Working in India



Economic forecasts put India at the forefront of global development in the next 30 years with an increasingly favourable business climate and a young population to sustain it. Although technically a third-world country, India is touted to outdo first-world countries like Japan and Germany whose ageing populations are expected to stunt growth in 10 years.

According to a Goldman Sach's report, another 30 years could put India ahead of the US, making it a magnet for investments. This forecast puts the country on the map of the world's most lucrative career hubs - a fact that will surely have every expat thinking about choosing India as a new home. India has a wealth of multinational companies operating in the country, such as:

  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Glaxo
  • General Electric
  • Siemens
  • IBM
  • Royal Dutch Shell
  • Pfizer

Its growth as an investment centre is fast gaining momentum, and its pro-labour policies make it perfect for expatriates seeking professional and financial independence in this part of Asia.

Top Careers in India

Jobs in Information Technology continue to thrive in India, even with an 800,000-strong workforce raking in up to 10% of the country's national income. Varied opportunities await expatriates hoping to find their place in a dynamic sector that is world-famous for software development and Business Product Outsourcing.

Engineering firms are also revving up innovations in biotechnology, aeronautics, agriculture, and controversial nuclear resources, among others. Meanwhile, the recent surge in the Information Technology and Services sector spurs massive recruitment of accounting and finance personnel, as well as sales and marketing professionals, including those in the Business Outsourcing industry.

India's workforce is predominantly English speaking, and while workers need not speak the language of all aspects of their work, employers require daily use of it. This, in turn, has created plenty of opportunities for native English speakers and writers.

Average Salary and Work Hours

Expats in India can expect varied monthly remuneration offers from the different employers depending on the field and level of expertise. So far, the highest-paid professionals in India are Information Technology specialists who receive monthly compensations of up to RS 150,000 or USD 2,300. Minimum wages in India are declared at national, regional, by sector and skill or occupational level. The table below shows the current minimum wage rates (without housing or food allowance) in New Delhi, the capital:


Rate per Month

Rate per Day


RS 9,724 or USD 150

RS 375 or USD 6.00


RS 10,765 USD 195

RS 415 USD 6.35


RS 11,830 or USD 180

RS 455 or USD 6.95

Work conditions in India vary depending on the industry, company and location but the average work week is usually from 10 am to 6 pm or 48 hours per week from Mondays to Fridays. Expatriates working in this country are normally entitled to 18-30 days paid vacation each year.

The Provident Fund and Income Tax

Contributions to the Indian government's statutory Provident Fund, a compulsory savings program, are collected from all expatriates and citizens working in India. However, exceptions apply to those earning below 6,500 RS. The Employee's Provident Act Fund requires employers to deduct 12 percent of employees' wages and allowances each month from their salaries. A working expat is eligible to withdraw his accumulated contributions after ten years of service.

Working expats in India pay an income tax of 33% including surcharge. Corporate income tax is higher than in other countries and is in addition to other taxes such as property, dividend, and insurance contracts.

Income Tax Slabs for Male and Female 2015-2016

Income in Indian Rupees (RS)

Tax Rate (%)

Up to RS 250,000






1,000,000 and above


The Indian Work Culture

The hierarchy has a significant influence on the Indian work environment whereas the bosses or those who hold high positions are viewed as the source of ultimate responsibility. Expats in this country should also be aware that Indians are not comfortable with saying ‘no’ and they tend to offer you a response which they think you want to hear rather than risk disappointing you. It is important though for newcomers to learn how to ‘read between the lines’ because their local colleagues do not like to give negative answers and prefer to give affirmative responses but with vague details.

A handshake is a common greeting in India, mostly between men. However, it is rare to see men shaking the hands of the women because of certain religious beliefs. Gift giving is also widely accepted in this country, and the locals believe that the gesture of gift-giving eases the transition to the next life. Green, yellow and red are lucky colours and its best to use them to wrap gifts. White flowers or frangipani should be avoided because they are used for funerals. Expats who want to express their gratitude to Indian bosses or colleagues should also remember not to give anything made from leather to Hindus. Alcoholic products and those made from pigskin are also a big no-no for Muslims.

And last but not the least, dress conservatively. Business attire is common in the corporate world. Men should prefer dark coloured suits while women should opt for dresses or clothes that do not reveal too much skin.

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