State of Product Management in India in 2020


Considered the cornerstone of modern brand management in the digital-first world, there are a few roles that can claim to have evolved as organically as Product Management. Born out of the need for greater collaboration, transparency, and ownership in the workplace, Product Management kicked off as grounds to solely hire more staff back in 1931 at Procter & Gamble.  

Today, Product Managers are more than just SME-cum-HRs, be it in the IT or non-IT organizations. Product Management is vital for innovation and growth in the workplace. One of the most in-demand sectors of the decade, the Product Management Industry expects 22 million new Project Management job openings, thanks to the incredible ROI that the right Product Managers can bring to the organization. Conversely, only about 15% of fresh MBA graduates can make it to the role. While there is huge demand, there is a greater skill-gap – since it is a utopian role in the contemporary rat race.

So, what is Product Management, and why has it gained so much popularity in India and across the Globe?

Often tagged as ‘mini-entrepreneurs’, Product Managers (PMs) take complete accountability over their product, be it IT or non-IT operations, building their mini-brands from the ground up. They are seen as those who perfect the trifecta of direction, vision, and practical know-how to get the ship sailing. But, aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, should the need arise.

As for popularity, the evolution of Product Management directly goes hand-in-hand with the Industrial Revolution 4.0. While Big Data, Cloud, and IoT brought new technologies to the consumer over the last decade, they also opened a Pandora’s Box in terms of the economy.

The much-needed overhaul in the global economy that demands greater efficiency and productivity, which is popularly called ‘Digital Transformation’ in today’s time, is already brewing. And, Product Managers are the front-riders of this new wave.

Let us give an insight into how crucial Product Managers are in an organization. The highest-paid workers in Silicon Valley are no longer Engineers – they are Product Managers. At the heart of the above-mentioned IT revolution, Product Managers, on average, earn approx INR 73,600 more than Engineers annually.

Currently, in the US, there are about 1.8 million people in Product Management roles. While the demand for most other jobs is growing at an average 6.6% rate in the US, the need for a Product Manager role is growing at a whopping 32% rate.

But the US is far more ahead in comparison to India in bridging the job gap. As of today, there are only 20,000 Product Managers in India. A quick LinkedIn search alone shows 32,000+ positions unfilled for just base-level Product Managers.

Popular job roles in Product Management include:

Amazon, Myntra, Flipkart, Zoho, Ola, Uber, and PayTM are aggressively hiring for Product Manager roles in India. Bangalore remains the hotbed for Product Management professionals, being the highest paying city in India overall. Interestingly, it also has the highest number of vacancies, according to LinkedIn.

How has the Product Management job market been affected by COVID-19?

2020 has been an unprecedented year – several lives, and many more livelihoods have been lost due to the pandemic. Hirings came to a complete standstill due to the abrupt disruption of traditional sales channels, as well as sales-enablement channels, i.e. marketing, sourcing, and logistics. The definition of a normal work schedule has been entirely altered, and companies had to fast adapt to remotely working in this ‘sink or swim’ situation.

Paddling this new sailboat are the Product Managers. A 2019 survey showed the role of a Product Manager as one of the most promising ones of the year. However, that number has now increased. Why?

Brutal as it may sound, prioritizing, and acting at an accelerated pace is the core function of a Product Manager. With companies having to improve tech adoption abruptly, the entire product development lifecycle was altered, and who better than a Product Manager to pave the path! In fact, a McKinsey report showed that major firms across the globe accelerated tech adoption by 5 years because of the pandemic.

Coming back home, hiring trends in India didn’t alter, they amplified – as co-founder of TeamLease Rituparna Chakraborthy puts it. 

This means that the sectors and jobs that were already in bad shape turned significantly worse, but the sectors and jobs that were on the uptrend are now showing an exponential growth rate. Product Managers in India are in huge demand across all sectors, from agriculture to automobile. Some opportunity sectors such as ed-tech, remote tech services, and digital marketing firms are even posting a hiring surge for Product Managers in India.

Salary Trends in the Product Management Domain

As mentioned earlier, the average salary of a Product Manager professional in India is around INR 16.8 Lakhs per annum.

However, there is a significant difference in averages based on industry – apart from tech, logistics, and supply chain industry is the highest paying sector for Product Managers.

Product Manager Salaries By Role in India

Out of all job roles in the Product Management domain, a Technical Product Manager earns the highest average salary in a year.

