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This article was first published 13 years ago

B-School watch: Expect higher salaries in 2011

Last updated on: January 10, 2011 15:10 IST

Image: With the recession far behind us, salaries are expected to get better this year
Urmila Rao

Pay packages are expected to rise across verticals finds out Urmila Rao

It was May 2010 and Mukul Sharda, 28, a marketing and finance major at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, was getting tad anxious.

Recruitments were on and he wanted to bag a job catering to the Internet-based business, preferably with a start-up firm.

And unlike many freshers, this former employee of global retail company Benetton was clear about his job quest. But would a start-up visit the B-School given the constrained market conditions?

"Most organisations had put their growth plans on hold," recalls Munish Bhargava, corporate and placement advisor, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi.

According to most MBA graduates the job profiles being offered weren't good enough, roles assigned were ambiguous and the salaries, were compromised and not competitive.

The first quarter of 2009 had failed to bring any cheer in the bruised employment market. "The signs looked ominous for the recruitment season," corroborates Bhargava. But the good news is that in 2011, a robust hiring is predicted.

Who is hiring

"Companies are back to hiring," says Himanshu Aggarwal, co-founder and director, Aspiring Minds, an assessments recruitment firm.

KPIT Cummins plans to hire approximately 1,200 candidates in the financial year 2011. "Some 700 have already come on board and the remaining will join towards the end of the fourth quarter," says Sumedha Nashikkar, head, HR, KPIT Cummins Infosystems.

Corbus, an outsourcing company, plans to increase their head count by 50 per cent in 2011.

At Deloitte, hiring has increased "twice over," according to Dhanajay Bansod, Chief People Officer.

Many new recruiters like the UB Group, Virgin, Royal Bank of Scotland, Keane India, Deloitte and Mindtree came to B-School MDI, besides regulars like Procter & Gamble, Bharti Airtel and Goldman Sachs. Clearly, hiring is back on track.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

Salary forecast for 2011

Image: According to experts those with domain-specific knowledge will be making the big bucks

Demand in market research verticals has swelled. "Mott MacDonald, AC Neilson and Quintiles Transnational have all shown interest in hiring for research roles,' says Paragi Shah, Faculty-Placement, Amrut Mody School of Management.

In addition, pharmacy and healthcare companies are recruiting in large numbers for their market research divisions. 

Banks have been consistent in hiring especially in sales division. "But the hiring was not as much to scale up as to sustain core business activities," adds Aggarwal.

The financial services sector, especially banks, will continue to hire across all functional areas.

The retail sector will grow and opportunities in operations and management will open up, including first level managerial positions such as store managers and department heads.

"There will also be an increased employment opportunity in corporate sales," predicts Aggarwal. "The FMCG sector will be better this year as compared to last," he adds. Green sector companies will also see traction.

Domain knowledge, the edge

Those with domain-specific knowledge will be sought after. "In addition to sales our other key focus area will be people with domain specialisation," substantiates Nashikkar.

"People with manufacturing industry experience have been brought in to strengthen high-end consulting capabilities," she adds. Similarly, companies like Castrol, Shell, ONGC, Tata Motors among others use green technology and those with domain knowledge will be preferred there.

At ISB, 15 percent of placement took place for technological roles, just trailing sales/marketing, that stood at 17 per cent and consulting roles, which rested at 31 percent respectively. According to Manpower's December 2010 Employment Report, job seekers in the services and manufacturing sector can look for 'the most vigorous hiring pace in the next three months.'

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

Companies cherry-picking

Image: Some students from high flying MBA schools signed smart deals where salaries became incidental

Procuring quality manpower has always been a challenge for organisations. So they lose no time in getting on board students who possess fundamental qualities such as positive attitude, good communication and strong analytical skills.

"We also look for flexibility where a candidate can take responsibility for cross functional roles and is self-motivated," states Nashikkar.

Besides evaluating core qualities, year round academic and extra-curricular performance is also seriously considered by organisations.

So, it's a good idea to choose a B-School that hones your skills sets and brings forth your qualities. In fact, many good companies only enlist those colleges that offer a certain calibre of talent.

"At Corbus, institutes are shortlisted on basis of its ranking, credibility, placement trend and curriculum," says Rishi Kapoor, manager, Talent Acquisition & Development, Corbus. Translated, the determining factor becomes the quality of students produced by a B-school.

Bagging the offer

So did Sharda get his desired offer? He did. After rejecting two plush job offers, one from an established textile company and another from a start-up, he finally settled for FashionandYou, an online luxury retail portal, again a budding company.

Why chose one start-up over the other? "My firm belief in the latter's business model," he says.

Besides, the other trade-offs were tempting. "A versatile profile, getting to work with a young boss capable of responding well to new ideas."

Sharda didn't mind settling for 40 per cent less salary compared to his last pay packet. His ISB peers too clinched smart deals where salaries became incidental. It was a good pact that resulted out of recession they feel.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

Salaries will get sunnier

Image: Salaries that were more or less flat in last the last few years promise to shoot up this year

The coming year promises better wages. The salaries that were more or less flat in last the last two to three years, witnessed a moderate increase in 2010.

A rise of approximately 10-12 per cent over the current average is predicted in 2011. Mercer, a Human Resource Consultancy firm, forecasts a pay rise of 11 percent, in its October 2010 report.

At middle-tier college where a student paid a fee of Rs 2 or 3 lakh, settled for Rs 1.5 lakh Rs 2 lakh pa in 2008-09.

In 2010, that rose to Rs 2.5 lakh pa.

At a top tier college like ISB where the fee was Rs 17 lakh in 2009, the median salary floated at Rs 14 lakh per annum during recessionary times, but scaled to Rs 16 lakh in late 2010.

At MDI, the 2010 average salary was Rs 10.43 lakh pa, as opposed to Rs 9.76 pa in 2009. After paying off his loan instalments and fulfilling running financial obligations, Mukul Sharda, the 2010 ISB graduate is happy with what he is left with.

Now that is called a class act!

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

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