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Pay hikes: Indians top Asian list

India Inc has topped among its Asian counterparts when it comes to doling out highest salary hikes to its finance executives. Read on...
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 08, 2008 04:50 PM IST

India Inc has topped among its Asian counterparts when it comes to the monetary measures taken for retaining the right talent while doling out highest salary hikes to its finance executives across the region.

According to the CFO Asia magazine's latest compensation survey Chief Financial Officers and other finance executives, CFOs as well as the second-tier finance executives in India got the highest pay hikes in Asia in 2007, while beating out those in places like Singapore, Hong Kong and China.

While CFOs in India got a hike of 25 per cent in their salaries last year, that for financial controllers, treasurers and other second-tier finance executives rose by 28 per cent in the country.

This compared with 14 per cent hike in China, 11 per cent in Hong Kong, 14 per cent in Indonesia, 19 per cent in Malaysia, 10 per cent in Singapore and an Asia average of 16 per cent for CFOs.

For controllers, the second highest hike after India was seen in China at 13 per cent, followed by 12 per cent in Malaysia, 11 per cent in Indonesia, nine per cent in Singapore and five per cent in Hong Kong, resulting into an Asia average of 15 per cent.

In terms of actual base salary, the CFOs in India were paid an average of 92,206 dollars, third highest after Hong Kong and Singapore, but higher than the Asia average of 59,846 dollars.

The average CFO salary in China was less than half of India at 41,990 dollars. For second-tier finance jobs, the average salary in India stood at 39,888 dollars -- fifth highest after Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The magazine said that talent crunch is unlikely to ease despite the threat of a US recession as many economist believed it might only cause a slowdown in Asia, rather than an "outright contraction." It quoted HR consultancy major Hewitt Associates' Nishchae Suri as saying salaries would still go up in 2008, although marginally.

The average CFO salary in Hong Kong, the top paymaster, stood at 169,460 dollar, followed by 106,518 dollars in Singapore. According to CFO Asia, a leading finance magazine published by the Economist group, the wage inflation in India is being pushed higher by the business service companies, which are desperate to hire the best young talent.

The magazine quoted executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles' principal in India Avdesh Mittal as saying growth in India was happening across industry sectors "and that means that there is a higher demand for professionals across industries and across functions, not just finance."

The market supply side is starting to respond to the surging demand and in most places local universities are producing a steady steam of accounting graduates. But the spurt of economic growth across the region has been so strong that demand is still outstripping supply, the report said.

Interestingly, 28 per cent of CFOs were promoted last year, while 22 per cent of them switched jobs. However, only five per cent of CFOs in Hong Kong got promotions last year and 20 per cent of them changed jobs. Singapore executives got the highest number of promotions with 35 per cent of them getting elevated in 2007.

Financial executives in the country also received the third highest bonus awards among the Asian region of an average 24,695 dollars in the past year. Hong Kong executives received the highest bonus of 52,571 dollar and in Singapore it was 47,449 dollar in the reviewed year.

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