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Bank salaries hit the roof

Senior professionals in the Indian financial services industry are on Sunday being paid close to what their counterparts in London or New York make, reports M C Vaijayanthi.

business Updated: Apr 29, 2007 18:33 IST

Senior professionals in the Indian financial services industry are on Sunday being paid close to what their counterparts in London or New York make. A boom in the stock market and frenetic mergers have taken Indian salaries to a new high.

“In 2006, India reported the highest average salary increase in the Asia-Pacific region at over 14 per cent. In some sectors senior executives’ salaries are on a par with their global peers. Premiums are being paid in sectors like banking and capital markets,” said David Hui, Senior Client Partner, Asia-Pacific Financial Services, Korn/Ferrry International.

K Sudarshan Managing Partner, EMA Partners International, says people who were earning Rs 50-60 lakh annually two years ago are now being paid Rs 1.5 crore. “India has been the fastest growing market in recruitment search and our practice has grown by 100 per cent in the last two years,” he said.

“I think compensation is a challenge at senior levels. It is a bit of challenge: India needs global fees and revenue to justify pay,” said Hui. Middle and entry salaries have not moved up as steeply, recruiters say. Compensation packages comprise mainly of performance-linked bonus; in India the ratio of salary to bonus is around 1.

Not only investment banking but sectors like real estate and private equity are luring talent with hefty salary hikes. Shortage of talent is brining back not only expatriate Indians but also foreigners who now regard an Indian experience as essential.

“Foreigners want India on their resumes. Here is where the action is,” said Deepak Gupta, India Head, Korn/Ferry International. Brooks Entwistle, MD & CEO, Goldman Sachs (India), said 150 expatriate Indians with his bank in the US want to come back.

“The market does not have people,” said Sudarshan. In his search for a chief investment officer for an asset management company in the last three months Sudarshan says he has not been able to put more than six candidates on the table.

Barclays has indicated it wants to recruit 5,000 in India. ICICI Bank added 8,000 last year and expects to add a similar number this year.