It’s estimated that there are over 25 million Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), most of whom left their native country to seek greater opportunities abroad. However, many are now returning home as the India economy surges and the nation’s outlook seems brighter.

This is contrary to the fact that pay for senior executives has dropped and analysts say that skilled workers in management positions can only expect to earn around half of what they could three years ago.

However, with economic weakness in most western nations, and India’s GDP growth predicted to surpass China’s in 2016, NRIs are eager to return home to find more options for employment and a slightly higher standard of living than several years ago.

The trend of NRIs returning home is not a new one, but was restricted to employees in the IT sector. Hiring managers say that the banking, pharmaceutical, and automobile sectors, to name just a few, are now seeing an influx of Indians returning home.

“With the recovery of the Indian economy and increase in the number of Indian companies looking to expand globally, there is a definite rise in the number of Indian repatriates,” said Moorthy Uppaluri, CEO of Randstad India, one of the country’s largest human resources firms.

NRI India

India has the second largest number of its citizens living abroad, after China.


NRIs Return for Lower Pay, but Help India Economy

A demand for skilled workers, along with high inflation, has reduced the wage gap between senior executives and junior/middle management.

“About a decade ago, the difference in the junior and middle levels was as much as 75%, and at the top management level it was about 50% to 60%. Today, the difference at the junior and middle levels is about 50%, and at the top it’s just about 30% to 40%,” explained Uppaluri.

In the finance and operations industries, where more skilled NRIs are returning home than needed, the drop in executive pay has been especially noticeable.

“If a VP level in finance and operations was earlier coming at Rs 50 lakh, he/she today is ready to take up the assignment for between Rs 35-40 lakh,” said Nilay Khandelwal, regional director at Michael Page.

Despite lower pay, companies still appreciate the international experience that NRIs have and the value they can bring to the Indian economy – however, it mustn’t come at the expense of a lack of local knowledge.

“If someone has built a career in finance and has no knowledge of the Indian accounting and tax regulations, it will make the job search more difficult.”


About Ashoke Gupta

Ashoke is an expert in international trade and has worked in over 10 countries during his life, from Panama to Japan. He currently lives in his hometown of Mumbai and is an expert on West Asian markets.
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