Salaries likely to increase by up to 20% in 2010

Written by Smita Joshi Saha | Mumbai | Updated: Jan 1 2010, 04:19am hrs
Hiring activities in India Inc have gone up by 15-20% in the last four months compared with 2008, an indication that the job market is opening up and companies are loosening controls imposed on recruitment, training expenses and salary hikes.

HR consulting firms FE spoke to said the calendar year 2010 looks hopeful not only on the hiring front, but for salaries and bonuses as well. However, companies will continue to remain conservative on salary hikes across the board.

The exorbitant salaries and huge bonuses for people at the top management level, which saw a dip of about 25-30% in their cost to company (CTC) during the slowdown, could go up by 15-20% in 2010. This will include managing directors, chief executives, chief financial officers, senior vice-presidents and executive directors.

In percentage terms, the total package might not move up significantly, but other benefits like perks and variable pay are expected to increase, said Arunima Sharma, principal consultant at Execuzen. Moreover, huge bonuses of about 80-100% will now shrink to 30-50%.

The top-level salary in the BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) sector at present is more than Rs 1 crore per annum compared with more than Rs 2-3 crore in the beginning of 2008.

In the manufacturing and engineering sectors, it is still lower at around Rs 80 lakh, compared with Rs 1 crore earlier. IT/ITeS, which took the maximum hit during the downturn, is ready to give salaries in the range of Rs 1.5 to Rs 5 crore. Pharma is still lower by 10-15% against the 2008 levels. Salary at the top level in this sector is between Rs 75 and 80 lakh per annum.

In the media sector, current salaries at the top level are more than Rs 1 crore, whereas, for retail and real estate sector, salaries might go up from Rs 75 lakhs and Rs 1 crore, respectively, per annum .

Said Shiv Agrawal, CEO of ABC Consultants, Salaries at the top level are expected to increase in the range of 8-15%. The 15-20% hike will be exceptional for very good performers. The 2010 salaries will see more variable pay component, which will be performance driven.

According to Sharma, more and more expats from Europe and Japan are also looking to come back to India, especially in the financial services and advertising sectors. I expect that by March 2010, we will see a turnaround and things will be back to normal in terms of salaries, she said.

Meanwhile, experts say hiring will continue, albeit to meet pent up demand (where hiring was frozen in the downturn and is now opening up).

According to Naukri JobSpeak index for November 2009, hiring activities saw a significant push across all sectors with auto, insurance and telecom sectors seeing a double-digit percentage growth.