The Indian economy is currently booming. Jobs are being created and nearly all Indian markets are more competitive than ever. So why do many Indian University graduates pursue job opportunities overseas? Why don’t they compete in Indian markets? Why do so many Indians become Non-Resident Indians?
Indians emigrate away all the time, usually because they’re told that their chances to earn big money lie in foreign IT companies or North American business firms. But is leaving India to pursue your career more profitable than finding a job in the country? Let’s rephrase the question for us NRIs: should you stay an NRI and continue working wherever you are or should you pursue jobs back in India?
By looking at the question, an ultimate answer for all NRIs is difficult. There are so many variables to consider: quality of life, quality of education, state of competition, the value of the currency. On top of that, I’d likely get a different answer for every country NRIs reside in.
Instead, I decided to narrow it down to the three most important variables: average income abroad compared to India, the state of competition compared to that of India’s, and the quality of living. The latter seemed a relevant variable because I figured most NRIs usually emigrate in the aim to start a family. I also only looked at the U.S. in comparison to India to keep it simpler. Now, in terms of the average high paying occupations that most Indians flock to overseas, these fall in the medical, business, and the IT sectors.
I focused on these sectors. In the U.S. there are close to 2.15 million people of Indian origin. Indians have a median family income of $61,322. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this is higher than the average income.
In the U.S., over 300,000 Indians work in technology firms, which have a typical average salary of about $125,000. About 52% are involved in managerial business positions, which fall near the average income of Indians in the U.S. Finally, the average salary of one employed in the medical profession in the U.S. falls somewhere between $150,267–$306,964.
Comparing these results to the average salary of those professions in India, I found that in all three cases, immigrating to the United States was a better decision. Since there are so many jobs in the IT sector in India, the salaries are more diluted, with the average being Rs 170,000 or roughly $3,837 dollars a year. The same goes for the medical profession. India is abundant with general physicians. The average pay of a family physician in India is somewhere between Rs 191,614 to RS 596,187, roughly between $4,325.85 to $13,459.40. In the business sector, it varies depending on the type of business.
The second variable is competition. In all three sectors, Indian markets are burgeoning. They are much more competitive and difficult to survive in than American markets. The increase in the competition of the Indian markets also means that there are plenty more jobs in each sector in India than in the U.S. However, the fact that Indian markets are much more competitive means that getting well-paying jobs in all three sectors is difficult. Finding a well paying job in the U.S., is comparatively easier since the markets aren’t as diluted with people having the same skills as you.
The third, and in my opinion, most crucial variable is quality of life. India, even with its burgeoning economy and power, is still considered a third world country. But depending on your income and wealth, you could live just as well in India as you do elsewhere. So, instead of looking at basic needs, let’s look at health care, education, and the opportunity to climb the social ladder. In all three regards, India is lacking. In terms of health care, India may have more doctors per kilometer than anywhere and its medical universities may be ahead in research. But when looking at quick emergency responses and medical access, India doesn’t match the care in the U.S.
The public education system is another area where improvement is needed. With the right money, you can send your kids to the best school. And that’s the problem. You shouldn’t have to. India’s public education system isn’t as uniform in quality of service across the board as the U.S. The education system itself is a reason people emigrate.
Finally, the opportunity to rise up on the social ladder is again much difficult in India, since markets are much more competitive. With India’s incessant corruption affecting all areas of life, the easiest way to rise up is if you got deep pockets.
Overall, fellow NRIs, your decision to emigrate was a good one.