Mumbai: The shared services businesses of multinationals in India such as Citi, RBS, Walmart Labs, Target, Lowe’s Services and Astra-Zeneca are likely to collectively hire about 500 executives for director-level and above roles in the next one year, according to search firm Xpheno.
The salary package for these roles could be in the Rs 80 lakh to Rs 1.50 crore range, going by Xpheno estimates. There are about 1,250 shared services businesses, or captives, in India and about 30-35 new global inhouse centres (GICs) are expected to come up in the next one year, as companies across sectors including financial services, retail and pharmaceutical expand their India operations, which include technology-driven, high-value projects.
“India’s talent market across a variety of technology areas is very advanced and we want to aggressively tap into this talent pool… We have been consistently building our leadership team in India,” said Hari Vasudev, country head, Walmart Labs India, the technology arm of the US retail giant in Bengaluru.
The ease of finding high-skilled, affordable professionals even at the senior level is the main driver of this trend. India has strong availability of the skills and competencies required for such roles, especially in cloud computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, data science, and virtual reality, among other emerging technologies. Over the years, India has also moved up the value chain in service delivery – less of mundane call centre jobs, and more profiles around innovation and tech ideation.
Royal Bank of Scotland has 22% of its workforce in India, hence the contribution of the team here is core, said Maneesh Menda, senior HR business partner at RBS shared services, which is strengthening its India leadership team.
Experts said increasing investment in emerging technologies is prompting multinational companies to strengthen their presence in India, which now has a critical role in developing products and solutions.
“India offers the best of high skilled, technology and leadership talent at the right price,” said Kamal Karanth, cofounder of Xpheno.
Ankur Mittal, managing director of Lowe’s Services India, said, “From a talent perspective, India is an important destination because we get the best in class talent here in engineering, data analysis, data science, and so on.”
Target Corp, one of the largest retailers in the US, is opening 30 new stores in the US this year and remodeling nearly 300 others. “Our Bengaluru office is an important enabler of that growth,” said Tammy Redpath, president of Target in India.
The company has a 3,000-member team in the city comprising engineers, technologists, software developers and marketers, among others. In demand are digital-savvy senior leaders who can drive technology innovation.
“We will look to hire digital-savvy global leaders with T-shaped skills – with expert knowledge and experience in a particular area, and the ability to collaborate across disciplines,” said Siva Padmanabhan, head of Global Technology Centre, AstraZeneca India, which has a 2,000-strong workforce.
The Citigroup in India, which has service centers in Pune, Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Gurgaon, recently opened an Innovation Lab in Bengaluru. The New York-headquartered financial services corporation has raised its employee count across its service centres in India to about 11,800 at the end of FY19 from about 8,700 in FY17.
While India is becoming the hub for high-value tech transformation work, one cannot deny the clear cost advantage that these companies derive in India.
A 100-seater technology centre in San Francisco costs close to $14 million yearly, $11 million in London, and $9million in Atlanta. A similar set up in Chennai costs $2million per year and in Bengaluru $2.5 million, according to data from Xpheno. Most of the GICs are based out of Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai and Gurgaon.
“Cost arbitrage still remains. Even at high-skilled senior level, companies can easily save up to 60-70% per hire in India, while at the 2-3 years’ experience level the cost arbitrage is one-fourth,” said Karanth. However, the companies claimed that the cost arbitrage is diminishing and the main driver is shifting from cost to availability of talent at scale.