Catch up with Relocate’s first webinar on how to support employees to flourish on an international assignment to India.

Relocate Magazine January 2020
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In November, Relocate Global’s Fiona Murchie joined forces with Laura Levenson of Weichert Workforce Mobility, Rohit Kumar of Ikan Relocations, and Holly Creed of DXC Technology to discuss the latest developments in India’s fast-moving mobility and relocation scene.In a now-downloadable webinar, the four global mobility experts offered new perspectives on a country that has grown in the last two decades to become the world’s fifth-largest economy, has the world’s second-largest English-speaking population after the US and an IT services powerhouse worth $180 billion to India’s GDP.Relocate Global’s Think India webinar is a timely addition to the global mobility knowledge pool. India is a vital actor in the Asian Century. While it has experienced high levels of mobility into and out of the country in recent decades, the economic growth and skills challenges of the fourth industrial revolution are changing India’s mobility scene in major ways. Not least, in terms of employee experience and support.

India and the Asian Century – driving global growth

“India has an annual supply of 1.5 million engineering graduates alone, helping it make the largest supplier of IT and IT-enabled services,” explained Rohit Kumar, joint managing director of Ikan Relocations.“This young and educated workforce makes India the fastest-growing economy in the world, with a target of becoming a $5 trillion economy in the next five years, $6 trillion by 2027 and potentially the third-largest by 2030.”The country’s highly sought-after technology expertise has seen the number of Indian nationals relocating outside of the country and domestically across each mobility segment continuing to rise. This could be enhanced further, for example, by the US Senate’s expected passing of the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act 2019.The legislation – matched by changes in the UK and elsewhere – should make it easier for more highly skilled Indian nationals and their employers to transition from work-related permits and secure permanent residence.

What does this mean for mobility in India?

Contextualising these trends and their implications for global mobility, Laura Levenson, Weichert Workforce Mobility’s practice and advisory consultant, drew from Weichert’s new research and white paper, Propelling India Mobility.Weichert’s representative qualitative and quantitative study of more than 50 companies with operations in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru across all industry sectors showed that on balance, mobility volumes will increase.Reflecting observations of more mobility across all segments, the study found the four mobility types showing the greatest growth in the next three years are:
  • Short-term international assignments – 59% increase (7% and 24% respectively)
  • Permanent international transfers – 53% (12% and 27%)
  • New hires – 49 per cent increase (30% staying the same and 4% no change)
  • Domestic transfers – 34 per cent (5% and 38%).

IKAN provides an overview of some of the countries major cities, including their culture, food, travel, education and transportation. Read more here.

Family support now fundamental

During the Think India webinar, Ms Levenson added her own valuable insights garnered from conversations with assignees and global mobility managers into and outbound from India.Concurring with Mr Kumar’s assessment of the major relocation challenges, Ms Levenson identified the key issues as “family adjustment, finding housing that will be comfortable and fits the lifestyle of an accompanying spouse who, for the most part, is not able to work, and the inability of most foreign nationals to drive and, therefore, get around on their own.”DXC Technology’s global mobility manager Holly Creed also agreed these are the major sticking points, both to successful international assignments and India-outbound assignments.Ms Creed explained how DXC is offering extra support to address the challenges, including spousal and intercultural support. “Within DXC Technology we find Indian nationals struggling sometimes when settling into a new location. Historically, there was little requirement to offer support, but we are finding that the assignment population are now requesting this.“Any benefit that promotes duty of care and enables an employee to settle quickly into their new location – for example, cultural and language training and DSP support – is essential to ensure a good duty of care and minimise disruption to the employee.“Assignments are expensive,” said Ms Creed. “Enabling employees to focus on the job versus the nitty-gritty of life can increase productivity and revenue. I am seeing more and more that this population is no longer just content with a lump sum of cash. They want support and help to ensure their family are looked after.“Support to spouses is also becoming a requirement,” Ms Creed continued. “It is still something that is not well handled, but in the last five years, more Indian spouses are working and can no longer undertake an assignment. The changing culture and increase in talent are seeing a difference in how Indian nationals view an assignment and the strategic benefits it can offer.”

Learning from policy and practice

Looking at the research, DXC’s approach certainly chimes with Weichert’s findings – from the Indian perspective at least. These increasing employee aspirations are being matched by their employers.One of Weichert’s research goals was to identify what the top priorities of India-based global mobility programme owners are and how they are enacting these. For Ms Levenson, “the results were really compelling. Cost, for example, was not at the top of the list, but risk and managing employee experience were, which doesn’t completely align with what we hear from global owners of mobility programmes [where] cost is almost always #1 or #2.”Taken together, when it comes to making the most of mobility to and from India – and the opportunities global and domestic companies are capitalising on – getting country-specific, employee- and family-centred input is fundamental to serving a prized mobile population on the move globally and around this fast-moving, diverse and dynamic country.

Find out more about what mobile employees in to and out of India are looking for and how you can assist by visiting our India section

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