Which sector earns the highest salary in India?

Monster India, one of the leading online career and recruitment solutions providers in the country, launched the Monster Salary Index™ aimed at successfully empowering jobseekers with a benchmarking to compare their salaries with other anonymous profiles across a broad spectrum of industry domains, experience, functional groups both in India and other global markets. For employers, MSI is an online salary survey that aims to provide employers with practical information and helps them make informed decisions by analyzing the salary market and optimizing employee remuneration.

Analyzing the trends of the Indian market, the report shows that with a median gross salary of Rs 291.0, finance is the second most lucrative sector. Employees in this field are highly educated, and for these it reflects in their salaries with an average of Rs 300 per hour. Interestingly, the gender pay gap in the finance sector is about 19%, which is lower than the average in the Indian economy. On an average, men earn Rs 259.8 per hour whereas female colleagues earn just 1 190.5, i.e. about 27% less than men. Studying the global trends as well, the report says that, in the US, UK, Spain and Germany as well, female employees in the finance & insurance sector earn 35% less than their counterparts. Additionally, 58.8% of Indian employees in this sector are satisfied with their overall life.

Overall the Monster Salary Index shows the following median salary trend across sectors in India.

Table 1: Distribution of the sample and average hourly gross salary per sector

Sector Percentage of sample Median gross hourly salary
  • Construction- Construction
  • Technical Consultancy
15.95% 259.8
  • Education- Education Research
  • Research
6.25% 186.5
  • BFSI- Banking
  • Financial Services
  • Insurance
22.27% 291.0
  • IT
  • ITES
  • Telecom- Information
  • Communication Technology (IT)
18.17% 341.8
  • Legal and Market Consultancy-
  • Legal and Market Consultancy,
  • Business Activities
4.54% 215.6
  • Manufacturing
22.01% 230.9
  • Transport, Logistics-
  • Transport, Logistics, Communication
4.90% 230.9
Total 100.00% 252.3

Source: WageIndicator Foundation

Focussing on other sectors, the report reflects that the median salary gap between the highest paying industry and the lowest is as high as 45%. Those in the IT sector in India earn on average Rs 341.8 per hour which is by far the highest salary of all sectors. However, the IT sector is not immune to the gender gap. On average, women earn around 34% less than men in the sector. Remarkably, 61% of the IT sector expressed satisfaction with their life overall.

The report brings to light the fact that employees in the education sector get the lowest hourly salary of Rs 186.50 per hour. This can be attributed to the fact that there are relatively more women working here than in other sectors who are paid 18% less than men in the same sector. A similar study in US, UK, Spain and Germany reveals that female employees in education & research earn 33% less than their male colleagues. However, 60% of the Indian employees in the sector reported being satisfied with their lives regardless of the low compensation and absence of bonuses.

Table 2: Satisfaction of Indian workers

Satisfaction with Satisfaction level
Job 64.8%
Pay 51.9%
Commuting time 65.9%
Work-life balance 63.7%
Job Security 62.7%
Work environment 64.9%
Working hours 67.7%
Relationship to colleagues 75.7%
Relationship to superiors 72.2%
Life as-a-whole 59.4%

Speaking on the launch of the report, Sanjay Modi, Managing Director (India/Middle East/ Southeast Asia/Hong Kong) said, “We are pleased to bring forth the findings of the first of its kind Aggregate Monster Salary Index in the country. This intellectual property has been created with a foresight to equip the industry at large. The country is on the edge of a new wave of development that is expected to deliver jobs and prosperity to millions which has a direct correlation with salary/income.”

In a developing economy like that of India, manufacturing sectors form the backbone. The analysis of the sector shows that the median salary is Rs 230.9 per hour, which is slightly lower than the average in the whole economy. Nonetheless, disparities in salary exist in the sector basis the educational qualification/skills of an individual.

Across the global and US region the same survey indicates that females in the workplace are not being compensated in the same way as their male counterparts. While we have seen a great increase in the number of women in supervisory positions, this does not reflect in the salary that those women are receiving.

Further adding Modi said, “The two welcome highlights of the finance sector are that it has emerged second in the league of lucrative careers where qualification is paid for. Secondly the gender pay gap is 19% which is lower than the average in the Indian economy. On the contrary, the IT sector which leads the game has a gender pay gap where women earn around 34% less than men.”

The report concludes that 60% of the Indian workforce is relatively satisfied with their overall life. One of the astounding derivations is that only 51.9% of employees are satisfied with their pay.

Commenting on the report, Paulien Osse, Director WageIndicator Foundation said, “The MSI report is a standard systematic research and aimed at empowering recruiters and job seekers with a credible platform to compare salaries. This comprehensive research report has been compiled to understand and provide a view across a broad spectrum of industry domains, experience, functional groups both in India and other global markets. The collaboration with Monster.com has helped us with the most trusted partnership in India to compile this.”

Talking about the report, Prof. Biju Varkkey of IIM-Ahmedabad said, “The report analysis every facet of compensation in various sectors paving the path to the stable job market in the country. With the new government's continued emphasis on making India a skill-based workforce, it would act as a model for job creation and entrepreneurship for all socioeconomic classes.”