2014 started on a somber note amidst the backdrop of impending general elections. The business and the markets adopted a cautionary approach in the first quarter and they were not eager to open the purse strings for new hires or dole out pay raises. Whist the general sentiment was looking forward and convinced that Modi would be in power, they waited till it was announced. Wait and watch policy kept the hiring market subdued in the first quarter of 2014, thereby limiting the increments and bonuses, which were rolled out in April 2014. The only exception was the Startups market, which saw hordes of dollars flowing in, the sector continued offering larger than usual pay raises and kept the job market warm. Lets look at how some of the key sectors behaved in 2014 and what’s the outlook for 2015?

Auto & Auto Components:

The industry continued to flatter even after the excise duty cut in early 2014, with passenger car, medium and heavy commercial vehicle segments contracting by 0.8 and 6.5 % till October as compared to 2013, the light commercial vehicle was worse off, it contracted by a massive 18 % this year as per Frost & Sullivan. The saving grace was the two-wheeler segment, which registered around 13 percent growth between January and October ‘14. In the last few months the sentiment has picked up and market prospects are looking brighter for 2015, the salary increments will be in single digits, on an average. Stay put and polish your resume, as new jobs are on the way in the second half of 2015, it looks likes the sector will break out of the five-year downturn.

Banking Industry:

Moody’s Investors Service says that its outlook on India’s banking system is negative, reason being that high leverage in the corporate sector could prevent any meaningful recovery in asset quality over the next 12-18 months. Private sector banks have relatively cleaner books and they would be the first to take benefit of the economic rebound. It seems that Modi government would give banking industry an extra impetus in 2015 by deregulating in bits and pieces, if this happens long-term capital would come in the industry fueling new hiring and above average industry increments. As on date sit tight and polish your skills especially around customer acquisition, relationship management and compliance’s . Better prospects should start coming in by the third quarter of 2015. The increment for this year would hover around single digits with a handful touching two digits.

Financial Services & Insurance:

With Stock market going through the roof in 2014 and veterans like Rakesh Jhunjhunwala saying “India will achieve double digit growth in 3-4 years ”, wealth management and private equity business would be hiring like crazy with a hefty pay cheque. Recently through an ordinance, government has enhanced FDI limit to 49% in the Insurance industry, a lot of activity and capital is slated to flow in by the mid of next year, once Indian Parliament ratifies this. Insurance sector is poised to see gold showers after many years of drought.  If you are in this sector ,polish your resume, meet your client’s and get ready to jump in 2015, the average increments would be in the range of 10%  – 15% on an average.

IT & IT Enabled Services:

IT-BPM sector continues to be one of the largest employers in the country directly employing nearly 3 million professionals and adding over 160,000 employees in 2014 as per a Nasscom report. The ecosystem has about 15,000 players with top 11 having 40% of the revenue slice. The way ahead is challenging with startups attracting bulk of PE investments & challenging existing players. “ There is very high demand for talent in domains like – Analytics, Data Architecture, Data Design, Business Intelligence, Statistical Analysis, R, Python & Hadoop. We are seeing in slow down in talent streams like Software Support, Project Management & Program Management , salary increments will range from 8 to 20 % depending upon the performance grid, says Kuldeep Singh, Senior HR Director at UST Technologies.

The IT world is getting polarized between sales and programming roles and intermediary roles like that of Program, Project Managers  & quality checkers are increasingly coming under the scalpel due to advent of self managing teams and software monitoring. For the BPO / BPM ,the existing model of headcount revenue generation is becoming irrelevant , companies are looking beyond the metros for the talent pool to control costs, thus the pay raises would continue to be muted and hover in single digits. If you work in the BPM segment, look for moving to other sunrise sectors in 2015 for a double-digit increment and better future prospects, you would need to pick up new skills.

Pharmaceutical, Life Sciences & Health Care:

The health care sector is growing at a 15% (CAGR) is expected to move from 90 to US$ 158.2 billion by 2017, according to a report by Equentis Capital. As per IBEF, technology will play a major role in bringing quality in healthcare, be it better nursing communication systems, patient monitoring devices or telemedicine to provide low-cost diagnosis to remote patients. The future of healthcare is limitless, if you are in this sector invest in your skills and make hay while the sun shines, don’t plan to move to other industries. This is one of the best industries to be in today and is giving out double-digit increment, ranging from 10- 20%.

Retail:

The Indian retail market is entering a period of unprecedented change as online activity escalates and bricks and-mortar retailers find it difficult to compete with upcoming e e-commerce marketplaces. E-commerce retail will reach $6 billion in 2015, a 70 percent increase over 2014 revenue of $3.5 billion according to a report by Gartner Inc. Globally brick and mortar retailers are getting decimated by the likes of Amazon and Alibaba, India may follow the same path. It may be a good idea to move sectors, as increasingly consumers don’t prefer going to store as much as before. If are working for a company, which is only in brick and mortar retail, don’t look for fancy pay raises as they would continue to struggle on margins, laced with high real estate rentals. The pay raise in this sector would continue to be muted and hover in single digits, if you are lucky.

Real Estate & Construction:

The total construction market in India for FY2014 was US$157 billion, an increase of US$4 billion over FY2013. Infrastructure accounted for 49 percent, housing and real estate 42 percent and industrial projects 9 percent, says a report from PWC. According to PWC, India will see increased economic growth, and the removal of barriers to FDI will ‘spur demand for construction’ over the coming 12 – 18 months.  Real estate firms have started scouting for talent; though the planned increments will be in single digit for 2014. Real estate players are waiting for sentiment and policies to translate into demand. Polish your resume and get ready for a new job, as new demand will spur job growth in this segment next year. Don’t jump for salary alone in this segment, do a through due diligence before joining a real estate firm as the segment has many fly by night operators due to the absence of a Real Estate Regulator.

India Inc has big plans for 2015 when it comes to hiring people and doling out pay hikes, all surveys are pointing in that direction. The million dollar question is that whether you will be able to cash in on the boom or miss the bus, remember  persistence and your functional skills are the two tools that will make you outshine other contenders.

Thanks
Jappreet Sethi
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