PHOTO: Cyber city in DLF Phase 2, Gurgaon, Haryana where many MNCs in India have offices
I had heard that employees in India change jobs very often. Having been here for a month, I’m beginning to see some of the reasons for all the job hopping.
My opinions below are derived from conversations and experiences with several professionals across various MNCs in India.
The Employee Perspective
At the entry/mid-management level, a 2-year career with the same company is considered long. Employees are constantly on the lookout for another job and are sometimes actively poached by competitors. I’m told this is because there are substantially fewer “qualified” people than there are jobs. And with more and more MNCs growing their operations in India, this problem is expected to get worse.
Long work hours
Work hours in India are long and employees frequently work nights and weekends unproductively. There is no respect for personal time and few employees feel secure enough to push back. As a result, they work their asses off for a couple of years, get burnt out, and move on.
Lack of mentorship
Monetary compensation is the only incentive offered to attract and retain good people. Compared to the U.S., employers spend little time or money in building a relationship with their employees. Office socials and events are rare and there is no sense of belonging to a community. Additionally, the Indian culture and company cultures are hierarchical – socializing and networking tends to happen within your peer-level only. As a result, it feels harder to find mentors who take you under their wing, look out for you, and give you straight-up, honest advice that helps you grow.
No control on steering your career
Even at the macro level, project staffing doesn’t take into account individual career preferences. Senior leaders don’t work in an environment where they are encouraged to spend time understanding the type of work their staff want to do. For instance, junior staff who want a broad range of experiences are often unable to steer their careers to work on projects across various industries. Finally, there are no systems in place that allow employees to submit regular feedback anonymously on what’s working and what’s not.
Although everyone understands these issues, there is a general culture of apathy and most people accept that “the system” is what it is and cannot be changed.
The Employer Perspective
It’ll take more time to research and understand the employer side of the story. I’ll update if/when I understand it.