Amid a fierce global war for top tech talent, the placement season 2021 at Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) saw companies offering jaw-dropping salaries to the students.
American ride-hailing major Uber emerged as the highest paymaster on day one of final placements, with Rs 2 crore-plus salary offers at the IITs of Bombay, Madras, Roorkee, Kanpur, Guwahati and Varanasi, according to media reports. Several IITs have also reported an increase in the number of Rs 1 crore-plus packages for both domestic and international postings.
IIT Kharagpur on Saturday reported more than 1,100 offers, with the highest pay package being Rs 2.4 crore a year.
Other companies that have made offers this placement season include Microsoft, Amazon, Accenture, Qualcomm, Boston Consulting Group, JP Morgan Chase & Co, McKinsey and Goldman Sachs, according to the IITs.
But are high compensation packages enough to attract and retain talent in the long run, with altered employee priorities post pandemic?
The pandemic has reinforced the adage that ‘health is wealth’. Therefore, industry experts say that an attractive pay package isn’t enough for an employee to choose or stick to an organization.
“This generation has the privilege to ask questions such as - is there meaning or purpose to our work? How much control do we have over our time? What is my organization’s contribution towards society? And lastly, do I work to live or live to work?” says Siddhartha Gupta, CEO of online talent assessment company Mercer|Mettl.
These fundamental reflections, prompted by the pandemic, have led to employees focusing on freedom, purpose, growth and culture.
Physical and mental health has become paramount for employees. For this, they now want a certain level of freedom and flexibility in terms of how, where, and when they work in order to achieve a better work-life balance. Also workplaces aren’t just workplaces anymore. For some, they provide meaning to their lives, a purpose of sorts. “In addition, the quality of relationships with fellow colleagues and the senior leadership plays a key in defining an ‘employee experience’ along with mentorship,” says Gupta.
Employees also want clarity in terms of career growth. They want to see a clear path in regards to their role and an opportunity to expand their skill-sets. “Besides that, employees want decision-making at an organizational level to be done on the basis of their feedback. The aim is to have complete transparency and accountability at all levels with employee well-being at the forefront of this,” adds Gupta.
In an employee-employer relationship, it’s the employee who, for a change, has the leverage. The reason is that the demand-supply gap is tilted in favour of the employee. Demand for talent is high while supply is limited at a time when businesses are looking to resume their operations full-scale. As a result, employees have the leverage when it comes to negotiating for salary and benefits. Hence, they have no qualms about leaving a job without having one in hand in “the great resignation era”. Although, says Gupta, this trend is temporary and will even out.
The recent Randstad Employer Brand Research report says that potential employees now consider work-life balance, attractive salary, benefits and Covid-safe work environment as top three drivers before accepting offers. Many companies, especially large IT firms and start-ups, are offering double bonuses, luxury gifts and salary hikes in the range of 30-40% to prevent poaching by competitors scouting for the best talent. In the case of freshers and new employees, employers are focusing on making the virtual recruitment experience seamless and professional.
“While salary remains an important factor, it is not enough to retain employees for the long term. People across levels are looking for a ‘holistic package’ that includes a hybrid work policy, 'work-from-anywhere' flexible options, a stake in the company’s profit and ‘freedom within the frame’. Employees are additionally looking at the social focus of the employer or a sense of 'purpose' in their daily work and have started to look out for employers who can provide them with that, along with employee health and wellness packages, ergonomics benefits, mental wellness support, upskilling/reskilling programs etc,” adds Sanjay Shetty - Head, Search & Selection, Randstad India.