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Talent shortage drives IT salary rise in Singapore

IT salaries are rising fast in Singapore, fuelled by shortages in key areas and Singapore's image as a gateway to Asia for western businesses

IT salaries in Singapore are increasing at up to 15%, fuelled by a shortage of workers in the IT industry.

The IT sector is considered one of the most competitive recruitment markets in Singapore. This is largely because it is seen as the gateway to businesses in south-east Asia with its sound infrastructure making it attractive to multinational corporations. 

There is a shortage of workers in the IT industry who have both technical and business skills, according to ZW HR Consulting’s Singapore IT Salary Guide for 2015/16.

“The year 2015 is likely to be a reasonably good period for IT professionals,” said Mervin Chui, managing director of ZW HR Consulting Singapore.

“The average salary ranges for professionals are up by 10-15% for 2015/16 as compared to the 2014/15 figures. Hiring is still strong in many areas such as mobile applications, data analytics, business intelligence and cloud computing. Cyber security professionals and application developers are in demand due to increasing regulations and customers concern for data protection,” said Chui.

Experienced skilled IT professionals can expect to see salary hikes, said Chui.

Serge Shine, managing director Asia at recruitment firm Spring Professional - Adecco Group, said salaries are increasing at 5-10% across a number of industries. But IT professionals can expect higher increases than other industries, he said.

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Organisations across the Asean region are using artificial intelligence technologies, with examples in health and finance sector.

“With the economic turmoil, it is difficult to estimate salary increases for next year but, with technology driving so many aspects of businesses, IT professionals are likely to remain in demand,” said Shine.

“A premium is needed for professionals to change jobs, but those that stay at the same job are likely to get 5-10% salary increases.”

ZW HR said the IT professionals likely to be in demand in 2015/16 are: software developers, mobile application developers, database administrators, cloud computing, information security/ cyber security, network engineers, helpdesk/technical support, project managers, web designers/developers and big data.

The demand for IT skills varies across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region, said Shine.

The significant business process industry in the Philippines means a strong demand for IT professionals, while organisations in Vietnam are seeking software and applications skills, he said.

Malaysia is seeking to strengthen its network infrastructure in the financial services industry, while both Singapore and Thailand are seeing a demand for mid to senior level positions, with Singapore having the greatest demand for senior positions in Asean.

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