Gone are the days when international openings for graduates of Indian B-schools and engineering colleges were restricted to the US and the UK. Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are among the countries hiring graduates from top Indian colleges, including the premier Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
“Over the past five years, we have seen a definite shift. Postings in the US and the UK have become almost negligible," said Sapna Agarwal, head, career development services, IIM Bangalore. “Postings in the Far East, including Singapore and Hong Kong, have increased. Japan is a new destination. The Middle East has been added as an overseas job destination."
Protectionist policies and economic distress in the West are among the reasons behind the spurt in popularity of Asian countries as job destinations among Indian graduates.
“A vibrant culture, shortage of skilled workforce, proximity to home, better career prospects and flexible immigration norms are the key attractions. A number of foreign trade commissions are conducting road shows to promote opportunities for Indian students and professional in their respective countries," said Rohin Kapoor, director, Deloitte.
Companies based in many Asian countries have picked up graduates from IITs this year.
Of the 15 international offers at IIT Madras’s ongoing placement season, three are from Japan, and one each from Taiwan and Singapore. At IIT Kharagpur, of the 18 international offers this year, two are from Malaysia, three from Japan, and one each from Singapore and Taiwan.
Two companies from Malaysia were first-time recruiters this year at IIT Kharagpur.
IIT Ropar saw its maiden international offer come from a Japan-based firm. Mumbai-based SPJIMR (earlier known as SP Jain Institute of Management and Research) got all five international offers from a Malaysia-based company, against no international offers last year.
“The demand for IIT graduates has seen a consistent growth from newer countries including Taiwan and Japan. IIT graduates are hired by architecture firms in Singapore, while mostly electronics firms in Japan pick our graduates," said Debasis Deb, chairman, career development centre, IIT Kharagpur.
At management colleges, most global companies look for graduates who are open to travelling across the globe and not working from one fixed location. While the roles offered by companies in the Far East are in finance, in the Middle East, companies hire management graduates for sales and marketing, according to placement officials at some of the top B-schools.
US offers are still more lucrative when compared to those from Asian countries. But, as Abbasali Gabula, deputy director, external relations at SPJIMR, said, “The cost of living in the US is high as compared to other countries. Also, getting an H-1B visa is tougher as compared to getting a visa for working in countries like Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, Dubai and other countries."
Experts predict a rise in the number of offers from the Far East and Middle East in the coming years.
They believe that companies in these regions, after hiring Indian graduates, might eventually set up businesses in India.
“IT companies have done it for techies in the past, and now it applies to management graduates. The idea is to train them and send them back to India for India operations," said IIM Bangalore’s Agarwal.