RBS Bank to move jobs from the UK to India

Will this plan lead to the cost-savings it expects?

By: Christine Hall, GMS, Christine.Hall@Saunders1865.com

Relocation employees in londonRBS Bank recently announced it will cut about 443 jobs in their London operations and relocate these employees to Mumbai, India.

Since the £45bn government bailout nearly 10 years ago, the company has been trying to reduce their operating cost.  The Bank feels the best way to cut costs is to relocate employees to the cheaper city of Mumbai, India from their main headquarters in London.

However, when we compare the cost of housing/living in Mumbai with that of London and other UK cities, RBS might not achieve quite the degree of savings that they’re expecting.  

Mercer’s annual Cost Of Living Survey lists the most expensive and cheapest cities in the world to live in.  In in the 23rd such survey, Mumbai is ranked 57th and is on its way to finding a spot in the top 50 most expensive cities in the world. 

The reason for its ranking as number 57th can be partly attributed to the increasing residential rental prices.  These prices are increasing due to demonetization, which has put pressure upward pressure on rents.  Also, price increases in food, personal care items, and transportation rose significantly in the past year.

Surprisingly, Mumbai’s living costs rank only a bit cheaper than London.  In fact, London is only a few spots below Mumbai on Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey at spot number 30. 

On the other hand, RBS probably expect big savings in operating costs through the engagement of local workers and providers.

But many employees of RBS currently based in London may not be convinced that a relocation to Mumbai will be in their best interests.  It is natural for employees to be resistant to being moved to a city like Mumbai.  They will have their own, pre-conceived notions about what it might be like to live and work there.

In actual fact, being relocated to Mumbai is not necessarily a bad thing at all.  Expats generally report more pros than cons.

Pros

  • One pro reported by many expats, whose first language is English, state that since Mumbai is a cosmopolitan metropolis, one will easily be able to adapt to this English-friendly city. 
  • Another pro is Mumbai’s world-class schooling programs.  This is good news for expats relocating with their children. 
  • Relocating to Mumbai can offer expats and their family members both maids and chauffeurs services for very reasonable prices.
  • When relocating to Mumbai expats can also expect top-quality medical treatment to be available at world-class hospitals.  Expats can expect to receive great medical care at cheaper costs than most other countries. 
  • The food of Mumbai is described as being very tasty.  There’s a huge variety of food available to all Mumbai citizens.

Cons

  • One of the few cons reported by expats is the difficulty to obtain relevant visas and work/ residence permits.  Luckily, Saunders 1865 can handle this issue for anyone planning on relocating.
  • The last con is the high property rates in Mumbai.  As stated above, living in Mumbai can be expensive.  However, Mumbai ranks as being cheaper to live in than other major cities like London.

To make the relocation project successful, the employer should engage a professional relocation firm to get involved at the earliest stage possible.  They will provide great information to the employees and answer all their questions about life in the new city.  In my experience, this always comes as a big relieve to most employees and family members.

If you’re responsible for moving employees to Mumbai, contact us for a free consultation.

To find out more about moving to Mumbai click here