Overseas hiring dynamics of Indian tech start-ups
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Tech Start-ups The Indian technology industry has been making its mark for the past three decades. The first era was of Indian ITeS companies typically in an active implementation mode followed by the emergence of Global MNCs with Indian development centres. Essentially, we were growing big from talent specificity point of view but we were still very engineering centric. The thought seeding did not happen in India. Most of the definitions were pre-set in the global environment and India continued to assist in engineering, manufacturing and support. The third wave that has erupted is the motivation to build in India for India. With a high emphasis on product development and setting the course for product development, things are definite to change, Indian firms. Along with the promising macroenvironment, the technology start-ups now are willing to spend that money and effort to hire people from overseas. Moreover, VCs are backing this thought.
With the aspirational talent and the inherent confidence of employability in the valley, the demand stakes are high. The fact that the acquisition of talent comprising demands and perks that are equivalent to the valley, does not change the initial thought. Indian start-ups provide stock benefits that ensure the talent is financially at a win-win situation. Start-ups achieve a triumph over apprehensions with reasons like a clear market access, legal support, low taxes,low cost of living, and the individual benefits that one can reap.
The global opportunity and the inherent aspiration of these companies to expand is an upside. Also many start-ups play with the conventional sentiment of a candidate of providing the experience of working in cross cultural environments which acts as a strong differentiator in one’s portfolio. Most of these overseas hiring happen at one-level below the existing CXOs. Also, the acquisition typically is driven by couple of functions like technology, product development, UI/UX modelling, business modelling, corporate M&A and strategy. While supply chain continues to be a standard function of attention but not many hires have happened in that avenue in the last couple of years.
The talent pool based in the Silicon Valley is looking for opportunities that are at least one or two levels higher than their current designation. They are in their early 30s with kids in the age-group of two-five years. This demographic feature plays an important role in start-ups’ strategies to make the Indian market conducive to long-term movement. Most of these people have a strong urge to groom the children in India for a cultural inclination and get back to the US.
Start-ups are pursuing sustained effort of visiting the valley and arranging sessions with the target talent. Indian start-ups do not target a traditional enterprise. The area of interest lies in the more thought provoked overseas startups, which is 10 per cent of the valley market. This is in complete congruence with the internal talent demand. Tools and this has encouraged start-ups in the technology space.
Amid these, basically two kinds of companies are prevalent – start-ups with entrepreneurs armed with western product development education and experience who weave business models adept for the Indian market and companies that are conceived by a group of youngsters armed with education but lack of business experience and conditioning. These companies develop products that qualify to be called disruptions. In the last two years, an unprecedented capital flow in India has provided a great impetus and this helped us ferment the concept of being Glocal. But the Indian talent is yet to come closer to unmatched overseas experience, scalable designs and winning disruptions. This forces start-ups to knock on the doors of the silicon Indians who have forayed into the deeper crevices of sustained success.
The dream of creating a global footprint for any Indian start-up comes at a price. So, start-ups start doing rigorous homework for entire talent acquisition exercise. This talent acquisition is typically aimed at building the top 60 per cent of the strategic and critical taskforce of the organisation. While setting some boundaries, let’s set some context around the Internet and technology start-ups.
The overall Indian market in this domain is roughly about $35-40 billion. The US stands today at around $1.1 trillion and China should be hovering around $600–700 billion. There is a continuous stream of money flowing into the Indian ecosystem. The market growth anticipated is around $150–200 billion. So the wealth creation could be a wide range of around $35–200 billion in the next three years. We have witnessed a huge economic growth of $100 billion in the IT services industry alone in the past 10 years. So by 2018 with an estimate of the resources available, we could witness a 2X growth, i.e. $200 billion.
The exponential growth sets the tone for a promising career in the Indian Subcontinent. This forecast is playing vital role for start-ups in luring the Silicon Valley talent. Although there is not an Indian meltdown anticipated with Indian folks settled in the Silicon Valley for good, a promising global career in a fast growing economy of the world, entices most people to join hands with like mailers, digital campaign and word of mouth are still the ways start-ups approach the potential talent. Apart from these tools, companies choose to conduct exclusive job fairs and oneto- one sessions with identified talent.
With structured interactions oriented towards networking, start-ups encourage a dialogue to help a candidate get wellversed with the entire exercise. The objective is to provide people an idea about societal norms, facilities available for the family, tax details, knowledge about schooling, and culture of the focus company.
Typical conversion ratio is fairly high from meeting to conviction. But a give-in is probably a 30–40 per cent. Efforts are also taken to talk to the extended family to understand any bottlenecks that would largely influence the entire movement. The exercise also involves to the level of drilling-down to making the ancillary arrangements for the immediate family including the school arrangements.
Companies also make efforts to extending infrastructural support in existing academic institutions for providing assurance about education to those who are deliberating their movement to India for good. Recruitment is a wave sweeping the entire world right now. India can be touted as the Silicon Valley of Asia. The macro-environment around India is highly promising. Social condition has not changed in India unfortunately. But this definitely is not a deterrent.
Our orientation to build products is positive, but the infrastructure is a challenge area. Indian start-ups go for overseas hires not because they don’t see the talent here, but they want to take a proven talent and faster transition from a do-what to do-this. With stakes being higher offered by these numerous start-ups; the differentiation at the business model and the promise that the company offers actually attracts the talent.