Why is Chennai trailing Bengaluru as a vacation spot for IT jobs and startups?

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Pay scale of Chennai’s mid and senior stage IT staff has been discovered to be decrease than these in different cities. Pic: Shanmugam P/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY:SA 4.0)

Ashok*, a primary era graduate hailing from Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu, secured a job at a number one IT agency over a decade in the past in Chennai. With the state capital being a dream vacation spot for a lot of from rural Tamil Nadu, he landed in Chennai with loads of hopes and desires. 

As years handed, he gained expertise but additionally realised that the pay scale for his position was a lot decrease than what an expert with the identical stage of expertise would get in Bengaluru and different metro cities. With almost 12.5 years of expertise, Ashok now works in a start-up IT agency as a advisor in Bengaluru. “I earn almost 60 p.c greater than what I may earn in Chennai,” he says. 

These claims are validated by a 2021 examine performed by Randstad Insights. Chennai positioned seventh among the many eight tier-1 cities throughout India by way of annual wage tendencies for mid-level (6 to 14 years) and senior stage (15 and greater than 15 years) job roles throughout numerous industries. Chennai positioned third relating to junior-level (0-5) jobs however sees a steep drop with extra expertise. 

chennai salary survey table
Chennai fared poorly by way of pay for mid and senior ranges jobs. Pic: Randstad Insights

So what explains the gulf in pay for jobs based mostly in Chennai? Do these working in IT and people beginning up desire different cities over Chennai? To discover the explanations, Citizen Issues spoke with an array of pros and here’s what they needed to say.

Restricted scope for development in Chennai-based jobs

A Knowledge Scientist who sought anonymity, stated, “Although it is likely one of the most taking place fields with excessive demand for expert staff, there aren’t many alternatives in Chennai. My first job was in Bengaluru. After I was in search of openings to shift after some three years of getting into the sphere, there weren’t as many corporations that had a gap for my position in Chennai. In addition to, except I shift from one organisation to a different at common intervals, I’d not be capable of get hike each by way of designation and pay scale.”

On the distinction in pay scale, he stated, “Even these corporations in Chennai that had restricted openings, supplied a sum of Rs 14 to fifteen lakhs every year (LPA), whereas I may simply get Rs 20 to 25 LPA in Bengaluru. In actual fact, just one firm in Chennai was capable of match the pay supplied by companies in Bengaluru. Although Chennai is near dwelling, my pure alternative was to go for Bengaluru as a result of I’d have extra alternatives right here down the road.”

Whereas Chennai has extra service-based corporations, Bengaluru has each product-based and service-based corporations. It additionally has numerous startups which pay far more than a longtime firm positioned in Chennai. “If I need to transfer round and discover each the sectors, Bengaluru would once more be my first alternative,” he added.

Karthik*, who additionally has almost 10 years of expertise, not too long ago shifted from Chennai to Bengaluru. He’s now in a Managerial position at a number one IT agency. Along with the pay scale distinction, what attracted him to the IT capital was the worldwide nature of the roles accessible. 

“Whereas an organisation like Ernst & Younger would have their India chapter (EY India) workplace in Chennai, the worldwide chapter workplace features out of Bengaluru. A number of senior stage roles which might be unique to these international chapters can be accessible solely in Bengaluru”, he stated. 


Learn extra: How COVID landed the MSME sector in Chennai in deep waters


Chennai’s failure to launch after IT growth

Others attributed expertise trying exterior of Chennai to a stagnation of development within the IT sector within the metropolis. “Chennai noticed a bloom within the IT area a lot sooner than Bengaluru however it has remained stagnant since. These corporations that have been established in Chennai again within the Nineteen Nineties didn’t develop in a giant approach. Quite they began operations in different cities like Bengaluru and Hyderabad,” stated a recruiter looking for anonymity, citing this as one of many causes for Chennai not having many high-paying corporations.

There may be additionally a distinction in pay scale supplied by service and product based mostly corporations. Sudharshan, a Product Supervisor with almost 13 years of expertise, stated, Service based mostly organisations must take a reduce out of your pay. Earlier than onboarding a multinational consumer, they need to have an offshore improvement centre with enough seating capability, technical  infrastructure and sources. They’ll first rent the candidates and pay from their pockets till they get a consumer, whereas this isn’t the case with product based mostly corporations.” 

Lack of properly developed startup ecosystem in Chennai

Explaining the conundrums of startups in Tamil Nadu and significantly in Chennai, Pandian*, a startup founder, stated that the ‘thought’, which may both be an innovation or infusion of current concepts, is the important thing to startups. “If I strategy an individual to fund my thought in Chennai, they’d first ask me to start out an organization, register it, put some capital, construct primary infrastructure, present monetary projections and solely then would they hearken to my pitch. If I had that cash to arrange an organization, I’d not want an investor within the first place,” he stated. 

“There aren’t many Enterprise Capitalists in Chennai. Even those that are prepared to speculate, would sanction the quantities in components, ask for greater fairness stake, contain in resolution making, ask for frequent critiques and micro-manage at each step, whereas different buyers would have private agenda of tax-free investments. This follow would solely kill improvements,” he added.

In addition to, the prevailing ecosystem in Bengaluru has branded buyers which will increase the worth of your start-up. “The investor shouldn’t be solely investing cash into my startup however can be a device of propaganda. Somebody would spend money on my startup just because a branded investor has stakes in it,” he stated, including that the cities like Chennai aren’t but mature sufficient to domesticate a start-up ecosystem.

