Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What would be a good salary for an expat -Country Manager for Indian operations?

Yesterday I had a brief and crisp phonecall from an senior executive out of the blue. It was an outstation call-and from possibly an expat. I was –almost stumped –when he went on to ask… ‘what would be a good salary for a person to head an Indian operations?’

Well, the easiest and most predictable response from any consultant would be –"it depends"!!

But then, since I wasn’t expecting the call- my basic instincts sought for more details. May I know about the company ? Whats the business you are in? how senior is the position? To whom does the person report to? Where?

The answers promptly attended to, I blurbed out- what kind of seniority do you need? And what are the numbers (US dollar equivalent) have you already been advised?

I went on to tell the gentleman that perhaps he really neednt pay so much !! The gentleman then proceeded to thank me-with a promise to revert back later this week.

Flashback over!

Now that I have had more time to ruminate on it, I thought its time for me to articulate my thoughts and invite comments from those in the know.

Personally my premise-

1/ the company seemed to be in the ITES space. Cost Arbitrage is critical.
2/ it depends on the size of the company-and the growth plan it has. Which stage of the lifecycle is it in India?
3/ different skills and abilities are required for start up or ramping up phase..and the consolidation stage. (And if all have to happen at the same time, time to call Superman!)
4/ while knowledge of the domain is taken for granted, it is man management –and ability to relate to the team most critical.

Pray, I don’t even know if an expat with 20 yrs experience elsewhere in the world is the right person!!

While salary is indeed a corporate policy-and most companies have a definite stand on what percentile of the market they ought to be-am I right in having advocated that one neednt pay more than 75% of the salaries prevailing in US for similar positions??


Dilip Nambiar said...

These days esp in the retail space and service industry one of the top names is seeking out people and offerring really big salaries.40lacs+ for a VP for a region.

I hope at end of the year with P& L in mind these Cos dont start downsizing having achieved the Ramp up and momentum? remember what happened in telecom sector?

Anonymous said...

Listen I lived in Asia for 10 years. China and Thailand.I have spent alot of time in India. Expats in general should be paid almost triple what their counter part makes in the states. I know Kodak Coke and a few other multi nationals paid huge money for their Asia operations managers. What to consider. Living accomodations. Unless you are put up in the Hyatt same standards as USA might cost $6000 to 10000 USD per month. Check out HK. And if this person is worth his weight in 3 rd world experience he will get it. Managers thaqt run operations in 3rd world countries are important to keep the lid on stealing,excuses,and just plain incompententcy.