India Inc Plans 6% Hike In Executives' Pay

Business performance for CEOs in India becomes more relevant as companies move away from basic stock options

India Inc Plans 6% Hike In Executives' Pay
India Inc Plans 6% Hike In Executives' Pay
Vishav - 14 April 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t impacted the salaries of higher-end executives as much as the 2008-2009 Global Financial Crisis did, and they may see a 6 per cent increase in salary this year, a survey revealed.

The 10th Annual Executive Reward Survey, conducted by Aon – a global professional services firm – also revealed that the average CEO compensation in India ranges from Rs 15 crores for Owner-Promoter CEOs to Rs 3.63 crore at Indian private companies. This is excluding the long-term incentives (LTI) like stock options and others.

“The sum of variable pay and LTI as a percentage of total compensation is 52 per cent of CEOs in India compared to 87 per cent for CEOs in the US,” the study said.

“At 6 per cent, the 2021 projected salary increase for senior executives is down by 1.4 per cent from 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic had less of an impact than the 2008-2009 Global Financial Crisis, when projected salary increases for senior executives dropped by almost 5 per cent,” Nitin Sethi, partner and CEO of Aon’s performance and rewards business in India, commented.

Ray Everett, CEO of Aon’s Human Capital and Rewards Solutions across Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, said that executive pay practices in India are catching-up with those of US and European companies. “Over half of total compensation for CEOs in India today is linked with business performance. Performance shares and restricted stock options are becoming more prevalent, as more companies are moving away from basic stock options.”

Apart from CEOs, the highest-paid executives in 2020-2021 are the chief operating officer and chief financial officer, followed by the sales head and chief human resources officer. The head of legal and head of IT are among the lowest-paid executives. Strategy and finance continue to be the top remunerative functions for executives. The survey data also shows that financial institutions and the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sectors continue to lead in India on executive pay.