Salary of an Ex-Defence Person

This is a subject of intense debate amongst us – the Fauji community. I write on this because:
  • I happen to straddle the wall – someone who is an ex-fauji and who is now also a hirer, because he owns a Company. That provides a referee’s view, and perhaps helps in offering insights + ‘hatke’ (different) approaches to solve the salary problem to our (ex-fauji’s) benefit.
  • There are 2 different sets of factors – those which a company considers while deciding the salary of an ex-fauji applicant and those which an ex-Defence “hiree” considers when he builds up his (her) salary expectation. It is essential to understand those factors, to get the salary that one deserves.
The Problem When we (defence people) retire and look for a job, we usually think:
  • What are my capabilities, who requires these in civil?
  • What are other ex-faujis, with similar capabilities and similar lengths of service, getting? I should earn something similar – and if possible, more.
The hiring Company owner / his HR Department, thinks along different lines:
  • How much “relevant” experience does he (she) have for this position?
  • How does he compare with an experienced person from civil?
  • Does he cost me more / less?
  • What advantages will he bring – more stable (less frequent change-overs)? dependable (could be entrusted with critical things)?
  • Could he also cause problems – adjustment problems (working under people half his age)? rigid?, always talking of the past (‘in the Army / Navy / AF, we did things better’)? reluctant to be hands-on (will need another person for his running around)?
  • Considering all this, should I take the risk, just because he comes a little cheaper than an experienced resource from civil?
The Company couldn’t care what another ex-fauji with 20 years service gets. It usually compares us only with people in civil. If it sees a distinct advantage, it hires. Otherwise, it lets go and hires a person from civil, even if at a higher salary. (We are not talking here of companies which have well defined salary & appointment hierarchies for ex-defence people, similar to those in the services – Amity, Roltas, JPs, DLF, etc. We are talking of the 10s of 1000s of companies which do not have any fauji or do not have any special pre-decided hierarchies or salaries for people from defence). (We are also not talking about our 2nd job – when we move to a second job in civil, we already have a reputation which can be cross-checked. But not so for before our 1st job). Is this is so, What Then? The debate – “How much does an ex-defence person with say 20 years service, get?” is futile – it has no foundation, because hirers just do not care for our length of service – which we call our years of experience. To them, experience is whatever is useful to them – the rest is, well… If this is the case, then:
  • Our salary comparison should not be with other faujis at all. Our Competition and Comparison should be our civil counterparts, against whom the hirer weighs us at every step. (Col Tapesh Sen, Retd. has done a wonderful and revealing survey: How Much Salary Will An Ex-Fauji Get As per his survey, the range of salaries varies from below 50K per month to over 3L per month, with enough people in each range. This clearly indicates that our salary depends on the type of job we pick up, which further depends on the capabilities we are able to showcase to the hirer. The salary has nothing much to do with our years of service in defence.
  • If our comparison is going to be with civil employees, we should make all efforts to read their CVs, acquire their capabilities and find out what salaries they get!. Thereafter try to target that salary range. It will be realistic and it will be in sync with what the hirer is weighing us against. It also keeps us from under-rating ourselves by mistake.
  • To be sure, the hirer might offer us something lower than that in our first job. That is totally understandable – what would you do if you were to hire a person fresh from civil as a company commander – would you do it without trying him first, at least as a Company 2IC? To counter this, we must have enough ammo to try and target a salary which is in the same range as someone in civil – demonstrated domain capabilities in comparison to your civil counterparts (this depends on how we showcase what we have done in defence plus what we have specially learnt, to get this job in civil – this added to your ex-defence soft skills, could get you a salary even higher than your civil counterparts.
  • Once we are in the first job, we can use all the invisible but present skills which the services taught us – never being afraid of learning something new, humility in learning from subordinates, diligence and sheer bullish perseverance and patience!
  • There are many examples of people who have followed this path and scaled great heights – higher even than their civil counter-parts. As on date many ex-faujis are serving as CEOs of organizations, Region Heads (Asia, Apec, etc.), Health and Safety Heads, Sales Heads and other equally important posts. Most did not get there in their first leap, but climbed their way up. The start might have been a little steep, but thereafter their abilities and learning skills must surely have made the climb easier and faster!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Satish Nair

    A good article read after long time.

  2. Satish Nair

    A good inspiring article for every ex mens.

  3. Bhavna Sharma

    Very Good Article.

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