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Client Advice

Salary expectations and our findings on behaviour of the tech candidates in Indian IT Market

By Antal International

Through our research we explore the topic of CTC expectations. The Indian labour market tracks total salary packages that take into account the actual cost of the hire to the company, “Cost to Company = CTC”.  This refers to the total amount of expenses an employer spends on an employee, expenses starting from the cost of recruitment, to retainment bonus, to retirement payments (if any) that the employer bears on their account. It is a sum of all monetary benefits and non-monetary benefits extended to the employee.

The basis for our research steams from the following exploratory question, “I would like to understand your reasonable expectation for hike in terms of your expected CTC?

And typical response to this probing question was: 

“I expect a 100% hike on my current CTC”... “The job market is extremely good, I think I can easily ask for more than 80%”....

As IT recruiters today, we have got used to hearing extremely high expectation for CTC among candidates. Most of the time, candidates expect such huge hikes because of the extremely demanding job market today. Due to digitalization after pandemic and increased investments in tech start-ups in India, we see a high demands for skilled professionals in the IT field and several companies and candidates have started this war for talent to keep up with the demands.

With the market becoming more candidate driven, with several candidates holding multiple offers and making it difficult to have a salary negotiation, we decided that as part of our Antal Certified Sourcer Program, we must conduct market research to deep dive and understand what has led to such high demands amongst the candidates and also gain other insights to tackle this issue.

Our market survey was on the topic “The demand of niche skills sets a higher salary expectation among candidates” and we reached out to several tech candidates from Linkedin, from our own databases working in the IT field across India, with varied skillsets and experiences. The aim of this research was to understand from the candidates’ perspective what exactly are their reasons to look for job opportunities, how it affects their expectations for the compensation and what is the scope of the different skill sets available in the market. We also tried to understand how candidates upgrade themselves on their technical skill sets and what their real motive to do so is. The survey also gives us insights on what salary hikes are being given to the candidates and how it matches their expectations.

Demographics of our respondents


Out of the 222 candidates who participated in our survey, 56% respondents are Software Engineers/Sr Software Engineers, 45% of the respondents work in product companies and 33% work in Backend/frontend/full stack with nearly 50 % of candidates having an experience range of 1 – 5 years.

Upskilling oneself


We further found some really interesting facts. 46% spend 2-4 hours every week to update themselves with latest tech developments, complete certifications etc, whereas 42% spend less than an hour per week for the same. Nearly 45% believe that certifications / courses can help them stay relevant in the market and another 40% believe certificates and courses can help them get new opportunities to work on new technologies. Here is a reality check for all the tech job seeker reading this. Next time when you ask for a package hike, also ask yourselves, am I spending enough time to upskill myself and be relevant in the market, because guess what, your colleague might be.

Scenarios of job seekers


7 in 10 candidates spoken to are looking actively or passively for opportunities. 6 of these 7 candidates have taken 1-4 interviews. 1 in every 3 candidates said that they are not looking for opportunities, having just recently joined a new company.

4 of the 7 candidates who are looking for opportunities received a hike of more than 31%, whereas 6 of 7 respondents expected to receive a hike of more than 31%.  37% respondents expected to receive a hike of more than 50%, but only 24% actually received it.

That is to say, of every 2 people (in the entire sample of those looking) who hoped to get more than 50% hike, only 1 got it. Though when they started their initial job search, they were looking for an increased scope of role and the possibility of working on latest technology however, the high demand for skills that they experienced in the market, added to raising the expectation.

These are major data points that convey a strong message that although the job market is hot, not all candidates are receiving a huge hike, unless they have demonstrated exceptional work or really deserve it and have invested in up skilling themselves.

Why would one pursue an opportunity?


Although 1 out of every 3 candidates who are currently not pursuing any opportunity, have recently changed their organization, nearly 22% of the candidates feel that they see good career growth in their current organization.

However, if an opportunity comes their way, the main reasons they would be interested to pursue an opportunity would be because of the chance to work on new technology and the scope of role. Surprisingly, 22% would be ready to switch jobs if they get a higher salary package. Attention recruiters! Beware of the candidates who are only eyeing for a higher CTC package.

How to make a candidate work for you?


The findings from our research are conclusive, latest tech stacks, role scope and compensation are the three big factors for candidates to consider a move. Candidates are now very keen to understand the kind of projects they would get a chance to work on and how this would help them to grow further in the career.

Organization and talent acquisition teams who are hiring tech talents would have to work more on attracting talent as most of the time, recruitment presentations often focus on company information and not too much on the role and the work itself.

By giving key insights to candidates on the projects, how their day would typically look like, tech stack that they could explore, how would their career progression be and how it can add value to their career along with attractive ctc packages, we can add excitement for candidates to pursue an opportunity.

We undertook this research to further our understanding of the choices candidates make.  We are happy to openly share this with you as we care deeply about the progression of the labor market.  Our recruitment teams are on hand to assist you with your recruitment needs, please do not hesitate to reach out to us or follow up on Antal International LinkedIn.


Written by:

Asmita Tripathi - Associate Consultant - Antal India - Jaipur office 

Athira Gopinathan - Associate Consultant - Antal India - Chennai




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