National Outlook India – 2023

India’s G20 Presidency: Forging global solidarity

India will host its maiden G20 summit in 2023, at a juncture best described in the Charles Dickens novel, A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Therein lies the paradox of the opportunities and challenges for India as it steers this powerful global group of 19 countries plus the European Union.

The 200 events that the presidency will entail and the spotlight on India Inc for a year will no doubt encourage a quantum leap in trade, FDI, technology transfer and tourism and feed India’s roaring economic growth engine.

Economic outlook

Key macroeconomic indicators such as GST collection at record high, Manufacturing PMI (26 month high at 57.8 in December), Services PMI (a sharp growth surged to 58.5 in December 2022), automobile sales (up 26%), power consumption, bank credit growth at 17.2%, stock market return (outperformed most global markets in 2022) reflect an improvement in Industrial and commercial activity and possible decoupling.

According to global brokerage firm Morgan Stanley, the Indian economy in 2023 is likely to continue its growth momentum on the back of sustained domestic demand. A World Bank report also said that India is better positioned to navigate global headwinds than other major emerging economies. The nation’s economy has demonstrated resilience despite a challenging external environment. 

However geopolitical headwinds, global inflation, slowdown, many developed nations including India’s export destination such as US and EU likely entering recession, could affect India’s export demand and impact CAD. According to economist Nouriel Roubini the global recession which will begin by the end of 2022 and last through the entire year 2023, will not leave India unscathed. Even though India’s economy is not fully integrated with the global economy, policymakers cannot ignore the global headwinds.

Hiring Trends

Non tech industries: Demand for CXOs continues unabated in 2023. There was a 20-25% increase in top leadership mandates from large conglomerates, and traditional Indian companies in sectors such as manufacturing, engineering, Infrastructure, Electric vehicles, metals, cement, chemicals, FMCG, Financial Services, and retail in the October – December 2022 quarter. We expect the hiring momentum at top management level to continue in 2023 driven by government measures to boost infrastructure sector, companies’ capacity expansion, investment into digital, new, and emerging businesses fuelled by investments from VC & PE funds.

PE/VC funds: 2022 saw India add 22 unicorns (privately held billion-dollar companies), down from the 46 it had added in 2021, India currently has 105 unicorns, and despite the funding winter this number is expected to increase by 140% in the next three years essentially due to lot of dry powder available with funds as they could not close the deals due to astronomical valuations.

White collar and blue-collar jobs are likely to be in demand from traditional businesses, hospitality and tourism and emerging sectors such as ecommerce, last mile delivery etc.

Technology sector:  2022 saw unprecedented demand for tech talent with sharp rise in compensation, candidates walking with multiple offers and huge dropouts post offer. As inflation recessionary fears deepened across the US and European markets and funding crunch hit many start-ups and emerging companies across edtech, fintech, healthtech, media and ecommerce, the second half witnessed sharp deceleration in new job opening. Though hiring is still relatively strong we expect demand and supply balancing out.

Diversity hiring: many leading organisations are doubling down efforts to improve gender diversity in the workplace. Initiatives taken include, among others, offering flexible work arrangements, improving intake of women at trainee and campus level, providing access to mentoring &coaching and employer resource groups, hiring more women at leadership level and initiating programs to attract second career women.

Investments in Future industries

Following Industries in India are attracting huge investments with many projects at drawing board and implementation phase.

  • Renewable energy- solar equipment manufacturing including solar cells and modules
  • Electric Vehicles and batteries
  • Semiconductor sector
  • ​Drone industry
  • Digital – Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) sector
  • Digital Payment ecosystem
  • China plus manufacturing supply chains

Summary

Despite headwinds, the long-term prospects for India are bright. According to Bibek Debroy, Chairman Economic Advisory council to the Prime Minister, India’s GDP will be close to $ 20 trillion by 2047(when we celebrate 100 years of Independence) and per capita GDP may reach $ 10,000 (at current value)

For detailed insights on India vis a vis the world please refer following two interesting interviews with Ruchir Sharma, an investor, author, fund manager and columnist for the Financial Times. He is the Chairman of Rockefeller International, and was an emerging markets investor at Morgan Stanley Investment Management