The space sector has seen many innovations in the country and this has sparked the interest of many. The development opens the doors for employment opportunities, especially in the senior level.

Jaideep Kewalramani, Head of Employability Business & COO, TeamLease Edtech, says the outlook for leadership hiring in the space sector remains strong. This sector is witnessing large long-term investments; the changes in FDI policy have brought in new players eyeing a slice of the space market, according to him.

Typically, tenured and senior leadership is required to protect long-term investments. Senior leaders are in demand for key functions like R&D and production as these are at the core of such specialised ventures.

Somdutta Singh, Founder and CEO of Assiduus Global Inc, says India’s space sector is seeing a growth spurt because private players are entering it. This translates to exciting opportunities, especially at leadership levels.

He points out that the country’s space economy is valued at approximately $8.4 billion, and a report by EY and ISpA predicts it to reach $12.85 billion by 2025.

There are now over 400 private space companies in India, ranking it fifth globally in this segment. This is a big jump from just 11 companies in 2019. Funding reached $124.7 million in 2023, up from $67.2 million in 2021. Naturally, the space sector is hungry for leaders who can take charge of projects from initial brainstorming to launch to smooth operations.
Skills in demand

Kewalramani of TeamLease Edtech clarifies that the skills required to be successful in leadership roles in this sector will include risk management, portfolio management, advocacy & influence, communication, partner management and learning agility.Singh points out that the sector needs leaders for spacecraft design and development, launch vehicle development, ground station management to keep lines of communication with spacecraft open, and remote sensing & applications to turn all the space data into something useful for everyone to analyse and study. Plus, with the industry changing so rapidly, space policy & regulation specialists are needed to make sure the rules of the game are updated promptly. Business development directors will have to ensure important deals get signed constantly to keep the whole system growing.

To excel in leadership positions within the domestic space industry, a confluence of technical expertise, strong leadership acumen and business understanding is paramount. A robust foundation in engineering disciplines like aerospace, mechanical or related fields is a must. Deep technical knowledge facilitates a comprehensive understanding of spacecraft systems, launch vehicles or application areas. Visionary thinking, coupled with the ability to formulate strategic plans and make decisive calls, is also essential. A key leadership competency — like in any sector — is the ability to inspire and motivate teams to achieve ambitious goals.

One more trait is a keen understanding of the space economy, including market trends and financial management principles. Leaders who can identify new business opportunities, foster strategic partnerships and secure contracts will be in high demand. Another significant competitive advantage is in-depth expertise within a specific niche — be it launch vehicle development, spacecraft design or space-based applications.

Types of job roles/pay package

Kewalramani estimates the C-suite in the space sector can attract packages ranging from Rs 60 lakh to Rs 5 crore depending on the scale of the business venture and the experience. Middle management can attract Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1.5 crore and junior management about Rs 15 lakh to Rs 35 lakh. The roles in demand will be mostly across R&D, production, quality, testing, operations, partner development, technology, electronics, ai, computing and data science.

Singh says the pay range will depend on the role. Spacecraft design & development leaders can get Rs 50 lakh-Rs 1 crore; launch vehicle development leaders Rs 40-80 lakh; station management heads Rs 30-60 lakh; remote sensing & applications experts Rs 25-50 lakh; space policy & regulation specialists Rs 30-70 lakh; and space business development directors Rs 40 lakh-Rs 1 crore, he says. The compensation could include stock options, bonuses and other benefits.

What should leaders in the sector be careful about

The industry is a dynamic and rapidly evolving landscape and so leaders must be highly adaptable and possess a continuous learning mindset to embrace emerging technologies and navigate industry shifts. Besides, the regulatory framework for private space companies in India is under development. Leaders must have a keen understanding of evolving policies and the ability to navigate this complex legislative landscape, says Singh.

The country’s space sector is competing with established players globally. Leaders need to have a global perspective to stay ahead, forge strategic international partnerships, and maintain a competitive edge.

Finally, attracting, retaining, and developing top talent will be a crucial leadership skill. The current space industry workforce may not fully meet the demands of rapid growth, and fostering a high-performing team will depend on a leader’s ability to address talent acquisition and development.


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