Mid-level executives at ecommerce companies are earning nearly as much as senior staffers at older technology companies.
Difference in salaries of mid-level talent at ecommerce firms and senior executives of IT services firms has narrowed at the top end, shows a new study, which has prompted a scramble among technology company employees to upgrade to skills sought-after at online retailers.
Industry experts, however, rule out a mass migration from the services sector immediately - even if ecommerce companies are emerging as bigger pay masters - mainly because of the advanced skillsets in demand at the new firms. "The kind of people ecommerce (firms) are looking for are not easily available in the servicebased IT sector," said Alka Dhingra, regional manager at hiring firm TeamLease Services, which conducted the study. "They are looking for people mostly from product-based companies, and are willing to pay more for people working on new technology and tools because these people are scarce resources."
Vice presidents and chief marketing officers with 18-20 years' experience at IT service companies such as Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys are paid Rs. 70 lakh to Rs. 1.5 crore a year, and mid-level executives such as project managers Rs. 15-25 lakh a year, according to TeamLease data.
At ecommerce companies such as Snapdeal and ShopClues, the annual compensation for senior executives reaches Rs. 1.5-3 crore, while midlevel employees with eight to 14 years' experience can earn Rs. 50 lakh to Rs. 1.5 crore a year.
The pay scales have leaped since 2013, when senior executives at IT companies earned Rs. 55-75 lakh a year and middle-level employees at ecommerce companies got Rs. 35 lakh toRs. 50 lakh.
"This trend is more pronounced for coveted positions within the ecommerce companies," said a spokesperson for software industry body Nasscom. "Right now the IT companies are not very stressed on this trend because they have optimised their models."
Indeed, the skillsets commanding high salaries at ecommerce companies are relatively new - analytics, big data, data structuring, Python programming language, DevOps, Hadoop, user interface and mobility. Many of these are increasingly becoming important in the traditional IT services sector as well.
"Ecommerce companies have very small core teams, and the kind of people they need are very different from the IT services companies," said Anuraag Gupta, chief executive officer of staffing company Magna Infotech. "They would not in the long run create an army of coders, testers, etc., and may eventually outsource work to the IT service sector, keeping the core technology team small."
TeamLease's Dhingra differs. "The narrowing salary difference is causing discontent in the traditional IT people. Those who are ambitious are trying to update themselves in latest technologies to keep pace with the industry and rest are surviving on traditional salaries and low opportunities in the market," she said.
One reason why ecommerce companies are willing to pay high salaries is their fast pace of growth.
India's digital commerce market is expected to grow 33% this year to about Rs. 1 lakh crore, up from Rs. 81,525 crore at the end of December, according to industry body Internet & Mobile Association of India.
IT services firms, on the other hand, have matured over the years and the industry is expected to grow at 12-14% this year, according to Nasscom.
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