As companies seek to retain their best taken employees amid a global economic slowdown, they have hiked the pay and perks of top-level executives in India by about 70 per cent in the past four years, shows a study.
Showing a better trend in remuneration and other benefits for the top-level executives, staff salaries across the board have risen by an average of 50 per cent during the same period, as per executive search firm MANCER Consulting.
"This clearly shows that companies are interested in keeping their top level management, to strengthen strategic decision making," MANCER Consulting CEO Satya D Sinha said.
Another executive search firm Lighthouse Partners' managing partner Rajiv Burman said: "The companies have increased on the perks for top management because in these difficult, slow growth times, companies need to have the best talent, earlier in high growth times, even an average performer could deliver, this is not true any more."
As per analysts, these trends have been witnessed across sectors like banking, healthcare, FMCG and IT.
"Bharti Airtel, Britannia, Cadbury etc have all brought in CEOs at the top level with proven performance competencies, at top drawer compensation levels," Burman said.
HR services firm Randstad India marketing and president Staffing Aditya Narayan Mishra observed that companies have in fact cut the incentives for executives in support functions.
However, for senior executives handling revenue generation streams, the companies are using perks as a motivation tool to drive performance and make the team lean, rather than cutting it, he added.
The variety of benefits offered to executives include corporate sponsorships, cash bonuses, equity incentives, health benefits, holiday sponsorship, cars, among others.
Mishra noted that among the forms of perks meated out to executives while cash benefits remain the most popular "the use of the company car or jet for personal purposes, special box seats in sporting events, and support to the family while on official travel" are also offered.
"A recent trend is to even offer the services of an image building consultant and paid vacations as perks," he added.
According to online job portal ChangeYourBoss.com CEO Bhupender Mehta, the spending on employee incentives in India is more than many developed countries.
"General opinion is that India has more liberal perks than US or UK primarily from an income tax perspective," Deloitte India senior director P Thiruvengadam said.
Besides, Burman observed, the executives are increasingly asking for good joining bonus and committed severance package.
"Also seeing the massive talent crunch now C-Suite executives have their own bidding demands to stay with the company," he added.