Salary trends show tech-based skills attract more value


The Pay Scaler 2021 for India showed that there will be preference for technology-enabled skills across sectors as against legacy skills-based hiring.

With the second wave of COVID-19 hitting India and some sectors like e-commerce, IT and BFSI seeing faster growth due to the nature of the business, hiring outlook is bright for ‘digital’ talent, according to the report.

For instance, for a data scientist with five years of work experience, the maximum salary would go up to Rs 25 lakh per annum, if he/she has a specialisation in artificial intelligence.

“While preference for new skills over legacy skills will triumph, the next normal will see new ways of working with organisations keen on exploring project-based hiring via gig workers,” said Thammaiah BN, Managing Director, PERSOLKELLY India, in the report.

PERSOLKELLY is a joint venture established in 2016 between PERSOL HOLDINGS (previously Temp Holdings) and Kelly Services to cater to the rising workforce employment needs of the emerging Asia Pacific market. It has presence in markets like Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The company brings out salary guides for countries every year to gauge the hiring interest in the different sectors and the pay for those roles.


The report said that e-commerce has seen an upward growth trajectory in 2020, after a brief pause in business during the lockdown period and this growth trend is bound to continue in the coming years.

While the sector has seen a 15-20 percent increase in talent across cities in India during 2020, the report said that the demand for workforce will see an uptick in 2021, with expansion of reach and demand by ‘digital customers’.

The salary data for the e-commerce sector showed that as against a standard Rs 2.5 lakh average pay for other traditional sectors, the starting salary at junior levels (1-3 years of work experience) is Rs 5 lakh per annum.

As a candidate moves up in seniority, the pay sees a gradual rise. At the senior level, for a chief marketing officer position with 8-15 years of work experience, there is a potential to earn up to Rs 1 crore per year.

Fast-moving consumer goods

While most of 2020 saw a very curtailed growth in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) space, the report said that there are signs of green shoots in this segment.

With the evolution of consumer habits, coupled with improving

consumer sentiment, the FMCG industry is displaying steady signs of recovery. Here, cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi are leading in hiring talent, especially for roles in marketing, sales, research & analytics, account management and digital transformation.

The salary data for the FMCG sector showed that as against a standard Rs 2.5 lakh average pay for other traditional sectors, the starting annual salary at junior levels (1-3 years of work experience) is Rs 3 lakh.

As a candidate moves up in seniority, the pay sees a gradual rise. At the senior level for a government affairs and corporate social responsibility position, a chief marketing officer position with 10-20 years of work experience, has the potential to earn up to Rs 75 lakh per annum.

Trends in the IT sector

Technology has played a significant role in allowing business continuity in 2020, being one of the few industries which grew while riding on the wave of digital transformation and technology adoption. Skills like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Internet of Things (IoT), Cyber Security and DevOps are witnessing a surge in demand.

Hiring at junior level, especially freshers, has gained traction in Q4 of 2020,

and continues to gain momentum in 2021, according to the report.

On the salary front, in IT Captives, the starting salary for a business analyst with five years of work experience would be Rs 10.5 lakh per year. He/she will be required to have an MBA degree.

Higher up in seniority, a digital marketing manager, with up to 15 years of work experience, could earn as high as Rs 1.1 crore per annum.

On the IT products side, a director of technology, with 15 years of work experience, has the potential to earn Rs 60 lakh per annum.

Banking, financial services and insurance

The report said that the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) industry is working towards the adoption of technology in finance as part of digital transformation.

With this adoption, there is a critical need to bridge the skill requirement gap to cater to a host of ‘digital’ customers. While Mumbai has seen over 20 percent increase in hiring for BFSI over the last year, cities like Bengaluru and Delhi have also seen about 15 percent growth in hiring talent in this industry.

It said that banking operations, corporate banking, and sales and relationship management are some of the hot skills that lead with a higher number of job postings. This is for roles in the junior to middle level, with over 2-9 years of experience.

On the salary front, the starting salary for banking operations is stagnant at Rs 2.5 lakh per annum, with a potential to earn up to Rs 6 lakh.

But for senior positions in relationship management, the pay potential is as high as Rs 90 lakh for someone with 12-25 years of experience.

Pharmaceuticals, healthcare and life sciences

The COVID-19-related crisis has helped the healthcare, pharma and life sciences sectors a great deal to focus on advanced medical research, vaccine formulation and community health.

The report said that hiring in clinical research has picked up by 10-15 percent in 2020. Most sub-sectors in this field are seeing an uptick in hiring across relevant skill sets in 2021.

As far as pay is concerned, the starting salary for an MBBS graduate stays low at Rs 3 lakh per annum with 1-5 years of work experience. But an individual has the potential to earn up to Rs 13 lakh per annum.

As one moves higher up, the pay potential is as high as Rs 80 lakh per annum for regulatory affairs roles. For MBBS professionals with 15-25 years of work experience, the pay could be as high as Rs 1 crore per annum.

Traditional sectors

Sectors like power and engineering have relatively lower salaries. The report said that skill sets which are in demand range from automation to design to product development.

The pay ranges from Rs 2.5 lakh-5 lakh per year for manufacturing roles at junior levels (1-3 years of experience) to Rs 10 lakh –Rs 40 lakh per annum for sales roles.

What will the focus be?

The report said that filling the widening skill gap will be the prevailing need among most organisations.

Thammaiah said that while reskilling existing workforce may work for some organisations, others may have to hire those skilled workforces either by contract hiring or by hiring talent that possess hot skills and are prepared.

He added that there will also be an elevated focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace. While organisations thrive on innovation brought about by a diverse work culture, studies have shown that an inclusive culture has a positive impact on productivity.

Some of these changes triggered by the pandemic, such as accelerated adoption of technology, digitisation, and work-from-anywhere model may continue even in the post-pandemic era. This, he said, is because organisations will see the benefit of these behavioural changes.?