Monday, April 14, 2008

India a hot destination for CEOs

The Indian office of a leading multinational mobile phone company is facing an unusual challenge. It is losing top executives who have declined senior-level assignments abroad because they do not want to miss opportunities in India.The brain drain, it seems, is passe. India is becoming one of the hottest destinations for expatriates (both those of Indian origin and foreigners) for top jobs. That is because big business houses in India are ready to offer pay packets that are equivalent to and sometimes more than global benchmarks.

This is a key finding of a study of senior recruitment trends by US-based SpencerStuart, a leading executive search firm that specialises in recruiting CEOs, presidents and COOs for companies globally.SpencerStuart, which has operations in India and recruits CEOs for almost half the Fortune 500 companies, said for key sectors like retail, real estate, power, oil and gas and refining, transportation and logistics, Indian business houses are offering annual salary packages ranging from $750,000 to $1.5 million - excluding stock options.Nearly half the CEOs and COOs recruited in these sectors are foreigners (including non-resident Indians).CEO salaries in these sectors are nearly double what companies pay in other sectors, which could range from $350,000 to $750,000.

"Expats are increasingly finding India a more exciting market in which to work than mature markets. And large Indian companies in certain sectors are willing to match if not better global salaries to get talent which is difficult to get in India," said Anjali Bansal, managing director of SpencerStuart.In fact, she added, multinationals are finding it difficult to woo Indians at the senior level to take up foreign postings abroad.As a strategy, SpencerStuart has advised clients to shift regional headquarters from, say, Singapore or Hong Kong to India so that senior Indian executives can operate as heads from India. Several companies are considering this option.SpencerStuart also said certain countries have been identified for CEO recruitment for India. Contrary to common belief the US is not the favoured recruitment ground.

In real estate the happy hunting grounds include Australia, south east Asia and the UK, amongst others. For oil and gas and power they are Kazakhstan, the North Sea area, Canada and West Asia. For retail the hottest recruitment grounds are West Asia, south east Asia (especially Hong Kong) and Europe.


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