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Home > Business > Business Headline > Report

Company secretaries' pay skyrockets

Rayana Pandey in New Delhi | December 07, 2007 09:41 IST

The last round of placements at the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) in Delhi and Mumbai, this year, saw financial bigwigs like the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange and top notch companies recruit students at an average pay package of Rs 4-4.5 lakh per annum, with the highest package hovering around Rs 7 lakh.

This is a 100 per cent increase from the recruitment three years back when the pay package averaged Rs 1.5-2 lakh per annum. As compared to last year's recruitment when the pay packages averaged Rs 2-2.5 lakh, the increase is around 60 per cent.

This marks a new phase in the profession of company secretaries, the key executives in a company responsible for legal and regulatory compliance, as only three years back, a CS was hired to work in the lower rungs of the organisation drawing a remuneration of Rs 1.5-2 lakh a year.

Experts say this is a fallout of Indian industry's awakening to global standards.

"The way the country's capital markets have moved in the last few years and the number of companies increased, it has raised the need of numerous regulatory and legal compliance. This has created a need of a compliance officer or a CS. Thus if opportunities rise at such a pace, remuneration is bound to go up," says Sangeeta Singh, executive director, KPMG.

Singh further adds that mandating a CS for companies has also contributed to the growth of the profession. Under the current norms, any company with a paid up share capital of Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million) or more has to employ a CS whole time.

According to Preeti Malhotra, president, ICSI, "Opportunities for lucrative public practice have reduced the supply of company secretaries for corporate jobs. Thus, the competition for getting a better CS for work in companies has increased, pushing up the pay packages."

"In fact, a CS who is a dab hand at his work, with an experience of three to four years, is able to draw between Rs 9 lakh and Rs 13 lakh per annum," says Malhotra.

Increase in students' registration at the ICSI indicate the surge in the profession. The number of students has increased by 40 per cent, from 90,000 two years ago to 125,000 currently.

With pay packages sky rocketing and due emphasis on presentation, strategic management and other life skills, the ICSI claims that company secretaries have become comparable to MBAs, which was quite a contrast five years ago.

"With confidence levels that have surged vis-a-vis MBAs due to better conversance with stock markets, treasury management, joint ventures, mergers and takeovers, company secretaries are now regarded as best corporate professionals at par with any other that serve the corporate sector," Malhotra says.

However, the boom in secretarial services is not a stand-alone case of rising remuneration. The September placements at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India too saw average salaries of chartered accountants shoot up to almost Rs 6 lakh per annum.

This, also, is a huge jump from the last round of placements in February-March this year, when the average package was around Rs 4.79 lakh.


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