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Our expert in-house capability provides accurate, up-to-date and incisive research to deliver swift, precise outcomes. Targeted individuals are engaged with care and professionalism and the client opportunity presented in a clear and well-prepared format.

Our News

Our expert in-house capability provides accurate, up-to-date and incisive research to deliver swift, precise outcomes. Targeted individuals are engaged with care and professionalism and the client opportunity presented in a clear and well-prepared format.

The Indian question: what’s the business opportunity?


Once known as the jewel in the crown of the British Empire – and now a vital part of the Commonwealth – India has long been an important ally and partner for the UK. While it’s been over 70 years since India gained its independence, the two countries are still closely linked and enjoy a unique relationship.

As the seventh largest country in the world (in terms of land mass), India boasts a booming economy and offers a huge opportunity for international business. The largest democracy in the world – with a population of over 1 billion – is forging an ever-improving reputation as a business powerhouse.

Our partner Neil Humphreys caught up with Jyorden Misra, Managing Director, Spearhead InterSearch India, to get his views on the opportunities within India, the potential business pitfalls and what areas are particularly exciting right now.


Jyorden, can you give me a brief overview of search in India?

Executive search is a relatively new concept in India compared to European countries and America. Prior to the early 1990s, India’s search industry didn’t really exist; rather, there was a very much more generalist recruitment approach that’s nothing like the management consulting it is today.

The Indian economy opened up in 1991 and large companies started coming to the country. Search firms followed; our firm launched in 1997 and became part of InterSearch in 2007.

India is a unique country. What are its key strengths and opportunities?

Diversity within India is without doubt its key benefit. With a population of 1.3 billion, spread over a geographic range spanning 3.2m km, and speaking over 120 languages, India is arguably the most diverse nation in the world. While it can’t be said that this doesn’t pose challenges, it’s also a huge opportunity. With so many people offering a broad range of skills, businesses can expand into India confident that they will find quality people – and plenty of them.

India is rapidly being inducted into the world order. The country has a very large middle class of around 600m people, which plays a fundamental role in protecting the economy. The impact of the middle class has only grown over the last decade, in size and scale.

Another key benefit is that India has not spent the last 10 years in slow growth, like much of the world. It was relatively insulated from the 2007-08 global crash because the economy was not heavily dependent on export, and so has been able to concentrate on further growth in the intervening years, rather than focusing efforts on steadying the ship.

Finally, for British companies, the historical links between the UK and India offer a unique starting point for business. There are 1.5m Indians living and working in the UK and 800 Indian companies incorporated in Britain. Meanwhile, British companies operating in India employ more than 800,000 people. Two successive governments in India have made big efforts to help the relationship develop and the position this gives to British companies in India is unrivalled.

India is the fastest growing emerging market in the world, posing an unparalleled opportunity for bilateral trade. As a country, we are performing very well – but a lot more can be achieved for businesses with the right mindset.

What challenges are there when working in executive search in India?

Most people agree that India offers businesses a huge opportunity but, alongside that, there are significant challenges posed by the sheer scale of the country. India is still evolving at a structural level. For example, regulation and agreed processes can be difficult to navigate and there are instances where businesses have struggled to secure the right licences to operate. However, there has been a massive shift and things are much improved compared to how they were as little as five years ago. The country has made great progress, but if you compare India to other countries with larger economies, it’s clear that it still has a way to go.

Are there any industries that perform particularly well in India?

There are a number of industries which are really booming in India at the moment. Key examples are healthcare and medical technology, energy (especially renewable), education services, manufacturing, professional services, agritech and IT. However, most areas show a healthy level of growth.

One of the most important catalysts for growth has come with the rise of the Financial Inclusion sector, originally spearheaded by the institutionalization of the dynamic Microfinance enterprises. This, along with the rapid spread of digitisation and deep penetration of telecoms and internet connectivity across the country, has the opportunity to change the face of India by offering those at the bottom of the pyramid (where a large proportion of the population exists) access to finance.

Financial micro lending is injecting cash into the poorest areas of India and allowing people to change their destinies. For those without access to regular banking services, these loans are enabling them to set up small businesses, potentially employ others and, collectively, deliver a vital element of the economy. For example, a 10,000 Rupee loan (approximately £100) might enable a vegetable grower to buy a bicycle with appropriate accessories to take his produce to a market where a much better price can be realised, rather than relying on the local middle man. He might then be able to buy a motorbike, and expand his reach, business and returns many times more. This is rural revolution, a tsunami in a silent way – and the impact it will have on the Indian economy cannot be underestimated.


Interested in more insight on business in foreign markets? Read our conversations with experts on Australia and Brazil.

The EMI Practice at Howgate Sable really took the time to understand our situation and find exceptional candidates who could fulfil challenging international leadership assignments for a truly global company with a history that spans well over 200 years.

It was a first class experience and positive outcome on many levels.


Barry McDonnell – Director of Manufacturing at De La Rue International

I have worked with the Howgate Sable team on several occasions whilst hiring mission-critical executives. Partnership is the byword for this organisation – they act as an extension of my team and work hard to support me not only in the technical solution, but in the sense of a deep understanding of my specific requirements. Delivery is the key measure of our talent partners and Howgate Sable have always achieved what was asked of them.

Jesper Berg – SVP HR, ABB

Having worked with Howgate Sable as a client and as a candidate I can confidently say their ability to deliver on complex searches is second to none. They not only have a detailed knowledge of the marketplace but also understand the importance of cultural fit. 

Bridget Lea – O2

I was particularly impressed with Howgate Sable’s knowledge and network in the aviation sector, the quality of the candidates provided at shortlist and the availability of Nick and the team to provide us with advice and guidance on candidates when required. Nick was particularly effective in understanding our needs as a Company and being flexible in adapting requirements and plans.

Paul Hutchings – Thomas Cook Group Airlines

I have recently worked with Nick from Howgate Sable to recruit a new Head of Aircraft Operations for Thomson Airways. I was particularly impressed by the wide-reaching search undertaken and the quality of the candidates put forward. The skills match to the brief was excellent and I am delighted with the individual we selected.

Dawn Wilson – Thomson Airways

From their initial call to me the Aviation practice team at Howgate Sable demonstrated a significant difference. Straightforward and to the point, the extent of their network and deep insight into the industry was immediately evident. The added value I have received as a candidate is tangible. An almost instant rapport quickly developed into a focused business relationship which is open, honest, respectful and above all trustworthy.

Carl Gissing