Product Manager Salaries by Cities in India

Apart from Bangalore, tech-city Hyderabad is also a high-paying destination for Product Managers.

Product Manager Salaries by Experience

As per current data, 37.9% of Product Managers are freshers, 46.6% are mid-career professionals, while only 15.5% are senior executives. 

Skills Required To Become A Product Manager

Mini-CEOs, as they may be, Product Managers require mighty skill sets to show prowess in the workplace. Contrary to popular belief, however, technology doesn’t seem to be one of them. While 40.5% of Product Managers work in software, only 5% know how to code! In cases where such in-depth knowledge is a priority, companies tend to hire technical Product Managers specifically.

So, what is important according to the employers?

  • Communication: Product Management is 50% communication and 50% the rest. As someone who understands the ins and outs of a product, Product Managers need to be able to translate the needs of the customer to the employer. Doing this effectively is half the job done!
  • Leadership: While communicating the strategy is half the work; the other half gets done effectively only when Product Managers are able to combine the forces on the field. Product Managers design the workflow for their product, and to ensure smooth functioning, follow-through on team progress is of utmost importance.
  • Business Savvy: Apart from executive and decision-making skills, Product Managers also need to have a strong footing in their market. Being able to network within niche groups for promoting the product the right way is crucial – they are, after all, the face of the product, and the company would have all intention to portray them as such.
  • Financial: A no-brainer, Product Managers should be able to know the financial strategy for the product. They work with tight budgets, and money management is important to keep the team motivated. More importantly, Product Managers should also be on track with market trends, and be able to anticipate surges on both sides to adjust the supply-demand curve. Product Managers must have a thorough understanding of how to play the balancing act between the customer and the vendor.
  • Data buff: If data drives the digital world, Product Managers should be driven by data. In order to make effective decisions at the right time, knowing how to analyze both internal and external data is crucial.

 While many sidestep such a rigorous job profile, others seek thrill from it. This fact isn’t just heresy though. The proof lies in the list of Product Managers who became CEOs.

Suffice to say that Project Management values personality far higher than mere talent and credentials.

 The Role Of 5i Framework In Product Management

Given the incredible chasm between the job vacancies and the skill gap, all that talented, dynamic professionals, who have the mettle and drive to take on the role of Project Management requires, is a direction in order to grab this incredible opportunity. In order to systematize the skills that Product Managers are expected to have, the 5i Framework was developed. It helps professionals train particularly for managing the product life cycle.

5i stands for Ideate, Innovate, Implement, Industrialize and Improve.

This section breaks down each in detail:

1.      Ideate: Ideation isn’t about coming up with a Shark Tank worthy idea, it’s about being able to visualize the journey of the product, from inception till market saturation.

2.      Innovate: An idea on paper is worth zilch until the product USP is written in bold right alongside it.

3.      Implement: Product design requires vision, but design efficiency requires industry validation. Engineering from the ground-up ensures that product development takes up minimum capital, both in terms of time and resources.

4.      Industrialize: Going to the market is one thing. Keeping up with demand is a whole different ballgame altogether. A product might crumble under its own weight if the depth of understanding in terms of scalability is missing.

5.      Improve: Being able to propel market growth by data-backed decision-making is what makes or breaks a product. Continuous improvement is the elixir of a product’s lifetime.

Keeping the 5i Framework as the focal point of developing Product Management skills is a sure-shot method to survive the storm, be it during or post-pandemic. Focusing on the 5i Framework, Jigsaw Academy, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Management, Indore, has curated a 6-month online and comprehensive Postgraduate Certificate Program in Product Management for professionals from all industries, backgrounds, and experience levels. The only program that conforms to 5i, this course includes 180 hours of instructor-led mentorship, e-meets with Product experts from Fortune 500 companies, and more, presenting professionals a solid roadmap to upskill and convert the market opportunity. 

Not only this, but learners enrolled in this program get the golden opportunity to take their product idea from just a thought to a full-blown product! A Product Manager’s role is the training ground for future CEOs, and with our PGCP in Product Management, learners go through an entire product development life cycle, getting industry insights and training from the best minds in India. If you are someone who wishes to give their career a new dimension or wish to start your entrepreneurial journey, our Postgraduate Certificate Program in Product Management is perfect for you!

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