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Big-ticket expat hirings stuck, all joining dates rescheduled

Expat hiring will get pushed out at least temporarily, including for OCI cardholders, experts say.

Last Updated: Mar 25, 2020, 08.45 PM IST
Big-ticket expat hirings stuck, all joining dates rescheduled
Companies have been forced by the situation to push back joining dates.


MUMBAI/KOLKATA: Big-ticket expat hires from countries such as Italy, Germany, France, Spain, UK and others scheduled to join this month and the next at various Indian companies are being forced to push back their joining dates amid strict travel restrictions as Europe becomes the epicenter of Covid-19. Even if they want to come and join, some companies will be hesitant to appoint a person from an affected country at the moment, executive search experts said.

“There will be definite delays in the candidates who were likely to join from Europe, US and other foreign nations,” said R Suresh, the founder of boutique executive search firm Insist.

Citing the example of a senior fashion designing R&D product leader from Italy who was scheduled to join an Indian company this month, Suresh said “The Italian executive is willing to come and join but now there are restrictions on travel into India. Apart from that, even if he wants to come, the company and staff will hesitate to appoint an Italian guy.”

A Ramachandran, senior partner of EMA India and managing partner EMA Dubai, cites four cases where expats/returning Indians have been made offers but the person has not/may not be able to join on the stipulated date because of travel restrictions.

Three of these CXOs were supposed to join in March; an expat from Italy in a retail organisation; one from Germany in an ecommerce major and another from Poland in another retail organisation. Their joining dates have been pushed back to April, and if required, may be pushed back further to May.

“In another case, a returning Indian from Hong Kong has been hired as the CEO of a manufacturing organisation. Even his joining date will be pushed back, if he can’t join by then,” said Ramachandran.

“Beyond that, what will happen, no one knows. Organisations will take a call as things unfold. Every company is looking at a strategy on a week-to-week basis; taking the short-term view. We have to be nimble-footed,” he added.

Expat hiring will get pushed out at least temporarily, including for OCI cardholders, said Puneet Pratap Singh, partner-in-charge, India, Heidrick & Struggles.

Prince Augustin, executive vice president, group human capital and leadership development at Mahindra & Mahindra, said: “Currently we do not have anyone who was scheduled to join. We are doing interviews on Zoom and videoconference. Even if there is an appointment, we will defer it, and take a call as the situation unfolds.”

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