2012 Mid-Year Executive Outlook Report for the Indian Market

“An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; a pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity."
- Sir Winston Churchill

BlueSteps, the career management service of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), just released their 2012 Mid-Year Outlook Report. The findings from the survey revealed that India had the second highest level of optimism about the executive job market at mid-year, with 42% of executives surveyed demonstrating a positive outlook. India’s executives were only surpassed by Canada in their levels of confidence in their job market by region.

Interestingly, when asked about their confidence in the overall business climate by region, Indian executives were the fourth most optimistic market surveyed. Canada, Brazil and the rest of Latin America all suggested that they had a more positive outlook than India over the business climate, which appears to be somewhat contradictory to their response over job market. However, the same percentage of executives suggested that they had an optimistic outlook about the business climate of their region, as they had about the job market—both results were 42%.

Indian executives proved that they had a more encouraging outlook for the year than their main economic rivals, China, as well as other notable regions such as the Middle East, Russia and the United Kingdom. The gloomy outlook revealed by executives in Europe is not surprising, and suggests continuing instability and uncertainty over Europe’s future.

Moreover, the results of the report indicate one of two things for India: either executives in India are more positive in general, or that Indian executives are seeing relatively positive trends in the job market in their region and in the business climate in general. The latter appears to challenge what members of The India Committee for Retained Executive Search Professionals were indicating at their annual meeting. Many voiced concerns and anxieties over the current state of play in executive search. Perhaps search is slowing in India and executives there are approaching looking for opportunities in a different way, or perhaps executives in india have a more positive disposition than the search professionals themselves about the future of the executive job market and the economy.
India’s Rupee versus the US Dollar
Many people will be surprised to hear that the Rupee has lost a "fifth of its value against the dollar in the past year" (The Economist). Conflicting information often tells us either, India’s economy is the next largest super-power after China, and China and India are competing for the top spot, or in contrast, that India has been struggling recently, and that foreign investors are pulling out of India.
What is apparent is that inflation rates are rising steadily in India at the moment, causing anxieties in the country. Equally, the rising inflation rates are damaging companies who have foreign currency debt. Concerns have now grown so rapidly within the Indian government that they are now relaxing regulations regarding foreign investors and government bonds. Additionally, this is also the case regarding foreign investors, investing in businesses in India, and these measures appear to most like panic from within the governing body of India.
The Rupee has in fact strengthened in recent days, but many fear that this isn’t the beginning of a long term change for the economy. Potentially the rise in the Rupee could be accredited to investments from Coca-Cola, IKEA or the RBI relaxing some of its rules. The only optimism which has been shown as a result of the falling Rupee is that many hope that this will incentivize a flourish in the manufacturing industry.
Moreover, when questioned, search firms in Asia Pacific indicated a lower level of optimism regarding the outcome of the year in Q1, as opposed to the quarter before. Equally, this indicates that the year has been less prosperous than originally predicted, and more uncertainty hangs over many industries. For instance, with the Rupee falling against the US Dollar, many would like to believe that the manufacturing industry will prosper, but the reality is that all industries are unstable at the moment, and this is reflected by executive search firms, both the large firms and the boutique firms reporting great uncertainty across all markets.

This article was written by Helen Langley of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).
The AESC has over 150 member executive search professionals located throughout India, all with access to your BlueSteps career profile and CV.

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