India’s untapped potential has been a talking point in Australia’s business circles for over 20 years.
Two-way trade in goods and services between our two countries is worth more than $ 24 billion. However, that figure is still a tiny fraction of Australia and China’s $245 billion trade relationship.
From an Australian perspective, there has been a sense India is an underpenetrated market. Similarly, an increasing number of Indian businesses are of that same mindset. Which is why the leading tech industry body, National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) in partnership with Investment NSW, New South Wales Government’s economic development and investment attraction agency, organised a series of tailor-made roadshows for Indian technology companies to highlight business and investment opportunities that exist in Australia.
I had the privilege of travelling to India as part of a roadshow in July, with NASSCOM, Investment NSW and Acclime Australia, a corporate services firm that helps companies establish a legal presence in Australia.
The roadshow visited six cities across the country and showcased the opportunities with New South Wales to act as a gateway for serving the broader Australian market – with opportunities in terms of market size, location advantage, technology and innovation quotient and availability of skilled workforce. The roadshow was aimed primarily towards small to medium-sized technology companies in India, and aimed to raise awareness on how to successfully establish and grow one’s business in Australia while engaging with key stakeholders and leveraging the local eco-system.
During the roadshow, I shared insights into the Australian talent market and how an Indian technology company could mobilise talent to Australia, what was involved in employing foreign workers and the visa categories open to business owners and entrepreneurs.
The Australia labour market, like India and the rest of the world, has undergone significant change due to the disruptions of Covid, with many organisations offering employees hybrid and fully remote options, and managing dispersed teams. The new world of talent mobility requires companies to think differently about immigration and talent mobility. The key drivers for business growth and success in a new market are
- People – having the right people in the right location is key
- Strategy – having the right strategy is critical. Businesses need to consider mobility, tax and compliance requirements of the location
The battle for talent is a real challenge for growing businesses which is why talent and international mobility are such a critical part of a company’s market entry. Australia has a strong talent supply due to a high-quality education sector, but there is tight competition for a limited pool of talent, and employers now must shape their offering in such a way that both attracts and retains the best people.
The message resonated with the Indian audience as talent was a hot topic throughout the roadshow. This is a universal issue for the tech industry globally, but one where Australia offers some unique advantages to attract and retain talent.
Key factors behind momentum
The Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement signed between Australia and India in April this year has created a lot of optimism for the Australia- India relationship. Australia and India have enjoyed strong cultural, familial and professional connections, and this agreement creates a foundation upon which the countries can deepen economic ties and create more opportunities for business and workers, particularly for the technology sector.
Indian firms have responded positively to the agreement, which reduces numerous barriers to companies doing business in Australia.
The agreement has smoothed-over trade friction points. Indian businesses are no longer concerned about the risk of being double-taxed, and Australia’s generous R&D incentives are generating considerable interest. These arrangements make Australia an excellent test bed for large-scale and rapid testing of products and platforms. India’s advanced technology sector will be attracted to a stable mid-sized market like Australia when looking to refine their products, as a launch pad to expand into Europe or the US.