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A foreign degree might not land you a job in India: Survey

Having a foreign degree doesn’t mean one will get a job in India because most companies find job seekers with domestic degrees good enough, a British Council survey said.

The survey, across 200 Indian and foreign companies to understand the employability of Indian students, found only 13 per cent of companies actively seek foreign-degree holders. While companies had increased hiring of foreign graduates in the past three years, the number is expected to come down this year.

“Students with foreign degrees should actively consider tapping into a job market that is still underdeveloped. They will, however, need to modify their expectations in terms of salaries, job content, etc. They will also need to compete with a domestic talent pool that most companies see as ‘good enough’ or ‘large enough’. In fact, most companies that do not hire foreign-trained students cite these two factors as the main reason they do not actively look abroad for talent,” the report said.

Among foreign degree holders, those with US degrees are more likely to find recruiters than those graduating from other countries. The study suggests 41 per cent of recruiters are likely to hire students who graduate from the US, followed by 26 per cent from the UK and six per cent from Germany.

The study also suggested that 59 per cent of the respondents have not hired students from abroad in the past two years, owing to the huge talent pool in India.

“Other reasons for sticking to Indian talent pools included unrealistic expectations about salaries, job content or career growth and not finding suitable matches from among these applicants,” the survey noted.

On the cost side, 72 per cent of the companies have said those who have studied abroad expect higher salaries than similarly-qualified Indian candidates. “On an average, graduates from abroad expect to be paid about 25 per cent more than their peers with Indian degrees, and 20 per cent expect as much as a 50 per cent premium, or even more. However, these expectations are not always matched by reality. A much-smaller – 38 per cent – of firms actually pay higher salaries to graduates from abroad, and the average premium paid is fairly modest,” said the study.

Indian universities have also emerged as a hunting ground for recruiters with more than 50 per cent of the companies hiring from the top 20 Indian institutions. According to a report by Brookings Institution, Indian students spent at least $ 3 billion during 2008-2012 to study in the US.


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