As businesses continue to invest in the rapidly developing markets of China and India, they are becoming more aware of the challenges involved in finding the right talent to manage their investments. Their investment needs to be managed by a high-caliber team with expertise far beyond traditional business skills. As Human Resource professionals need to recruit local managers to fill these positions, they need to know how to approach their recruitment search and where to find suitable candidates.
The demand for qualified managers in China is staggering. According to the McKensey
Global Institute, it is estimated that China will need 75,000 globally effective leaders over the next 10-15 years and that there are only 3,000-5,000 individuals in China who meet the criteria.
Local hires understand the China business environment, the language, and the culture, but many lack international business experience, regional management expertise and in many cases, fluent English skills. Nurturing a local employee and developing these skills is a slow process. It’s also risky. The investments in China are creating so many opportunities, that there is high demand for local staff and therefore, high staff turnover.
As the political and economic environment evolves in China, more Chinese students will be educated in Western markets and will begin to acquire the much-needed global experience needed to manage a multinational business in China. Over time, the number of returning Chinese nationals will increase and the labor pool of qualified managers will expand. In the meantime, many companies are choosing to hire Western employees to fill the gap. The most desirable candidates will be well versed in international business and be culturally savvy. The majority of them, however, will need intercultural training.
An advantage of hiring local managers in India, as opposed to China, is that the majority of them will speak English. Furthermore, Indian students have been attending university and working in Western markets for decades. Having lived and worked around the world, not only have they gained a worldly perspective, but these professionals have also become familiar with other key areas of business, including global business operations and cultural diversity–which makes them very attractive candidates.
As in China, Human Resource professionals are realizing that they need employees who not only understand the Indian culture and local business practices but who also
have global experience and have worked in a variety of international cultures.
Subsequently, these companies are focusing on hiring “returning” Indians who have acquired the necessary skills. This creates a unique talent pool of available candidates for companies investing in India. These professionals are often recruited by multinational companies and return to India to begin new careers in their homeland. Or, they are returning home on their own and finding new jobs locally. Both of these factors are creating opportunities for companies to find suitable talent to manage their businesses in India.
Finding the right talent is just the beginning
Despite the existing talent pool of Indian nationals, many Human Resource professionals are still finding it necessary to hire Western employees to manage their overseas investments. If they do in fact recruit a Westerner, the employee will need to be relocated and provided with ongoing support during their assignment. Providing them with intercultural training, finding them a place to live and navigating tax and immigration laws are just a few of the challenges.
For employees with families, assisting them with finding the best school for their children and providing spousal support services are also used to help increase the likelihood of a successful assignment. If the employee is a returning Indian National, there are other issues to consider. Some Indians have been living overseas for 10 or 15 years since leaving University. The India they return to will be very different to the one they left. They have been used to living life in the West and will likely face the same adaptability issues as a Western employee will when they arrive in India. In fact, sometimes returning Indians have even more difficulty adjusting as they have higher expectations of a smoother settling in the process than expats do, and may become frustrated when they face challenges.
Many relocation companies help Human Resource professionals support these international assignees. Companies like Crown Relocations have been providing these support services for decades. Crown was originally established in Japan in 1965, expanded to China in 1985 and to India in 1998. With staff members working with expats every day, Crown’s employees have empathy for relocating employees and first-hand knowledge of life in China and India. They understand the type of support Human Resource professionals need to help their employees relocate and settle in quickly.
In 2006, Crown developed a formal program to educate Crown’s corporate staff on expat issues in China and India and to share Crown’s knowledge with Human Resource professionals around the world. The multifaceted program consists of in-market visits to China and India, multi-country seminars for industry professionals and the development of knowledge “tools” ranging from housing and school comparison reports to country-specific websites and destination guides.