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The careers that pay

If you want a fat pay cheque or higher salary, specialise in a particular field of work

Yogini Joglekar & Priya Nair  |  Mumbai 

"Whenever it is possible, a boy should choose some occupation which he should do even if he does not need money," said William Lyon Phelps, an American author and scholar.

However, few will agree with this today because the cost of education is increasing manifold. And, there is no denying that money is a big motivator for employees. Therefore, it is not surprising that job seekers use salary or pay as a benchmark before picking and applying for jobs.

Jobiness, a job portal, says a number of IAS officers have left their jobs for higher pay scales in the private sector. "Right now, salary scale is the biggest motivator driving the youth in India," adds the portal.

After salary, job stability is the next most important parameter to look for. Recently, a media report stated mutual fund managers were preferring job security over fat pay cheques. So, which are some of the best paying jobs in India?

E Balaji, managing director and chief executive officer of Randstad India, says professions like investment banking, technicians, analytics, social media specialist, and mobile technology are currently the top-paying jobs.

"The roles offer good potential to learn and grow. Nascent fields like analytics and social media specialist help candidates set a strong foundation for growth in future," adds Balaji. If you switch to any of these professions, you can expect a premium or a pay rise in the range of 30 to 40 per cent on an average, say experts. If the job-change is at a mid or senior level position, then the increase can be as high as 60-70 per cent.


Profile: A technician's job is the most preferred and popular job among this category. Factory floor workers and technicians for automobile and manufacturing units are in demand. Additionally, one doesn't require experience before applying for this job.

Qualification Required: While not every person can be a B-school passout or a double graduate, there are good paying jobs for diploma and HSC pass candidates, too. Experts say women candidates, too, prefer these jobs. Reason: Some women have to leave their education half way, but can still find a job here, as the qualification requirements are not tall.

Why it is in demand: Many automobile and manufacturing companies, especially multinational companies, are recruiting women for their manufacturing units. In addition, some of these companies are expanding their manufacturing capacity, which automatically creates more demand in this sector.

Salaries: A senior level ITI (industrial training institute)/diploma technician can expect around Rs 5 lakh annually.

"Of the roles mentioned above, ITI technicians witness maximum attrition. This is because the rate of growth for ITI technicians is slower when compared to other roles. Hence, there is an inclination to shift jobs to grow faster," adds Balaji of Randstad India. It is observed that candidates monitor their growth path for two years on an average, and switch jobs accordingly.

Profile: Analytics goes beyond analysing data and the primary goal here is to take business decisions based on data. Job profiles such as actuarial in insurance and fraud detection, which are part of analytics, are in demand. Here, one needs to understand the gaps in the business and use this knowledge as a guide to derive insights and make necessary recommendations to the company.

Qualification Required: Graduation in arts - any specialisation such as economics, statistics - or a bachelors in science or a postgraduation in statistics. Graduates in mathematics, statistics or economics are also preferred.

Why it is in demand: Within this broad definition, actuaries in insurance and managers from the e-commerce or online sectors are in demand as of now. The online sector is growing at 35 per cent annually due to more number of start-ups across segments such as travel, auction, fashion, lifestyle and home needs. Middle management professionals are attracted as it provides exposure to modern retailing and competitive compensation.

Salaries: A candidate at the entry level on an average can draw around Rs 5 lakh a year, whereas a mid-level candidate gets around Rs 9-12 lakh annually. The sector is much sought and the jobs offer salaries up to 50 per cent higher than, say, a software engineering job. Engineering graduates are preferred because of their problem solving skills.

Profile: Any job related to the mobile technology platform is hot. These can be jobs to do with mobile architecture or development of apps or other value-added services.

Qualification required: Both hardware and software skills are required. While there are no specific courses, there is software one can learn, such as MySQL, the back-end for database programming, or PHP, a programming language. "It's possible that in one or two years, colleges could offer courses and programmes catering to those interested in such jobs," says V Suresh, executive vice-president and national head, sales,

Java will also help those interested in learning how to develop apps. However, having a technical background will help in such jobs. But creativity also helps. For instance, if you are in the construction industry and have an interest in vastu, you can create an app that will allow people to know the right kind of vastu for their homes.

Why it is in demand: Right now, there are not too many people with expertise in this field. The next generation will want to access everything through smartphones or tablets and the use of desktops and laptops will come down. Hence, more of such jobs are getting created with companies that can provide technology to access it through smartphones and tablets.

Salaries: A candidate who has experience of four to six years can expect something in the range of Rs 15 lakh and upwards.

Profile: With social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter in vogue, there is lot of scope for jobs in this sector. The jobs on offer range from content management to sales and marketing specialists to software and hardware related jobs.

Qualification required: Candidates with experience in managing digital community and social media platforms, web analytics tools and digital advertisement programs would be preferred. Graduation or postgraduation from any field could help. Technology, finance, media, e-commerce, automobile, fast-moving consumer goods, and lifestyle product companies are a few sectors open to hiring specialists for social media.

Why it is in demand: Globally, brands are going social and customers and stakeholders are also openly expressing their views about brands. Consumers prefer taking the online route for suggestions and buying and are increasingly taking peer-review seriously. So, monitoring the social media and online space will be a key area for businesses to build products and tweak their services.

Salaries: A mid- and senior-level employee can easily draw salaries staring from Rs 6 lakh.

Profile: Investment bankers advise their clients on issues of financial organisation. They recommend and execute strategies for mergers and acquisitions. "The work also requires lots of financial analysis. And the demand for this profession in India has taken off tremendously in 8-10 years. It is regarded as a top-notch job and a lot of B-school pass-outs eye this profession," says Sangeeta Lala, vice-president at TeamLease.

Qualification required: Personal and strategic skills are vital to investment bankers as well, as they serve as strategists for their clients helping them develop their financial plans. "Usually, someone who has specialised in or holds a masters in finance. A chartered accountant and certified financial analyst are also preferred for this job profile. While it demands long working hours, a person who has just started in this field can easily get anything in the range of Rs 12-15 lakh per annum," adds Lala of TeamLease.

Why it is in demand: While the job profile and the compensation looks very attractive, every job has its own challenges. One common challenge across all roles in the current environment is to stay above the crowd. Reason: "The market is flooded with 'me too' candidates and this is leading to people becoming 'commodities', without any premium. To overcome this challenge, it is highly recommended for candidates to qualify and specialise in a particular field of work," adds Balaji of Randstad India.

Salaries: Salaries paid for these professions and positions in metros will be comparatively higher than in other tier II and tier III cities. However; the deviation in the base salaries offered isn't much. Salaries are in the range of Rs 12-15 lakh at entry level.

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First Published: Sun, May 26 2013. 22:30 IST