Career opportunities in India | Careers on The Gateway

Career opportunities in India

What this leading Asian nation's fast-growing economy could offer you

India, the seventh-largest nation on earth with a population of 1.2 billion people, has seen its fast-growing economy rise to tenth place in the world's GDP rankings.

Although still largely poor, with slums in many cities and a high rural population, a growing middle class has meant increasing consumer spending power. From dynamic Delhi, the ancient capital, to financial centre (and home to Bollywood) Mumbai, the cities of India are experiencing a dizzying change.

Rapid development has created a host of opportunities. Entrepreneurial Brits are starting new ventures, and initiatives from British and Indian organisations are turning India into a major education and career development hub.

Education

Since 2009, UKIERI, a UK-India education initiative, has placed 718 UK undergraduates onto the Study India programme.

Students taking part learn about Indian culture, politics, economy and language and also work for a week at an Indian company. Tereza Kaplanova, a third year law student at the University of Sussex, spent a month in India with the programme.

"My placement was at Tata Consultancy Services in New Delhi. I found out the importance of Tata Group in India - I almost feel like the Indian economy is to some extent based on this company, as they provide everything from cars to tea, mineral water and consultancy services," says Tereza.

UKIERI is now starting a longer work placement programme for UK graduates, giving them the chance to spend three to six months living and working in India. The pilot phase of the programme starts in February 2013, with a further intake planned for March.

Another way students can learn more about the country and also get up to three months internship is with IndoGenius's "An Accelerated Experience of India" programme.

Starting in summer 2013, the course will involve travel to four Indian cities plus meetings with business leaders - and entrepreneurial types can even try out pitching to Indian investors and venture capitalists.

Entrepreneurship

Students taking part in Study India or IndoGenius might end up following in the footsteps of Brits who've found their niche in the Indian marketplace and settled in the country semi-permanently.

Alice Helme has lived in India for three years now. After graduating in Ancient History from the University of Exeter, she found a placement in Delhi.

"My plan was to do a paid internship, then come home. But after living here for six months it was clear that there was lots of opportunity and growth," she says.

Along with her business partner, she eventually set up a consultancy that provides services to food and catering companies. Her company, Damson, has been registered for a year and employs Indian and British staff. "Food and beverage is a particularly exciting but unpredictable segment," says Alice.

Challenges and opportunities

Bryony Greenwell, who started a headhunting company in India, thinks that, due to the relative immaturity of the Indian market, there are opportunities for graduates to take on bigger roles and move up the career ladder quickly.

"All skills are in demand but it varies from city to city. Infrastructure in Delhi, technology and IT in Bangalore, and finance in Mumbai, for example," says Bryony.

But Bryony adds that she believes that professional practices in India are still a little underdeveloped and that the training provided to graduates is not as thorough as that you might find at a good company in the UK. A further stumbling block is that in order to gain an employment visa, foreigners have to be earning above US $25,000 (£16,000).

And working in India can be challenging. Problems with government bureaucracy, regulations and contract laws are often cited as hardships. Issues with power cuts and water shortages - even in big cities - remind people here that India's infrastructure and economy are still developing.

But recent regulatory reforms, for example, of the rules governing foreign retailers wishing to operate in India, will open up the market - and create new jobs in infrastructure, logistics, construction, marketing, advertising, sales and customer service as new entrants look to position their brands. And as foreign investment rules are relaxed, the number of opportunities for graduates is growing exponentially.

Nick Booker, 33, who co-founded IndoGenius in 2010, thinks those who choose to experience working life in an Indian metropolis won't regret it.

"There's so much history," he says of Delhi, "and a lot of expats work here, so you end up meeting French people, Chinese people, Americans, Australians."

"It's very bohemian, and very traditional, and you can also have a 21st century American shopping mall experience. I think it's the greatest city on earth."

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