Sunday, June 14, 2009

Economic Recession: Indian Students Worried about Jobs

Just 6-7 months ago, some people in India thought that the country will be free from the negative impact of on going global economic recession. However, it is now clear that India is suffering from the same problem too. In fact, the export sector has been the hardest for the country. According to some reports, the export sector is going to lose 1.5 million jobs by March 2009. So, many fresh graduates or even highly skilled and experienced educated workers are worried about their future prospects.

Falling Demand both in India

I have just mentioned that the export sector has been badly affected by the global economic recession. Another problem is that things are not getting better in other countries. India received a lot of money in foreign exchange through the remittance sent by NRIs. Weaker global economy means that there will be fewer opportunities to work in other countries. In India too, big companies are trying to cut their expenses and they are a bit reluctant to go for any expansion activities. I remember that in 2007 and in the first few months of 2008, we saw a lot of reports about the expansion of Indian companies like Tata in other countries.

H1B Visa Scare

The most worrying news for Indian educated workers is that there is now strong political move in the US senate to cut back H1B Visa and number of foreign workers in USA. For example, there has been demand that big companies like Microsoft first fire their foreign workers so that more American workers can be in job.

Jagdish Bhagwati, Professor of Economics at the Columbia University, felt that it wasnot a wise thing to do:

“The people whom you’re hiring from India and from, you know, China and from — the top universities, they’re the smart lot, they’re not really substitutes for guys who can’t get jobs.”

“In terms of broader considerations like the people who are coming in on H1B visas — they’re frequently highly trained and talented people and… a lot of our progress and prosperity depend on having such people.”

Well, it does not matter what is good or bad for the US economy. What matters to most US families is to see that they do not lose more jobs. It is obvious this kind of call for reduction in the number of H1B Visas will receive a lot of support among the politicians, media and mass people.

The Economic Boom is Over?

A very bad news for Indian highly educated job seekers is that

India’s own economic boom is coming to a halt. Yes, I clearly remember that in 2006 and 2007, many people used to think that it was just a matter of time that Indian economy achieved double digit growth. Many observers like me, used to say that the high economic growth would continue for a long time in India. However, now a days, hardly anyone I the country is concerned about high economic growth.

Future Looks Bleak

In January 2009, around 80,000 jobs were lost in US tech companies. Indian companies became specialized in serving US tech companies through outsourcing. That means that any significant fall of revenue among large US companies like Microsoft can cost many jobs in India. An interesting report: Lose Your Job At IBM? Reclaim It In India . IBM has offered its US workers they could go to India if they liked and take up jobs in IBM India under local salary and local terms and conditions. This may bring more anxiety for fresh graduates in India as if some American workers really come to India for doing jobs then, it will result in having fewer opportunities for Indian students.

Students are less selective now

Perhaps the only good thing that is coming from the economic recession is that Indian students and workers are becoming less selective. Gone are the days that big companies would go after the students for getting them in their offices. Now, officials of big local and multinational companies have to started feel nervous about the future. So, fresh graduates are now trying to pursue the companies. It is natural that the students will be less choosy about the companies, salary and even the nature of jobs. Well, just 2 years ago, the companies were in a rat race to attract students from top universities. Now, it is just the opposite.

Lack of entrepreneurship

One of the things that is absent among most students and educated people in India is lack of entrepreneurship mentality. They are too obsessed with doing jobs rather than taking a risk and setting up a venture. I think that this is a very good time for Indian government to address this issue. It will not change overnight but there should be a concerted effort among the government, universities and the media to motivate fresh graduates about this matter.

Finally, I just want to say that Indian government should take this matter very seriously. The students need to have a change in mind set too.

(This entry was originally posed in February 2009. It got deleted for technical problem. Now, I am again posting it today).

1 comment:

  1. India has become too dependent on foreign money and has paid zero attention to its rural one can see if one travels few miles away from Bangalore city. With increasing population and lack of water and energy - India is a disaster waiting to happen....