Is it advisable to go abroad to make a career as company secretary? What are the pay packages for CS in India?

Is it advisable to go abroad to make a career as company secretary?

There is obviously a huge demand for company secretaries both in India and abroad. But, the career in terms of growth and stability is more flourishing in India as compared to abroad. This is because the course is based on the Companies Act 1956, which has its roots in the Indian legal and political system and is of no relevance outside India. So, there is no need to be disheartened by the fact that there is no scope abroad. However, a qualified company secretary may find employment opportunities similar to those available to business graduates in abroad, especially in the European countries.

I am curious to know the salary package of a company secretary as I will be applying for jobs in a few weeks.

Ans. It is really important to talk about the salary as it is one of the main focus areas of students before they choose to make a career in a particular field.
As an intern you can earn somewhere around Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 8,000/- per month. However, for an ordinary candidate, a monthly salary of Rs. 15,000 is almost guaranteed. But if you have good skills and communication skills then you might start your career with a basic salary of around Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 25,000/- per month. If you are experienced then you can earn approximately Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 45,000/- per month. However, with more time, experience and expertise within a company you can command hefty pay cheques.
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  • RE: Is it advisable to go abroad to make a career as company secretary? What are the pay packages for CS in India? -srinath (12/25/15)
  • If you a qualfied Indian Company Secretary with some experience, but still haven't become a GradICSA yet, and want to go abroad immediately, you can try these countries for officer level jobs: Guernsey, Bermuda and Gibraltar. You can't save any money as the salary will be little, but the benefit is you get an international work experience which is a definite positive for an aspirant of an international career.
  • RE: Is it advisable to go abroad to make a career as company secretary? What are the pay packages for CS in India? -srinath ramanathan (12/25/15)
  • Yes. Of course. It's got tremendous scope abroad. Even a recent Oxford survey about the likelihood of a robot stealing humans' jobs 20 years from now, places Company Secretaries at a low risk of only 6%, unlike a Chartered accountant who has more than 90% risk.
    You can try attempting the ICSA UK directly also where there isn't a penalty, as in ICSI course, of attempting the whole group if one subject is not cleared. Additionally, the pass-rates are also good unlike ICSI India course where pass-rate is abysmally low. For some ICSA, UK course modules, it's about 25 or 30%, that's 1 in 3 clear and for some modules it's as high as 50%. That's 1 in 2 clear. You have just 7 modules and a case study to clear (total 8). Case study pass-rate is 80 to 100% which means 8 out of 10 candidates or even all 10 candidates clear. You have just 4 attempts to clear a module. But considering the pass-rate, I believe a normal serious CS aspirant will be able to do it.
    I think ICSA UK is widely accepted world-over. And, only about 300 people graduate every year, unlike in India where some 1500 or 2000 graduate. This low supply translates in creating demand in the form of respect and remuneration for qualified company secretaries abroad. So, if you are seriously trying for abroad opportunities go for ICSA, UK course directly as it’s relatively easier to pass than Indian ICSI course.
    Then, later, you can choose to earn your ACS from ICSI, India as well after passing 3 papers of ICSI. Only thing you can’t do by earning ICSI membership after ICSA, UK membership is that I believe, you can’t practice in India, but can get take up a job as a company secretary in India. My personal assessment is that ICSA, UK exams are easier to clear. Only thing is that it will cost you a little more to enroll as a student and take exams.
    One sad thing with Indian CS is that a trend has come now that even LLB is being asked 'mandatorily' by employers (from being quoted by employers as 'desirable' some time back). This is worrisome for people who are from commerce background who lose out because of not having an LLB. Another, major worrisome aspect is most of the CS appointments take a long time (some are even fake, I mean the employer really isn't interested to hire but still conduct interviews just to know the pulse of the market about how much a CS expects to be paid if recruited. I can quote instances of interviews my friend has been attending for the last 4 months and none of them have really appointed one. example companies are, Shetron Limited, Prestige Estates Projects Limted, Sonata Limited, Zen Technologies, Indo Tech Transformers Limited and so on. Some companies are even indifferent towards the appointment of 'whole-time company secretary' that they continue with their CFO being also a CS. Examples are Subex Limited, Snowman Logistics Limited, Automotive Axle Limited, etc. These are good companies, but don't go by the spirit of the Act. And, we keep seeing the Institute canvassing for more students to join the course by airing programmes in Doordarshan channels: DD Chandana, DD Gujarati and so on. Actually, the need of the hour is that the Institute should canvass the employers first who seem to be aloof about the appointment of 'whole-time company secretaries'. I think the reason may be that the Act doesn't penalize so much or there's a time of 6 months given for appointing a new company secretary after the resignation of the previous company secretary. All these loopholes are being used by the companies for their benefit.
    Another concern is that PCS firms' experiences are not given sufficient importance, for negotiating salary, when you go for seeking jobs in companies. The companies still ask sarcastically as to how big is your PCS firm and how many employees are there. It's a fact that a company secretary gets trained much better while working in PCS firm than when he undergoes training with a company. But the sad thing is that the companies don't take the PCS firms' experience seriously. And, this reflects in the salary offered which are mostly insulting considering the personal legal risk a Company Secretary takes on himself in the job unlike other staffs without any legal risks such as Software Engineers or Managers: something like Rs.2.5 to 5 Lakhs (which is the standard salary offered to BPO employees). So, foreigners respect a qualified Company Secretary and remunerate well. So, my best advice would be to go for ICSA, UK directly and become a GradICSA one day and gain some experience and become an ACIS. An ACIS is transferable, meaning, you can choose to work anywhere, be it UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, South Africa, Malaysia. US is not possible without studying law there. But try and earn an LLB also, if possible, as your career as a Company Secretary will be highly successful anywhere you go.

    If you are already a qualified company secretary in India with membership gained 2 years back (with or without experience), you get exemptions for 5 of the 8 modules to pass the ICSA UK course You become a GradICSA. After that 6 years (getting a 3 year waiver is also possible based on your indian qualfication and relevant experience) to become an ACIS. This is transferable across countries.