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Tech salary growth in APAC a mixed bag

The growing demand for IT pros to support digital transformation projects has not translated to higher salaries across the board, survey finds

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The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the overall demand for IT talent across the Asia-Pacific region as organisations double up on digital transformation to tap new business opportunities.

This has pushed up IT wages to as high as $300,000 per annum last year for those in managerial positions including CIOs and chief technology officers, while the median salaries across all job functions and seniority levels stood at $46,750.

Those were some of the key findings from the latest Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT salary survey, where 40% of APAC respondents reported getting an increment while 27.4% were given a bonus last year. About 13% enjoyed a bigger renumeration package that included stock options, while 9.1% took a pay cut.

Given the tight IT labour market, about four in 10 IT professionals were open to new job opportunities even though they were not actively seeking a new role. The buoyant job prospects were reflected in the optimism around salary increments this year.

According to the survey, nearly half (48.9%) of APAC respondents expected their salaries to increase this year, including 25.2% who would most likely receive a bonus.

About 40% of respondents, however, expected their salaries to remain the same. They hailed from organisations that were most affected by the pandemic, where one in four reported that wage freezes were still in place, along with reduced work hours. About one in 10 IT workers were also furloughed.

Among those who still had jobs, about one in five worked longer hours to keep up with business demands. One in five companies also hired additional IT staff to handle the higher workloads and 8% increased their use of contractors.

The IT industry has been improving its workforce diversity in recent years, and those efforts are still in progress. According to the survey, nearly 60% of respondents said their organisations were addressing gender equality and about 42% were addressing age-related hiring issues.

According to Korn Ferry’s Global talent crunch study, the Asia-Pacific region could face an acute talent shortage of two million technology, media, and telecommunications workers by 2030. Data analytics, cyber security and cloud computing are some areas where talent remains lacking as more organisations invest more in those technologies to gain a competitive edge.

To plug the talent gap, companies such as Singapore’s DBS Bank have even launched an in-house digital training institute to keep its nearly 5,000-strong technology workforce updated with cutting-edge skills for the future.

Dubbed the DBS Future Tech Academy, the institute will focus on three technology disciplines for a start – site reliability engineering, data processing and analytics, as well as application security. DBS will evaluate more programmes to cover other key technology domains later this year.

In India, Amazon Web Services has been upskilling local developers, students and the next generation of IT leaders, while Australia’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology has also teamed up with AWS to get IT and business professionals up to speed with cloud computing.

Patrick Cher, an IT project manager who expects a raise this year, said there is also growing demand for user experience experts, particularly as organisations ramp up on digital engagement initiatives, as well as project managers in the financial technology (fintech) space.

“The fintech companies will need more project managers and developers as they roll out new services in markets with digital banking regimes,” he said.

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