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Sales, legal, tech: Sectors where Covid positively impacted salaries

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(This story originally appeared in on Jan 01, 2021)

MUMBAI: Covid has shaped salary trends in a positive way for several sectors. These include internet & e-commerce, BFSI (banking, financial services & insurance), transportation & logistics and energy & utilities, as well as functions like legal & compliance and marketing. Additionally, these are expected to have a good run in 2021 as well.

According to a study by Randstad India, a leading firm in the HR services industry, marketing has emerged as one of the top five highest-paying functions at the senior level where the average salary is about Rs 34 lakh.

In the wake of Covid, customer’s wants, needs, expectations and purchasing decisions are constantly evolving and marketing has come to play an important role. In particular, digital marketing has received a fresh impetus with all businesses – be it small, medium or large – turning towards or planning to adopt virtual modes of operation and stepping away from outdoor marketing.

Randstad India MD and CEO Paul Dupuis believes that crisis brings opportunities “to re-imagine the world of work, pivot, showcase agility and resilience towards new ways of working and plan for the day after tomorrow”. Dupuis said, after the initial setback during the first half of the year, the Indian job market is rebounding and showing positive signs of recovery across all industries. This positivity is expected to seep well into 2021 as well.

With organisations having to navigate new compliance challenges resulting from Covid, legal has emerged as a lucrative start for freshers. In fact, legal & compliance offers competitive salaries (about Rs 5.3 lakh on an average), which is 22% higher than in 2019. Nishith Desai Associates recently announced a reworked compensation structure for its lawyers, which increases the annual compensation for entry level lawyers to around Rs 17 lakh as compared to Rs 15 lakh earlier.

The firm’s founder Nishith Desai said, “Legal & compliance work has increased exponentially worldwide and, given the fact that consequences of non-compliance has skyrocketed, it provides lucrative opportunities for entry level lawyers. But more opportunities would be outside the law firms, at in-house legal departments and technology companies that are developing AI-based compliance programs. So, it is advisable for fresh lawyers to obtain education on technology and for techies to obtain law degrees. It’s an age of multidisciplinary careers.”

Among sectors, those catering to mass demand and essential services such as transport and logistics and energy and utilities have emerged among the top five largest pay masters for senior levels with an average CTC of Rs 28-30 lakh. “Niche expertise in these sectors makes professionals highly valuable,” said Dupuis.

In addition, the impact of faster digital adoption pushed by Covid and the expanded scope and penetration of e-commerce as an industry also reflects in the top-paying industries. On the other hand, BFSI has moved up the ladder and has emerged as one of the top paying sectors this year at the junior and mid levels, paying an average salary of nearly Rs 5 lakh and almost Rs 14 lakh, respectively.

“Internet & e-commerce is among the top five industries paying the most competitive salaries across all job hierarchies. With the rapid growth and expansion of the BFSI sector towards a more digitalised and tech-driven infrastructure, this sector has also come up in the top five list of highest paying industries for junior and mid -level professionals. BFSI sector has undoubtedly benefited from the pandemic as anticipation of salary cuts and job losses have also increased the demand for savings and investment services,” said Dupuis.

Moreover, as companies across functions seek to reduce costs and improve efficiencies, independent contractors and consulting firms play a critical role. Professional services are the largest pay masters for mid-level managers, paying an average CTC of Rs 17.4 lakh, which is 17% more on an average than their counterparts in other top paying industries.

The ever increasing demand for subject matter expertise is being reflected in the salaries shelled out to strategy & consulting professionals. This has emerged as one of the top paying functions at all levels of experience. While the average salaries at the junior level (Rs 6.7 lakh) continues to hover around the same range as last year, there has been a 14-20% increase in salaries of mid (Rs 18.4 lakh) and senior (Rs 33.6 lakh) professionals in strategy and consulting vis-a-vis the previous year.

The study is based on Randstad’s internal data on recruitment, covering eight cities, eight industries and over 1 lakh jobs.

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