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22 April 2024

‘Reverse brain drain’ to India

By Mily Chakrabarty


I’ve always believed that the job pages of a newspaper are a good reflection of the local economy and the society at large. You can deduce which industries are booming as you are likely to find maximum vacancies in the upbeat sectors – and vice versa for industries not doing too well.

As I was flicking through the career pages of a local daily recently, a particular ad caught my eye. It was an advertisement for a job vacancy in India. My first thought was, why should an Indian firm advertise in the Gulf press? Wouldn’t it be a cheaper proposition to recruit at home?

I later learnt from an ‘enlightened’ friend that it makes perfect business sense to hire people from the Gulf countries. Caught between the sliding dollar and rising inflation, a lot of expats are looking for lucrative offers back home.

It is a win-win situation for both the potential employer and employee given the firm gets someone onboard who has international experience in his or her resume.

Apart from the ‘foreign’ experience, a lot of Indian corporate houses that have business interests in the Middle East are ready to pay a premium to those with prior Gulf experience as they have first-hand knowledge about the markets.

Those who have been hardest hit by the currency fluctuation and rising prices are ready to take up jobs in India - sometimes, even, at slightly lower salaries.

I recently caught up with a compatriot who had to send his family to India about a year back as he could not afford the high rents and the tuition fees for his school-going children. He revealed that he had accepted an offer from an Indian company and was in the process of bidding goodbye to the Gulf. “Although the Middle-East experience has been great, money is no compensation for a non-existent family life,” he remarked.

Another compatriot working in a multinational company chose to take a transfer ‘back home’ so he could escape what had recently become ‘a tough balancing act’ for him.

Some companies have obviously picked up on this ‘reverse brain drain’ sentiment and moved fast to capture the real talent among those who are ready to hang up their ‘foreign’ boots and go back to their roots.