Good news on salary front: India Inc pay packages seen rising 10% this year

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Compensation in India’s corporate sector is tipped to go up by about 10% on average in 2019, an increase similar to that seen in 2018. HR professionals estimate there was a marginal drop in median pay increases from 10.5% in 2017 to 10% in 2018 across corporate India.

Youngsters — in the right sectors — can hope for good increments as can mid-management professionals. Seniors, though, according to Kunal Sen, managing director (India) at Korn Ferry RPO & Professional Search, would have to rest content with a little less.

Those best placed, HR consultants say, are professionals working in spaces such as life sciences, high-technology and consumer insights. Amardeep Vishwakarma, CTO at jobs portal, points out there is an acute shortage of talent in areas such as search engine optimisation, search engine marketing, AI and machine learning.

“The demand is huge and cannot be met by fresh graduates and therefore, mid-management professionals will benefit the most from this dynamic. They will witness the maximum salary growth in 2019,” Vishwakarma observed. He adds mid-level professionals will scale up in large numbers to get these jobs.

As for the rest, as Sen points out, steady growth in most businesses and cautious optimism on the part of managements will ensure there is a raise in compensation. To be sure, there will be exceptions to the 10% norm; exceptional talent will take home much more than it did last year.

Professionals in emerging sectors in India will probably outdo their peers across the Asia-Pacific region.

An October 2018 report by leading global advisory firm Willis Towers Watson predicted salaries in India would increase by 10% this year. In comparison, the expected increase in Indonesia is 8.3%, China 6.9%, 6% in the Philippines and 4% in Hong Kong and Singapore. HR consultants point out that it’s skill sets rather than sectors that matter. In other words, an AI (artificial intelligence) or block-chain expert would draw the same regardless of the space he is working in.

FE had reported late last year that the momentum in new-age sectors would mean engineers will be in big demand in 2019. With investors continuing to back start-ups — close to $10 billion was invested in 2018 — more engineering and management graduates are setting up shop on their own. Alka Dhingra, general manager, TeamLease Services, believes start-ups will be big employers looking for talent in spaces such as AI, robotics, blockchain and IoT.

Namita Bharadwaj, principal India products leader at Mercer, New York-based HR consulting firm, told FE that the levels of increments are similar across sectors since the growth in the economy is impacting these in more or less the same way. “Almost all industries now require people with expertise in areas such as blockchain and AI. So, organisations are starting to make comparisons not just within their industry segment but across industries where similar roles or talent exists,” Bharadwaj said.

Only shared services, outsourcing and logistics industries forecast a lower than 10% salary increase with all others tipped to see hikes in the range of 9-10.6%.

HR consultants aren’t expecting any substantial shift in the pay pattern — between fixed and variable components. Mercer’s Bharadwaj believes that organisations are focussing on the total rewards rather than only pay.

“They are simplifying pay structures to remove historical cash elements and strengthening the performance management system to enable more effective variable pay process. Also, employees are being given greater choice in choosing their pay structure,” she said.