Who’s hot, and who’s not in India Inc’s corner rooms, in terms of pay? ET’s research and conversations with executive search firms like Heidrick & Struggles, Transearch, EMA Partners International, Taplow, INSIST Executive Search, BTI Executive Search helped identify major trends in the top level of executive talent market.
The findings: Overall, the going is great. CEO and CXO-level salaries have found a new normal with job switches resulting in 50%-60% pay packet hikes for in-demand roles. As a recent query from a global HR head to a top headhunting firm, which was looking for a candidate at the CXO level, put it: “Why are the Indian salaries so expensive?”
But within this broad trend, the talent market is sharply divided into those being chased with big pay cheques, and those getting ho-hum raises on job switch.
In the first category are chief executive officers, chief financial officers, and chief digital officers. Chief marketing officers, unless they are in consumer companies, are not quite the hot ticket. Neither is the market generously rewarding chief people’s officers (HR heads), chief technology officers and supply chain heads.
The divergence is a supply-demand issue, headhunters say. Some skillsets have higher demand now. That’s why a chief technology officer, who oversees IT networks and IT support, is less sought after than a chief digital officer, who’s tasked with taking a company to the next level of digital business. These days every company wants a smart guy heading its digital drive.
Amit Agarwal, managing partner, Stanton Chase India, explains, “CDOs are getting more prominence than CTOs as companies start to go the digital way. CTO roles are also less in demand now as most companies are moving to cloud and therefore, maintenance of IT infra & network is not really a challenge for organisations. That’s why standard increments of 15-20% are what CTOs usually get while switching jobs.”
For CDOs, companies are willing to go far higher, sometimes breaking the existing salary mould to get proven talent. Take this example: Headhunting firm Transearch is currently looking for a CDO for a major corporation in the consumer space — salary on offer is a million dollars.
The CFO story is equally instructive. Infosys NSE 2.69 % is not the only one looking for a new CFO. The demand for CFOs has been high for one year at least, head-hunters say.
And top bosses, CEOs, are having it good, too. CEO pay is most attractive now in technology, consumer, automobiles, and metals sectors and in large industrial conglomerates.
A million-dollar CEO package for a Rs 5,000-crore company is normal, according to R Suresh, founder of boutique search firm INSIST Executive Search, as is Rs 4-crore package for the CEO of a Rs 2,000-crore company. That is a jump of 30-40% in the last 2 years.
“Indian salaries are higher than Asia Pacific. This is a very strong trend since late last year. You don’t need to travel abroad to earn money. It’s good money right now here in India,” says Arun Das Mahapatra, chairman and partner-in-charge-India, Heidrick & Struggles.
“The battle for the right C-suite talent will only get tougher in coming days. Complexities in the business environment have increased manifold,” says Harsh Goenka, chairman, RPG Enterprises.
Most CEOs believe competitive differentiators will be linked to an organisation’s people and not just its products, says Sangeeta Sabharwal, Managing Partner, India, Taplow group.
Article kindly reproduced from the Economic Times India