“Value for the Money” is a very important part of the Indian culture – even as India has grown over the past two (2) decades to become the world’s fifth-largest economy with an average annual growth of 5.8% in its GDP over that time span. While India has seen tremendous growth in the 2000’s, the country ranks much lower when looking at other GDP economic indicators (e.g. nominal GDP per capita where India ranked in 2022 at 139th in the world). India has huge standard and cost of living variances (compared to the rest of the world) and poverty continues to be a major challenge. But India’s 522+ million worker labor force and 1.4+ billion potential consumers continues to be leveraged both by domestic and international Companies/Clients – including making India the second largest exporter in the world (after China).
India is made-up of a very diverse set of twenty eight (28) States and eight (8) Union Territories that each have their own unique legacy and ways of going about business. While there is common ground and a strong foundation “uniting” them all, doing business in each can be very different. And these differences are critical for Companies and Clients to both consider and understand when they are hiring external Executive Talent – regardless of where a Company and/or Client are located from a headquarters’s perspective. All of this needs to be considered whenever new Executives are being considered – including the added geographical dynamic factor and how that relates both to the overall Company’s, Client’s, and Executive’s cultural make-up.
At times, there can be huge differences in how to recruit City by City, State by State, and Territory by Territory. Even within particular Regions in India, there is a complex heritage and dynamics that go along with that. For example, from a language perspective, regional differences in Indian English include Babu, Butler, Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, West Indian, Cultivated Indian, Southern Indian, and General Indian. So, doing business in Jaipur (Rajasthan) can very different than from doing business in Mumbai (Maharashtra), Delhi (Delhi), Bangalore (Karnataka), Hyderabad (Telangana), Chenai (Tamil Nadu), and Pune (Maharashtra) (often due to which “(State or Union Territory)” one’s in). As a result, International Recruiting Firms and expatriated Executives often have a very difficult time understanding the overall Indian culture. And without understanding the unique cultural aspects of the various Cities, States, and Territories, even the best “functional” Executive Recruiters will get it “wrong”.
Culture, Culture, Culture
Realtors and related real estate investors will regularly talk about the most important decision for making an real estate investment is “location, location, location”. At Maccabeus, we say executive recruiting comes down to three (3) words, as well – “culture, culture, culture”. Specifically, the culture of the Company (or the Client), the Executive, and the City, State, Territory, etc.
While it’s true that corporate vs. individual cultural fit is very important in traditional Executive search, what often gets missed in India is the “State or Territorial cultural fit”. Per the map below, the population in India has exploded over the past 70 years – growing from less than 500 million in 1950 to 1.4+ billion in 2022. To exacerbate this concern even further is the fact that, as of 2020, India has a registered birth rate of 18.2 per 1,000 population while its death rate was only 7.3 per 1,000 population. As we discussed earlier, poverty (in addition to illiteracy) has contributed immensely to the population explosion and all of these factors combined are creating both opportunities and challenges that must be understood by anyone living in, traveling to or from, and/or working in India.
The ramifications of India’s population growth (married with the overall Indian cultural differences) is having significant consequences on Companies, Clients, Executives, and India overall. Thus, most expatriated Executives see India as a “stepping-stone” to another role within their larger global Corporation and some Indian-nationalistic Executives are taking assignments overseas.
Understanding all of these recruiting complexities is absolutely critical in Executive search. At Maccabeus, we understand the Indian City, State, and Territorial differences and how to apply those unique qualities across the cultural aspects of both Companies (Clients) and Executives (and their Families). We have recruited across the broad spectrum that is India including having worked with Companies (Clients) like Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Mahindra & Mahindra, Force Motors, Tractors and Farm Equipment (TAFE) Limited, Bajaj Auto Limited, and beyond. We know the cultural differences between India (City, State, Territory) and international Corporations and their corresponding Executive make-up. And we know the differences not just from an Executive Recruitment Firm’s perspective, but also as Executives who have considered relocations and/or new career challenges directly for ourselves and our Families. While we have counseled hundreds of Executives to not take an opportunity based on their concerns around cultural differences (based on location and/or the company), our Partners and Staff have also declined offers ourselves as Industry Executives – opportunities that just weren’t the right “fit” for either ourselves and/or our Families. We get it.
Finding the right Executives takes a tenacity to see through the surface of experiences and to look into the intangibles behind who a leader really is as a person. To get to know the companies, clients, Executives, Families, etc. behind the search project. Maccabeus LLC is committed to and has a strong track record of recruiting and placing Executives across a diverse landscape of industries and locations.
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with you and your Board.
“He who trusts in himself is lost. He who trusts in God can do all things.“St. Alphonsus Liguori