Come March, and every office worth its valuable and voluble employees are enveloped in a constant low-intensity buzz. No prizes for guessing the content of this excited chatter and lively exchanges. It often starts with a coffee in hand and between puffs (for some) with a loaded question: any news? Well, by that the information-seeker does not want on the government’s budget promises, the stock market’s mood swings or the increasing levels of corruption. In March, ‘the news’ is a code for information on two other comforting words — salary hike.
According to global human resources firm Aon Hewitt’s Salary Increase Survey (isn’t there a nice ring to it?), in 2011 India Inc employees across all levels will get an average hike between 12%-15% and chances are that, employers and the economy willing, the goodies will continue to flow like this for the next five years. Around 531 organisations were surveyed for the report. In 2009, the increase forecast was a terribly sad 6.3% thanks to a beast called inflation and 2010, it was happier at 11.7%. While most would be moderately elated with the survey findings and rush to fine-tune the checklist of things to buy in the coming quarter, here’s some advice: don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
Even at the risk of sounding like the world’s biggest group of pessimists, we editorial writers would advice utmost caution when you open that envelope carrying the ‘Letter’. Don’t rush through it, read the lines carefully and if possible, between the lines too, before you race to the next page and start counting the zeros. There’s another reason not to have that satisfied smile on your face: have you ever seen any survey that matches the projections with the actual hikes? We will sign off now with another piece of advice: seeing is believing — and only in cash.