A well-established startup ecosystem replete with alternatives for networking, assembly buyers, attracting gifted staff is one which Chennai sorely misses. “ After I needed to start out my very own enterprise, I didn’t spend an excessive amount of time excited about the place I needed to set it up. The choice to maneuver to Bengaluru was a no brainer. The possibilities to safe funding, rent the correct folks and meet many like-minded founders makes Bengaluru a really enticing place for this. Chennai has some approach to go earlier than new founders really feel assured sufficient that they gained’t miss out on these alternatives by staying again”, says Vineeth*, a startup founder based mostly in Bengaluru. 


Learn extra: Can Chennai’s economic system bounce again after COVID-19?


Expertise pool cautious of transfer to Chennai for jobs

In search of anonymity a recruiter Citizen Issues spoke with stated that the essential pay was decided based totally on price of residing in a metropolis, competitors for a specific position in a specific metropolis and the extent of opponents within the business.

Nonetheless, she famous that the floating inhabitants of Chennai was principally intrastate and the floating inhabitants of Bengaluru stays to be interstate. Whereas the variety of alternatives is just one issue among the many many, Chennai’s weather conditions, fears of a cultural shock and language barrier prime the listing of causes as to why candidates from different states desire Bengaluru over Chennai.

An IT skilled, who’s a local of Assam and now works in Bengaluru stated, “I’d be an odd individual out in Chennai. My English is damaged however I can handle with Hindi in Bengaluru or Hyderabad. In Chennai, even the auto annas and grocery store guys converse higher English than me however they have no idea Hindi. In addition to, Chennai may be very sizzling in summer season and I are likely to get pores and skin allergy symptoms. Additionally, none would stare at me for the best way I gown in Bengaluru.”

Aisha, a Knowledge Analyst from West Bengal who now works in Bengaluru stated, “Evening life has all the time been a dream for me ever since I used to be a toddler. Being restricted to exit throughout nights as a woman, I can now afford to get pleasure from an evening life and that’s doable in Bengaluru.” 

Although John’s academic background doesn’t coincide together with his skilled profile as a knowledge analyst in Bengaluru, he stated that the businesses in Bengaluru aren’t very inflexible about {qualifications} throughout recruitment. “The corporate I work for simply needed somebody with good problem-solving abilities and it’s an innate nature of people. You might be employed for who you’re and never for what . Nonetheless, I discovered the recruitment course of very conservative in Chennai,” he stated.

An uphill battle for girls 

Throughout totally different sectors and cities, one factor remained fixed – the expertise of girls. A 28-year-old lady, who sought anonymity, stated that the ratio between female and male staff remained kind of the identical at entry stage roles. Nonetheless, once they attain mid-level roles, many ladies are hamstrung of their progress as a result of business’s failure to accommodate ladies who’re married and have kids.

“One yr of maternity go away not solely takes a toll on our bodily and psychological well being, but additionally units us again in our skilled life. I’d have missed a promotion and a hike along with my incentives in that one yr. It might take one other three years to achieve that promotion and hike. Within the meantime, with a toddler to care for, I’d not be capable of upskill. So, I’d naturally have a tendency to maneuver from ability based mostly work like developer to different sectors like testing. This could additional push me down the ladder,” stated *Chandini who’s now a Supervisor in a number one product-based agency. She added that she earns at the least 40 p.c lower than a male coworker in the identical cadre of hers no matter which metropolis she relies in.

Whereas switching jobs at common intervals would repay properly by way of pay hikes, most girls Citizen Issues talked to stated they have been unable to modify as continuously as their male counterparts. This additionally led to a drastic pay scale distinction between women and men. 

COVID-19 and past

Whereas Chennai finds itself enjoying catch-up with different cities, the pandemic may show to be a leveller. 

With the outbreak of COVID-19 and the next lockdown, work at home fashions took over. Even after the lockdown restrictions have been relaxed, many corporations proceed to go for hybrid working fashions. 

“Each the employer and the worker understood how a lot they may save from working from their respective base areas. Even the organisations that stated it was unattainable, understood that fifty to 75 p.c of the workforce may very well be operated remotely. Even essentially the most conservative prospects, predominantly from Banking, Monetary Companies and Insurance coverage who’ve been working the identical system for over 4 or 5 a long time, have been open to upgrading their infrastructure in order that they may run their enterprise whereas ppl have been working from dwelling. This has elevated the competitors within the area regardless of the job location and thus bridges the pay scale distinction,” stated Sudharshan. 

This could assist Chennai-based corporations enhance their expertise pool and goal staff who may work at home because the mannequin makes work location agnostic. 

Equally, the expansion in SaaS (Software program as a Service) corporations within the metropolis additionally gives the likelihood for Chennai to carve its personal share within the start-up pie. 

Via the efforts of businesses corresponding to Tamil Nadu Startup And Innovation Mission (TANSIM) a extra vibrant ecosystem may very well be fostered with the businesses imaginative and prescient to help founders, domesticate connections with funders, create jobs and strengthen the presence of Chennai on the map.

As for the way the town is perceived by potential founders and staff, a concerted effort to bust myths concerning the metropolis and to create a welcoming and inclusive ambiance would go a great distance in altering how Chennai is seen.

(*Names modified on request)

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