Emerging Markets : Employment Market Shrugs Off Global Downturn





Boom from bust: State Bank of India is taking on more staff as business builds strongly.

India’s job market appears to have escaped unscathed in the global wave of retrenchment. There were concerns that the outsourcing industry would be hit by the global recession, but that does not seem to be the case. British Telecom, which announced 10,000 job cuts in early November, has said no jobs would be cut from its 20,000-strong Indian workforce. The biggest show of strength, however, is coming from Indian companies. State Bank of India, the country’s largest bank, has said that it will add 25,000 jobs in 2009. Larsen & Toubro, one of India’s largest engineering companies, plans to add 10,000 employees over the next three years. Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest automaker, has also announced new hiring plans, while other automakers have ruled out retrenchment despite declining sales. Other global corporations, too, have announced plans to add to their headcount at their Indian operations. US insurer MetLife announced plans to double its Indian workforce, adding 2,200 sales managers and 30,000 advisers in India by March 2009. Consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu will add 3,500 new employees in India. Interestingly, US and European investment and commercial banks including Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland have been recruiting aggressively at prestigious Indian management institutes for positions across their global operations.


Global corporations continue to reinforce their interest in the ever-expanding Indian consumer market, too. NTT Docomo, Japan’s largest mobile operator, has agreed to pay $2.7 billion for a 26% stake in Tata Teleservices, one of India’s leading mobile operators, with 27 million subscribers. This investment gives the Japanese operator a foothold in the world’s second-largest wireless market after China. Currently, India has 312 million subscribers, and the latest figures show that 10 million new subscribers were added in September.


Further adding to the investment momentum, the Indian government is planning a policy change that will ease foreign investment regulations for the Indian airline industry. The proposed policy will allow foreign carriers to invest in Indian airlines subject to an equity ceiling of 26%.



Aaron Chaze