Innovation Spotlight

India’s Dispersed Workers Mean Large Talent Pool for Mobility Hires

The recent headlines focused on migration into the U.S. from its southern borders might lead one to believe that Central America and Mexico top the world in outbound migration. 

But the reality is that India ranks at the top of the world’s nations for number of migrants living abroad.

A recent International Migration Report by the UN notes that more than 16.6 million people from India currently are living overseas, a number that has more than doubled since 2000. In contrast, Mexico accounted for 13 million migrants, the second highest number.

With an estimated 258 million people worldwide living outside their country of birth, India diaspora represent 15 percent of the world’s migrant population. So where is the influx of Indian-born residents now living? Primarily in the Gulf region, where nearly 9 million Indians now at least temporarily call home, according to the researchers. “Since the 1970s, the oil-rich Gulf countries have been a major destination for a vast number of temporary labour migrants from South Asia,” and most notably from India and Pakistan, notes the IOM 2018 World Migration Report. The U.S. is the next most popular destination for India’s expats, with 2.3 million Indian migrants, the IOM notes.

Related: In Recent Decision, India Will No Longer Tax Nonresidents

What’s driving the interest among India’s native-born to live abroad? One factor is a better outlook for jobs, particularly for the educated workforce of doctors, engineers and scientists. India’s world-leading information technology providers have no shortage of demand for globally-dispersed IT talent to staff operations across Europe and the US. And doctors and scientists can tap into global demand for their skills, rather than compete for jobs in a tighter market among India’s rapidly growing population. 

In addition, Indian culture has long valued the dream of gaining an education and work experience abroad. The Indian Students Mobility Report noted a 17.8 percent increase in the number of students going overseas for higher education. Many of those continue to pursue their careers in the countries in which they studied.

In the US alone, those students-turned-professionals comprise a sizeable portion of new business ventures, according to a recent study:

15 percent of firms in the Silicon Valley were founded by Indian immigrants.

Among U.S. entrepreneurs, that's the largest cohort. “Most of those were either graduate students or H-1Bs who migrated to other opportunities,” the authors note.

Related: Disruption and Opportunity in the World of Global Nomads

Competing for Mobility Professionals

The pool of globally dispersed Indian workers represents a treasure trove of talent for companies seeking to staff remote positions. Mobility professionals looking to fill needs in information technology, engineering, finance, and healthcare positions in particular will find a strong pool of candidates among India’s mobile workforce. To maximize your recruitment success with this market segment, hiring managers can take a page from the lessons learned among Indian recruiters, including:

  • Leverage Referrals. According to a recent LinkedIn study of Indian recruiters, employee referrals are the leading source of quality hires. Social professional networks also are a key source for identifying prospective Indian work talent interested in mobile assignments. To compete for the best and the brightest, mobility teams should look for creative ways to encourage referrals from within their own global workforce and actively mine and engage on social networks.
  • Consider the Data. But don’t stop there. Combining employee and social referrals with data delivers an even more powerful mobility hiring strategy. Indian companies lead the way in recognizing that, with nearly two-thirds dedicating mobility and HR team members focused on using data to drive hiring decisions.
  • Promote Your Brand. When it comes to competing for India’s high-level mobile workforce, company brand is paramount. In fact, more than three-fourths of India-based HR managers in a recent study said company brand had a significant impact on their ability to hire top talent. How can you best build your organization’s brand? Use your company website, stay active on online professional networks like LinkedIn, and make social media (including Facebook and Twitter) a strategic part of your mobile recruitment strategies.

Want to learn more about mobility's impact? Join us for India Global Mobility Summit 2018, complete with a full day of programming that will focus on global mobility, HR, expatriate support, immigration, international taxation and compliance, equipping you with new knowledge and business connections. Don't miss out – register today!

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