India’s IT industry has long been seen as a back-office backwater, even by its own engineers who started moving abroad in their droves in the 1970s. After losing top engineering talent for years to America’s tech heartland of Silicon Valley, India is luring them back as an e-commerce boom sparks a thriving start-up culture, unprecedented pay, and perks including free healthcare for in-laws.
The e-commerce sector, led by companies such as Flipkart and Snapdeal, attracted more than $5 billion of investment last year, Morgan Stanley says, compared with less than $2 billion in 2013.
That growth is fuelling the hunt for talent to drive the next stage of expansion – for many, an initial public offering or a push into overseas markets.
“The appetite for finding engineering talent … is great,” said George Kaszacs of Silicon Valley-based headhunters Riviera Partners, who helps Indian startups scout for potential hires.
India’s biggest e-commerce company, Flipkart (IPO-FLPK.N), recently hired two senior executives from Google Inc (GOOGL.O) in California, both engineers of Indian origin, for its headquarters in Bengaluru in southern India.
Flipkart did not disclose their pay, but headhunters say remuneration packages can reach $1 million over 3-4 years.
Headhunter Kaszacs said several factors are drawing Indians back home, including the chance to join a fast-growing start-up. Joining bonuses, stock options and other perks were also helping.