The multinational companies emanate a certain gloss; their ideas are bright and engaging and are almost always new to Bangladesh

From the GradConnect Research Desk 

What type of organisation do you envision yourself working in? This is one of the first questions we pose to our young graduates at GradConnect when they seek assistance regarding their career options. The majority of business majors are attracted to the blossoming multinational companies which offer competitive salaries and long-term career progression.

Some are pursuing roles in the sparkling financial services sector in dynamic roles such as equity, securities and portfolio management. The rapidly emerging opportunities in business consulting and policy development have also made an indentation on the minds of many. Outside the large multinationals, ambitious youngsters, emboldened by the global market, are looking to become job-creators immediately, courtesy of inspiring initiatives such as Startup Dhaka and The Wave.

Another deep pool of graduates, those with engineering majors, tends to be more diverse in their choice of career. Like the business graduates, many want to work in the existing multinationals of the country such as British American Tobacco, but many also embrace a life of civil service and NGOs, working towards the development of the nation.

The most ambitious ones even dream of going to Silicon Valley, utilising their superior quantitative skills to place themselves in Google, Microsoft or even to establish their own tech venture.

However, there is a distinct lack of interest when it comes to working for domestic corporations. Despite the fact that these companies add millions to the national tax revenue every year and supply the livelihoods of many, young graduates are not attracted to the prospect of working in these companies. It was hardly a surprise when Nielson Bangladesh named Unilever Bangladesh the “Number One Choice of Employment for Young Graduates” in 2013.

What is behind this trend? There are multiple factors both at an organisational level and at a countrywide level.  Multinationals are run by professionals who have worked globally and know how to achieve success. The business nous of these individuals means they are equipped to create an organisational culture that is positive and successful.

Talent attracts talent, and the best and brightest have quickly shifted their interest to these organisations, thus creating hyper competition and prestige for these positions. Those who are successful in obtaining roles have a sense of accomplishment matched by their colleagues, creating a sense of camaraderie and belonging not only while at office but also beyond it. The organisations are worn as a badge of honour, recognised by all those outside it which also enhances the reputation and status of the employee in the society.

The injection of multinationals hasforced domestic conglomerates to look in the mirror and make due improvements. These companies are fraught with negative perceptions which are being rectified as we speak. The stigma attached to these companies is focused on the lack of transparency and the overbearing self-interest.

For example, recruitment may be done on the basis of nepotism or directors’ quotas making an uncomfortable treaty between employees. Furthermore, historically, domestic companies have had a rigid hierarchical structure leading to a tense and complex bureaucratic processes fostering inefficiency.

Most of the HR departments of the local companies recognise this problem, and this is why some of the forward looking companies like ACI Group are increasingly restructuring to establish flatter organisational structures.

Beyond the environment of the domestic organisations, the benefits package in multinationals are much more incentivised, rewarding performance through bonuses and detailed feedback for self-improvement. This facilitates progress within the multinationals at a faster rate; which in turn is the reason why when the multinationals reach out, they can always recruit the best talent in the market.

The domestic benefits packages on the other hand are perceived to be owner-centric and the rewards trickle down from the success at the top of the pyramid.

Perhaps the most obvious difference between multinational companies and the local conglomerates is the brand image they possess. The multinational companies emanate a certain gloss; their ideas are bright and engaging and are almost always new to Bangladesh.

These elements appeal to the next generation who have been connected to the global environment since birth. In contrast, the local companies appear bland and draconian. They are littered with whispers, sometimes shouts, of corruption and a perception that these houses of cards may crumble soon without substantial notice.

Interestingly, the market for talent is one of the most transparent in the country. These youngsters are well equipped to decide where they can obtain their market value and in what form, whether it is through a higher paycheck or a prestigious role.

Domestic organisations are latching onto this and there is recognition amongst them that they must now adapt or miss out on the talent which may help their organisations grow and keep their name in lights. The shift is tangible and the generation change is now weaving its way through these companies.

Multinationals have changed the expectations of the prospective workers and have set a benchmark domestic organisations are now pushing towards. This change is a must for today’s graduates.

Source: Dhaka Tribune


This research article was developed by Naiian Yazdani, Director of Strategy, GradConnect and Nakibul Hoq, Research Analyst, GradConnect. GradConnect is an international career information and advisory firm. For any questions, send an email to hello@grad-connect.com, and learn more about GradConnect on www.grad-connect.com

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