Thursday, January 21, 2010

Work environment in India - Then & Now

Work environment in IT companies, in India, has changed quite significantly in the last decade. There are several catalysts that influenced the changes in our work environment such as Cheaper International Calling Rates, Broadband penetration, Frugality and Growth in Engineering Colleges.
  • During those days, calling from India to US or US to India was a big affair. Today, International calling rates have come down tremendously. This has improved the communication between US and India employees. At the same time, it has completely engulfed our 'private' life. Employers expect you to participate in late night or early morning calls, from home. You cannot 'plan' your day and cannot spend 'quality' time with family.
  • During those days, Working from Home (WFH) concept wasn't very popular in India. Many homes hardly had Internet access. Today, almost all IT engineers have broadband connectivity at home. Companies expect people to work from home. So, your worries do not just stop at your work place. They follow you to your home. Of course, WFH gives you extra flexibility when you decide to work from home for personal reasons.
  • Several work place benefits are cut under the name of frugality - limited team lunches per year, limited spot awards, no cool drinks at work place, no evening snacks and the list goes on and on.
  • Almost, all the companies in the IT sector, give medical insurance to their employees, now. This concept wasn't very popular during those days. It is very beneficial to employees - we don't have to shell out big bucks during hospital visits. It is automatically deducted from the Insurance. I heard that hospitals increase their treatment costs if you say that you are paying by Insurance.
  • Laptops are given to employees, by many companies. Partly because the cost of these toys have come down quite a bit and partly because employers want you to work from home.
  • The growth in engineering colleges has completely changed the equation, at the work place:
  1. There is abundant Engineering graduates in the market. With more supply (& less demand     due to the recession), there is lots of young graduates without jobs. Many of them settle down for BPO/Call Center jobs, for just Rs.6,000 or Rs.7,000 monthly pay. Compare it to Rs.10,000 per month, earned by a construction worker or Rs.6,000 per month earned by a security guard. Not many job openings are available for freshers.
  2. Fresher's starting salary hasn't kept up with the inflation. For example, the cost of commodities have nearly doubled or tripled. However, fresher's salary hasn't increased that much. On an average, good companies pay Rs.15,000 - Rs.20,000 per month for freshers.
  3. Many folks at work, have below average skills. College students just 'buy' projects from 'vendors' to meet the requirements of their final year academic project. (Also read: How to be a STAR performer?)
  4. I still remember the long hours that we used to put during college days to complete our academic projects. I don't see the same determination/commitment with the current generation. 
  5. Employees aren't valued as before. If you leave, there is lots of people in the market to fill your position. 
  6. During those days, majority of the folks leave work early (at around 6 pm). Very few folks work till 8 pm and only a handful of folks work late in the night. Today, I see many of my classmates/colleagues online, even at mid night. They face increased pressure from their peers.
  • Employees are expected to work for at least 10 hours per day. Employees' availability is taken for granted. Employers don't care if you are really productive or not. They care whether you are available or not.
I've compiled this list based on my experience and learning from other folks. These issues are common to all IT companies - service & product oriented, startups and established companies, local & MNC organizations.

(I'll update this post, as & when I hear/learn new things about work place in India)

Also read:

10 tips for R2I salary negotiation
R2I - List of MNCs in Chennai


  1. Dear Saro,
    Do you have any suggestions/recommendations for those who R2I and are looking to adapt to the Indian work culture/etiquette [whether working in a MNC or an Indian company]? What are the basic Do's & Don'ts?


  2. I don't have a Do's & Don'ts list yet. I'll definitely add this to my list of to-do things.


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