The industry is growing up
There was a time when IT companies in Pakistan were reputed to pay low salaries and operate out of dingy home or make-shift offices. It appears that time has long gone and many companies are growing and moving into independent campuses and spiffy offices. Of course we still have start-ups that are cropping up in their
own versions of ‘garages’, producing innovative solutions and surprising the most optimistic of us in the IT sector with their brilliant ideas. Stories about them have and will keep popping up in subsequent posts.
So what was I saying about salaries? Oh yes. In the past graduates were told to go straight into multinational companies or banks where they would earn good money and have a future. With IT companies matching the salary scales and providing challenging and interesting environments, the exodus from multinationals and banks to IT companies has begun. Kids are finding that they have a good career growth to look forward to when they join a local IT firm. Continuous learning, challenging projects and smart colleagues, friends and mentors are part of the scene. A friend recently told me that in 2004 a FAST graduate came aboard at Rs. 12000; this rose to Rs. 13000 in 2005, Rs. 18000 in 2006 and 22000 in 2007. This month the going rate is around Rs. 30000.
And we are not even looking at the middle management and senior management scales which are significantly higher. P@SHA is conducting a salary survey to determine what the different salary segments are and where they are headed. Whereas fair compensation needs to be paid to bright individuals, we need to ensure that the salary increases don’t hit the roof and are sustainable. Some companies are actually offering incentives in the form of visas and jobs in the Middle East, the US and Canada for those kids who want to explore other pastures.
Companies have also started investing in offices – some have constructed their own campuses – like Netsol Technologies, Autosoft Dynamics and Alchemy. Others have taken entire buildings on rent – like Systems Ltd, Abacus Consulting, Folio 3, Softech Systems, Infotech and Etilize. Yet others have taken up thousands of square feet in new buildings – like PixSense, Mixit, TRG, Inov8 and Si3 – or in STPs – like LMKR, Ovex, Ikonami and others.
It makes my heart glad to see companies growing and maturing and creating environments that are good for business yet providing areas of entertainment and relaxation for teams who work long hours and need to chill out from time to time. So for those who are cynical about this industry, I say to you “Look around … you will be surprised.”
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