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Press Release

India to see higher salaries at 9.3% increase in 2022, up from 8% in 2021, Willis Towers Watson Survey finds

Compensation Strategy & Design|Talent|Total Rewards
Beyond Data

October 20, 2021

The report is designed to provide companies with guidance for their annual salary forecasting for 2022.

India’s projected salary increase is highest in Asia Pacific for next year as optimism returns over improved business outlook in the next 12 months.

NEW DELHI, October 20, 2021 — Pay rises are making a comeback. Companies in India plan to give employees larger rises in 2022 as they recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic and face mounting challenges attracting and retaining employees. Salaries are projected to see a median salary increase of 9.3% next year (translating to an average salary increase of 8.8%) as compared to the actual median salary increase of 8% (average salary increase of 7.4%) in 2021, according to the latest Salary Budget Planning Report by Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company.

The report looks at a range of job grades across various industry sectors and is designed to provide companies with guidance for their annual salary forecasting for the year ahead.

Projected and actual salary increase in India (median)

India's projected salary increase is the highest in Asia Pacific region at 9.3%.
Year Projected salary increases Actual salary increases
2022 9.3% -
2021 7.0% 8.0%
2020 10.0% 7.5%
2019 10.0% 9.9%
2018 10.0% 10.0%

As a large emerging market, India continues to project the highest salary increase for 2021 in the Asia Pacific region. Sri Lanka is projected to see an increase of 5.5%, China at 6.0%, Indonesia at 6.9%, and Singapore at 3.9%.

2021 Q3 Asia Pacific: Media salary increase budget

Economic outlook, hiring and attrition rates

Pointing towards a much-anticipated economic recovery, a majority (52.2%) of companies in India have projected a positive business revenue outlook for the next 12 months, up from 37% in Q4-2020. This translates in increased hiring across businesses with 30% of companies planning to hire in the next 12 months. This is almost three times more than last year.

Increased business optimism is clearly translating into higher salary budgets and increased hiring activity.”

Rajul Mathur
Consulting Leader India, Talent and Rewards, Willis Towers Watson

The survey also shows that a large part of hiring across sectors is likely to happen within critical functions such as engineering (57.5%), information technology (53.4%), technically skilled trades (34.2%), sales (37%) and finance (11.6%), and these jobs will command a high salary.

In addition, attrition rates in India, both voluntary and involuntary have been lower as compared to other countries in the region. The voluntary attrition rate was 8.9% and involuntary attrition rate was 3.3%.

Asia Pacific attrition rates

Commenting on the findings, Rajul Mathur, Consulting Leader India, Talent and Rewards, Willis Towers Watson said, “Increased business optimism is clearly translating into higher salary budgets and increased hiring activity. The pandemic was a watershed moment in the way organisations plan their people spend. While talent attraction and retention remain a challenge, the core employee value proposition will now need to go beyond just competitive salaries, and increasingly focus on a wider range of benefits, wellness, upskilling and the overall employee experience. This trend is likely to reshape the people spend and total rewards philosophy in India going forward”.

Sectoral trends in India

The high-tech sector is expected to see the highest salary increase at 9.9% in 2022, followed by the consumer products and retail sector at 9.5%, and manufacturing at 9.30%. In terms of proportionate increase over last year, the high-tech sector again tops with a projection of almost 1.9% increase from 2021.

“Covid-19 accelerated the digitalisation process across industries including automation and artificial intelligence. These developments, along with the high-tech sector’s early adoption of the remote working model has positively impacted the sector’s salary projections. The manufacturing and retail sectors saw rising demand driven by the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and a positive outlook of order inflows and consumer sentiment” Mathur added.

On the other hand, the energy sector received amongst the lowest actual salary increase in 2021 at 7.7%. The projected salary of the energy sector in 2022 is also the lowest at 7.9%. Mathur explained, “A combination of the prevailing macro-economic environment, typical business cycle and the lingering business impact from the pandemic have adversely affected the energy sector the most. That said, the salary increments for the renewable sector can be expected to be comparatively higher as India moves towards clean energy.”

Industry-wise budgeted salary increases trends

Skills premium and variable pay

Employees can also expect a higher average variable pay at 15.7% this year for the 2020 performance year. In terms of employee segments, the middle management, professionals and support staff category gained the most proportionate increase on variable pay from 11.6% last year to 22.2% this year. Payout at the Executive level is expected to marginally increase to 27.9% from the actual increase of 26% last year.

Variable payout

For top performers, the average salary increment budget allocation is 22.1%, whereas for average performers it stands at 43%. “With low salary increments last year, organisations have leaned towards a broader distribution of variable pay across employee segments by role, seniority and performance levels this year” added Mathur.

Salary Increment Budget Allocation by Performance Rating

About the survey

The Salary Budget Planning Report is compiled by Willis Towers Watson’s Data Services Practice. The bi-annual survey was conducted online between May and June 2021. A total of 1,405 companies representing a cross section of industries from 13 markets in Asia Pacific participated in the survey. From India the survey had 435 participating companies. The report summarises the findings of Willis Towers Watson’s survey on salary movement. The purpose of this report is to help companies with their compensation planning for 2022.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimise benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.

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