ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday April 13, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 46
Financial Times  

Scramble for talent as BPOs, garments fetch high wages

BPOs, the garment sector, financial services and telecom continue to lead the Sri Lankan market in terms of better wage packages for workers, Cornupia, a Indian-based HRD organization with an office in Colombo, says.

It said despite the setback in 2007 (owing to the war), the telecom sector, the commercial banking sector, BPOs and the IT sector have continued to grow and compete for top talent resulting in salaries rising across all levels. Salaries for finance and HR professionals, software and telecom engineers and have hit new highs, the company said in a new study.

“There has also been a spurt in salaries at the top for functional specialists. To find the right people companies are paying good money to lure the best and the brightest. Wage inflation in 2008, is expected to be around 14% to 16%. The greatest challenge for business will be in attracting and retaining experienced staff capable of delivering the revenue growth potential. These challenges are likely to be felt most acutely in the telecom, banking and the garment sectors,” it said.

The lead sectors in wages could be seen most significantly for talent at all management levels.

“The demand for top management and management continue to outweigh supply. If the country situation improves we may well see the emergence of the local expatriate market supply to fill top roles,” it said. The traditional manufacturing sector continues to lag in terms of the level of compensation provided to management, compared to other sectors. “On the benefits side most companies provide basic benefits like Medical, Leave, Insurance and EPF, ETF. Perks such as Motor Vehicles and Club Membership are now quite common across all management staff. Housing benefits are mostly limited to the financial services sector.

Long term incentives like share options, phantom options and differed bonuses and performance based short term incentives once limited to the MNCs and some of the big Blue Chip companies are becoming very popular among many of the high performing companies. However, there is today a conscious effort to align executive compensation to the success of the company and as a result companies are setting a large proportion of total target pay as variable compensation,” the study shows.

Cornupia said companies in 2008 would have to be more focused on building proper management infrastructures and frameworks and to develop creative compensation structures for employees. With the increasing mobility of the Sri Lankan workforce, there is aso the need to develop better HR strategies to nurture, develop, and retain key talent, it said.


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