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Why are so many high-paid Indian techies moonlighting? Reddit decodes

India’s booming IT sector offers some of the country’s highest-paid jobs – so why have so many techies taken to ‘moonlighting’?

September 23, 2022 / 11:03 AM IST

India’s booming IT sector offers some of the country’s highest-paid jobs – so why have so many techies taken to ‘moonlighting’? That is the mystery Reddit is trying to decode after Infosys, one of India’s top tech firms, warned its employees against moonlighting in an email this week.

Moonlighting – the practice of working an additional job alongside one’s primary source of income - appears to be the flavour of the season, and corporates are clearly not happy about it. Infosys warned employees that it “strictly discourages dual employment”, and defines moonlighting as a practice of working on a second job during or outside of regular business hours.

These sentiments were earlier echoed by Wipro chairman Rishad Premji, who equated moonlighting with cheating.

After details of Infosys’ warning made the news, a Reddit discussion sprung up on the need for moonlighting. “Why are lot of high-paid Indian techies moonlighting?” one Reddit user asked on the ‘India’ subreddit, garnering a ton of responses.

Close

Here is a look at some possible reasons why many Indian techies feel the need to work an additional job despite drawing a handsome salary:

Benefits of working remotely

Several Reddit users said the remote work revolution brought on by the pandemic led to increased instances of moonlighting. With more time on their hands, and lack of constant supervision that comes with working out of an office, techies turned to moonlighting as an additional source of income.

“Remote work has allowed them to get foreign opportunities and they've exploited every loopholes to get those jobs. Say you work at company A for 15 lpa, and mostly work 9am-5pm, you could easily take a remote us job where your working hours would be 8pm- 4am,” one Reddit user explained.

High taxes

With high salaries come higher taxes. One person who claimed to be a techie responded to the Reddit question by blaming high tax rates coupled with crazy inflation. “Techie here.... 30% tax bracket with inflation is crazy for everyone,” the Reddit user wrote.

“Because of inflation and high tax rates,” another user agreed.

In India, individuals earning more than Rs 15 lakh per annum fall in the 30% tax bracket. Those who earn between Rs 12.5 lakh to Rs 15 lakh fall in the 25% tax bracket.

To build start-ups

Building one’s own business or company is an endeavour fraught with financial risks that can be offset by having a regular source of income.

It is worth noting that business empires have been built on the backs on moonlighting founders. Case in point – Flipkart, which was founded in October 2007 by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal.

The practice of moonlighting allows employees to work on their own business after work hours while still drawing a regular salary. As one Reddit user summed it up: “I was working onsite for an IT giant. Outside my working hours I kept working on my side gig, built my own business, resigned and became my own boss doing something I love.”

Salaries are not that high

One point that came up again and again in the Reddit discussion was that contrary to popular perception, starting salaries in tech jobs are not actually that high. Several users gave the example of Infosys itself, which hires freshers at relatively low salaries.

“Two of my friends started in Infosys at same time at pay of around 3 Lacs per year in 2010. I think this would answer your question,” one person wrote.

“Infosys does not pay well. From almost 15 years they haven't revised salaries and annual hikes are like 3 to 6%,” another remarked.

Rising inflation

Finally, several people also said that trying to earn extra bucks on the side is a natural result of inflation.

With the price of everyday commodities rising, people are forced to take up two jobs to fund their lifestyle. “With the kind of s***** salaries employees getting paid these days and rising inflation, no wonder people are looking for more money making opportunities,” one Reddit user said.
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first published: Sep 14, 2022 10:33 am
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