Pay hikes in India may go back to pre-Covid levels

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pay hike, great resignation, attrition, tech attrition, india

Spurred by the great resignation wave, India Inc is moving to normalise salary increments to pre-Covid levels with average increments projected at 9.4% for 2022 against an actual average raise of 8.4% in 2021, according to the latest Korn Ferry India annual rewards survey.

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Plus, companies are upbeat about the economy and consumer confidence as most see Covid-19 as being unlikely to have an impact on the business cycle this year. For the current financial year, business has recovered from the pandemic and come out strongly, resulting in healthy financial and operational performance, said Vedanta group chief human resources officer (CHRO) Madhu Srivastava.

“While we are currently deliberating on the overall budgets for increment which will largely depend on business performance, industry metrics and benchmarking trend, the level of increment that we are targeting this year will be better than last year,” Srivastava said.

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Panasonic India is betting on better hikes than last year. “Covid is unlikely to impact the business cycle this year,” said CHRO Adarsh Mishra. “Business is happening as usual and we are gearing up for the air conditioner season.”

Bid to Retain Talent

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“Business is picking up very fast. Japan is showing confidence and there is a lot of positivity in the team,” said Mishra.

In FY21, the company had deferred hikes by about two months and gave raises of around 6% on average. In FY20, it did not give increments, though the company ensured there were no layoffs. “This year, average hikes are likely to be in the region of 10%. In 2019, we paid out average hikes of 9%. Variable pay will also be more than last year,” Mishra said.

pay hike, great resignation, attrition, tech attrition, india

Edtech player Simplilearn is also offering higher increments. “Our average hike this year will be better than the last, and we expect it to be in double digits,” said Krishna Kumar, founder and CEO, Simplilearn.

High Attrition in Tech Sector

According to Korn Ferry data, 40% of employees are currently actively looking for jobs. The imminent exodus of employees, coupled with the high attrition in some sectors like technology in 2021, is pushing companies to offer aggressive salary increments, hefty retention bonuses, and perks. “The reasons behind the great resignation – or the Great Reshuffle as we now call it – have become more and more personal. Employees value flexibility over rigidity, work-life integration over burnout, exciting and challenging work over predictability, and a bigger sense of purpose,” said Navnit Singh, chairman and regional managing director of India for Korn Ferry.

This has shifted the way organisations are trying to retain their most critical talent.

Companies are now offering customised and carefully-crafted career trajectories for key talent, fast-track growth, greater flexibility, hefty retention bonuses, ease of liquidation opportunities of Esops/long-term incentives, attractive financial and wellness benefits, Singh added.

Variable Pay

In the salary survey, of the 786 companies, 78% plan to give variable pay to employees as per their budget, compared with 65% last year. Among sectors, technology and consumer have moved into double-digit average salary hikes at 10.5% and 10.1%, respectively, said the survey. The life sciences sector continues last year’s robust salary increments with an average salary increment of 9.5% this year. The survey also projects the services, auto and chemicals sectors handing out 9% increments to employees.

With work from home and hybrid workplaces becoming the norm, companies have tweaked salary structures to reflect new-age perks.

About 46% of the companies surveyed are offering wellness benefits, 43% are providing home office allowances and 60% are handing out allowances to cover monthly wifi and utility bills as part of the salary structure. About 10% of companies plan to reduce or scrap travel allowance.

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