Category Archives: Culture

Dubai: A Land of UNEQUAL opportunities

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Love it or Hate it but you can’t ignore it.

Such is the effect of Dubai on the lives of people living in subcontinent and east Asia. It is foreign land which is more accessible than Delhi to the people of  Kerala, a southern state of India. They feel at home there. Because, it is said, more Keralites live in UAE than they live in Kerala. Being in the middle of familiar people, earning better money is a very encouraging proposition. And they actually love it.

India has been in close relationship with UAE, which was once part of British colony and used Indian Rupee as their currency. Indians were the one of those those people who arrived in UAE even before its glittering presence came into existence. They have seen it rises from dirt, literally, to become darling of people around the world. They have worked as blue collars workers to CEO’s. They mark their presence as employee as well as employers. But the blue-collar workforce far outnumber those in higher positions.

Its a very interesting fact the UAE is one of few countries where expats are majority in respect of local population. Of the total population residing in UAE only 20% comprises of local Emiratis and rest 80% are expatriates of which 70% are from India. The presence of such a big Indian population is really not an indication of any new-found love for them in the Emirates, nor are they,as  people, are wanted more than other nationalities. Its their price tag which is in demand because money is the oldest and most powerful religion in the world.

From a distance Dubai seems a perfect example of muticultural society where more than 200 nationalities are living peacefully together. The last word in the previous sentence is that I high suspect. Together. Isn’t it different from living adjacently to someone but not communicating and knowing nothing about the person or family living or working next to you. Or isn’t it different from being a  neighbor coincidentally.

I have earlier worked in UAE earlier for a year. But didn’t got to know the dark realities of social and professional contrast in the people of different nationalities. I knew it from what I read in media reports or on internet. But I got a first hand experience of it when I got a job offer from an Italian company trying to establish its business in Dubai. After a round of various telephonic interviews and analytical test over email, I was called for an interview in Dubai.  It was unusual for a company to call a candidate to Dubai. Normally the companies representative come to Mumbai or Delhi to conduct interview. But as most Italian companies area family business and even small recruitment is done by highest officials in the company so they all flew from Italy to conduct the interview.

This was probably my shortest visit abroad. I took a flight in the night at 20:30 reached Dubai at local time 22:30 in night. On the next morning I attended the interview and then boarded the return flight again in the night at 24:00 same day and reach Delhi at 5:00 next morning. All in all it was a total 24 Hours including travelling time. Interview was positive.

When I was doing a search on the average salary, they had requested salary expectation from me, I came to know a very interesting fact. That in Dubai salary are not based on skills and experience but on nationality. Not only UAE but this is the trend all over the middle east. I always hear that Indians are one obsessed with white skin or westerners but I would have to say that obsession of middle eastern businessman with western people or white skin goes beyond any logic.

There is professional hierarchy based on nationality. First comes a white American then British then Emirati, then other whites, then Arabs and then people from subcontinent. I was amazed because it didn’t make any economical sense. For same skills and experience I would always want someone who is asking a little less but here I can see a desperation to hire white people at exorbitant pay packages sometimes 3 times more than other people.

Please have a look at the difference as dummy salaries.

American White-

Base Salary- 2,40,000 AED

Housing Allowance- 1,20,000 AED

Car Allowance-           50,000 AED

Relocation Allowance- 25,000 AED

Education Allowance-  30,000/ Child/Annum ( for max 3 children)

Total-   AED  5,25,000

Indian-

Base Salary- 84,000AED

Housing Allowance- 60,000 AED

Car Allowance-           36,000 AED

Relocation Allowance- NA

Education Allowance-  NA

Total-   AED  1,80,000

This is usual scenario in the case of same skills and experience.

The so called Muslim Ummah doesn’t apply in Arabian peninsula of Islamic world. Fellow Arabian Muslims are discriminated against  western people. All the calls of Islamic brotherhood now comes across as fanatical cacophony to overpower the real issues and to gain political mileage.

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Recruitment and Procurement : India Inc

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                            You can do anything but not everything.

This is the first thing I would like to tell all the high-level managers in corporate sector of India.The lack of authority and intent in decision making delays some process to the extent of extreme frustration for affected parties.Designation in Indian corporate sectors never justify the authority they are entitled to , specially when they are in the process of  making crucial decision like recruitment and procurement.

Fellow-blogger Sharell  gave some insight on the stark contrast in work ethics between India and western world on her recent blog-post.

After monitoring corporate quarters from a close distance and observing working pattern of  some high officials in big MNCs in India , I have come to conclude that  Recruitment and Procurement are very critical , complex and also most-delayed processes  in Indian corporate sector. Planning is always done in an unscheduled manner leaving little scope for any back up support in the case of emergency.Most of the procurement is done with a single agenda in mind-Price.This type of intent hardly leave any scope for quality and delivery of product or services.

The process of procurement goes through so many hierarchical channels which make vendors grasping for breath.And at every stage , the only thing asked is Discount.(Even when you have already told them that this is your final price) It seems that negotiation will never end.

The typical scenario is that after you submit your first price quotation , you would be asked for your  Final Prices by the Engineer.And after you submit your Final Prices to the Engineer , you would once again be asked for Final Prices by Sr Engineer.And after you  submit your  Final Prices to Sr Engineer , you would then be asked for Final Prices by the Assistant manager .And when you submit  your Final Prices to the assistant manager you would be asked to submit your Final Prices by Deputy Manager.And when your submit your Final Prices to the deputy manager you are asked to submit your Final Prices  to the Manager and when you submit you Final Prices to the Manager then you are once again asked to submit your Final Prices by Sr Manager.

The fun of negotiation is slowly being faded.Normally marketing people keep enough margin to distribute across three-four levels of corporate hierarchy and they actually don’t mind this painful process is going to award them order.Actually its worth the efforts , then. But just when think that everything is finalized and you start day-dreaming about the copy of purchase order , you are called again by some Deputy General Manager  to give your Final Prices. This is insane now.And every time  you think this is the last time you are being asked for the Final prices , you are proved wrong by the next higher hierarchical position in the corporate world and reminded that ‘Picture Abhi Baki hai Mere dost'(The movie is still on ! )

But somehow , as all good and bad things come to an end , this seemingly unending process of negotiation ends and vendors are made free , relieved but exhausted.Purchaser certainly gets a good deal and vendor has to adjust with minimum margin.Specially after he know that in the meantime that prices of raw material has been increased just one day after he secured order.Sigh !

Almost same process is followed in Recruitment , specially in big corporate.Its so amusing to see that an ‘urgent requirement’ takes more than three to six months to be filled up after the first interview.You are always told “We will revert back to you in a week” only to make you realize that their week consists of special days which are month long.The transparency is also wanted in these processes.HR officials should be frank enough to tell the outcome , negative or positive , of recruitment process so that prospective candidates can take their future decision.You can’t hold them forever.

I just hope that some day , distribution of power and responsibility is done according to the volume of projects so that minor projects are not wanting for the approval of high-level officials.The serial way of working in Indian corporate sector should definitely by replaced by parallel processes.