News & Analysis

Guess Who is Getting the Biggest Salary Hikes?

Post-pandemic era has seen CTOs and chief digital officers get the biggest paychecks as business look to go digital with a vengeance

Ever since the pandemic-led lockdowns made the hybrid workplace a reality, companies are speeding up their digital transformation efforts besides enhancing the pace of its progress. All of this has brought a windfall of sorts for experts leading the charge – typically the chief technology officers and chief digital officers. 

“We have seen salaries grow by 10-15% over the past few months with even the SMBs offering a not-seen-before package to lure mid-level engineering graduates and marketing specialists from larger companies to take over these pivotal roles,” says an official working at a top head-hunting company based out of Bangalore. 

In fact, most talent search companies that we spoke to believe that the trend could continue for a couple more years and the only thing that could cause it to slow down is a spurt in outsourced services for both technology officers and marketing experts. “The spate of demand makes it the right time for companies to offer CTO and CDO services on demand,” one of them said. 


Chief Digital Officers get the best hikes

Meanwhile, a report in the Economic Times quoted Aon Data to suggest that CDOs got the highest jump in median compensation. It grew at a compounded annual rate of 14 per cent over the past three years while for chief marketing officers, the remuneration went up by 10 per cent. 

The report went on to quote Aon official Roopank Chaudhary to suggest that technology teams were among the top priorities for organizations of all sizes. As a result, the demand for technology and digital skills grew exponentially and is now causing a supply crunch. Which is also the reason for the sizable salary hikes that the CDOs and CTOs are getting now. 

The demand for digital expertise is spreading across industry verticals with healthcare, fintech and retail being the biggest recipients. However, there is a marked slowdown in the demand for these skills from the hitherto high demand education technology (edtech) segment. In fact, our source claimed this could be the best time for a job switch as CDOs could double their salaries.


What’s causing this spurt? 

Simply put, the two-year pandemic-led lockdowns brought new business challenges that were somehow directly connected to digitization issues and their resolution. Companies, both large and small began investing in digital technology, be it financial sector, manufacturing, retail or healthcare. Digital skills came at a premium and these aren’t going south any time soon. 

Compensation levels too grew over the past 12 months and so did the complexity of the role. Unlike in the past where CTOs were meant to be czars of procurement and devolution, today the role comprises getting the right digital solutions, the right amount of enterprise security as well as ensuring that these extra spends doesn’t shave off profit margins. 

Another role that is witnessing a sizable growth in demand over the past few years is that of the risk officers. Alongside both the CTO and the CDO, the CRO is ranked high on the search results pages and on the trends. The obvious reason could be the easy availability of data and the potential business risks that they bring. 


Must-have skills for a CDO

So, what could be the ideal CDO for a large enterprise or even a medium one? Customer focus is what one would expect at the outset, besides a strong understanding of core business objectives and how customers would react to their products and services. Here is a quick look at some of the prerequisites for a good CDO: 

  • A more than nodding acquaintance of technologies required to create digital assets
  • A mind-set capable of driving internal and external change in processes & tech selection
  • Ability to evaluate, prioritize and communicate business values from new solutions
  • They need excellent communication skills with good listening capabilities 
  • Proven leadership skills as they’d be required to drive transformation without CXO help

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