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Global crisis: Indians abroad worried but still positive

By Ruby Nanda in New Delhi
December 01, 2008 11:03 IST
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As the miasma of the global economic downturn accelerates its pace, Indians abroad are worried about their future but still remain positive.

"The current situation in the West is not so conducive for the Indians. The slowdown in some of the key industries has organisational downsizing of manpower in the companies," said, Marcel Parker chairman Ikya Human Capital Solutions.

"The options have been reduced by the slowdown. Some of my friends who have been staying here for the past five-six years with their family, for them moving back to India is a big challenge," says Prashant Kumar, software engineer working in the UK.

"My project has been moved offshore, hence I have to go back to India, luckily the project has not been scrapped," he adds.

But doves of IT professionals are still going abroad.

"Foreign companies outsource their IT work to India as it is cost effective. It works well only when there is steady run of projects. But when projects dry up it becomes more cost effective to send workers abroad to do the work," explains Shubendu Hota, team lead in Global Technology Consultants, currently working in Johannesburg.

But despite the global downturn Indians are the second most confident consumers in the world according to a recent Neilson consumer report on consumer confidence, concerns spending and attitudes to recession.

About 79 per cent of Indians are optimistic about their financial condition for the coming year and 86 per cent feel positive about their job prospects.

"There are lots of them going even now. Although there is a slump in the IT, the requirement is still there," says Rashmi software professional from Kolkata.

But all is not hunky dory as the slowdown is making the expats insecure.

"Insecurities are high in practically all expatriate communities except in Australia and the Middle East," said Parker.

"But even Indians who are looking for job in Middle East are facing issues, because skilled personnel who had lost their jobs in the West are eyeing the Middle East for jobs. This brings Indians who look for jobs in the Middle East to face strong competition with the western experience skills," he said.

Though the job scenario in Middle East is not so bad, but of course we are affected, I am not sure if I get my expected bonus early next year, said Rahul, a banker in Dubai.

"The slowing global economies and fear of layoffs are prompting Indian expats to look for opportunities in India, for instance has seen a gush of international traffic and about 100,000 new profiles from across the globe have registered with us," says vice president Vivek Madhukar.

But, thousands of students are still making a beeline to study abroad.

"The impact of global slowdown is too early to be seen, with students in thousands still wanting to go abroad, says Natasha Chopra managing director. The Chopras is a consultancy service providing help to students going abroad.

"We send students to across the world like Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, UK and USA and help them with visa, admission, accommodation, career counseling," says Chopra.

There is a silver lining to every dark cloud, the economic down turn has led to reduction in bank loans which will help the students, she said.

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Ruby Nanda in New Delhi
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