Siddharth Verma | For almost a couple of decades, six key sunrise industries led the talent acquisition spree near-evenly spaced, back to back, in quick succession viz. IT, BPO, Banking, Telecom, Retail, E-commerce. In the parallel, a phenomenon of captive centers of large global organizations being set up in India had begun gradually, with the purpose of integrating processes, do away with redundancy, and off course cost arbitrage as management practices. Although the growth was slow, but consistent, yet it never received regular attention as a stand-alone segment as much as any of the aforesaid counterparts. Today, global captives in India can be reckoned as a career choice, we subjectively evaluate here the aspect of GIC as employment generators.
The Concept of Captives – Briefly
While operating on a global scale, with multi-country presence, there used to be a lot of ‘reinvention of the wheel’ and huge deployment of people behind this. Common internal focused and certain external facing processes of the organization, but across different geographies, were thus brought together under one or a few roofs, depending on the workability and feasibility. For example, one taxation unit for a US global major could be based in Mexico to cover the Western World presence, the other one could be based in the Philippines or India. The decision is based on issues such as similarity in-laws of the land in the given region for the purpose of a small learning curve, and other factors of communication such as language and accent to a certain extent. In the cases free of such considerations, the entire global process may be housed in one single center. Having multiple centers though covers the risk against unforeseen climatic, political and other such risks even though for a short while.
It is important to note here that while GICs started off as a cost center for better management, today many GICs are of strategic advantage in the scheme of things. For almost two decades global Fortune 500 firms have preferred India as a choice qualifying on the cost as well as quality aspect. The difference in the scenario is that today India is a front runner for off-shoring jobs higher up the value chain.
What’s getting off-shored to India of late
What were usually elementary, transactional processes to begin with, we have moved up the value chain in due course of time. While process such as HR, Payroll, Taxation, etc. continue to be offshored to India as a preferred location, in the last few years the quality and strategic significance of processes offshored have metamorphosed. This is also based upon the availability of:
a) more ‘formed’ talent,
b) better ‘informed’ talent,
c) more options for cross-sector talent movements.
The more recent captives are around Data Analytics, Digital Transformation, R&D processes for sectors such as Automobile and Pharmaceuticals, Investment Banking processes, etc.
The present GIC landscape in India
By and by, over 1100 GICs have already established in India over the last 18-20 years, more so over the last decade, and only a limited percentage chose to exit once they set up shop. Moreover, they have gradually topped up their presence with additional migrations of processes. These Global In-house Captives (GICs) of Global Captive Centers (GCCs) as they are known, are from a varied lot of sectors ranging from Core Banking, Investment Banking, Information Technology, Oil & Gas, Automobile, Pharmaceuticals, FMCG, Telecom, etc. An average GIC may be about 400 – 500 in headcount, but some large ones go into thousands of staff.
The opportunity – Present and Near Future
GIC employment has recently crossed a million head-count. In the last FY GIC intake, over 1.50 Lacs, exceeded the otherwise largest formal employment sector IT which was around 1.30 Lacs. With around 200 more new GICs at the doorsteps and likely to start operations over the next year, coupled with expansion and backfills in the existing ones, it is likely that about a lac more opportunities will emerge till the end of 2021, across levels.
As per a recent dipstick study of the GIC market, following is the approximate compensation landscape for some of the popular and frequently occurring GIC skills:
Who do I need to be, to be a part of this space?
A graduate. May be an engineer, B. or M. Pharm, for certain specific captives. That’s the basic. Most GICs evaluate the technical and functional depth and are seen to be pedigree agnostic, as against sectors like FMCG and Consulting which require this and that. And are close paymasters, and even better at times if you have it in you, and can deliver.
From an attributes perspective, GICs is the place for you, if fundamentally you are:
• Process driven – if you think process and systems, and can religiously adhere to them;
• Meticulous, Systematic – if you have an eye for detail, don’t take short cuts, avoid error;
• Operationally efficient – can work in a global set up, across time zones, without drop of efficiency;
• Can understand and align to scale – GICs are about thinking and executing scale, if you can envision and execute large scale solutions;
• Culturally sensitive and neutral,
…this is the place for you.