South Korean electronics giant Samsung has had a presence in India for two decades now. Having entered the country in December 2015, it now occupies thousands of feet of office space, employs thousands of people across diverse fields such as R&D and sales, and has a large imprint on India’s technical industry. It’s a good paymaster as well – a full 116 Samsung India employees drew salaries of over Rs. 1 crore per year. But there was a problem. 70% of these people were of Korean origin.
While Koreans make for a tiny fraction of Samsung India’s employee base, they are disproportionately represented in upper management. Samsung recruits Indian graduates in large numbers, but it looks like it’s hard for them to rise to the very top.
In contrast, most of the top management teams of the India operations of other top MNCs, including Google, HP and Facebook, are composed mainly of Indians.
And it’s not just a matter of promotions at Samsung. The company appears to want to keep a distance between its Korean and Indian employees. “Korean employees in Samsung Bangalore have a separate eating area, where Indians rarely enter”, said a Samsung employee on the condition of anonymity. More bizarrely, Koreans also seem to have a separate washrooms, as corroborated by several Quora posts.
Employees seem to think that Korean superiors think tvery highly of Indian engineers. “My conclusion from my observations is that the Koreans don’t believe Indian engineers are much talented.”, says another Quora poster.