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IT professionals in Singapore reap high rewards

IT pay rates in Singapore dwarf those in neighbouring countries and could be increased further due to an emerging skills gap

Businesses in Singapore are offering IT professionals attractive pay rates that dwarf those found throughout the rest of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

According to the TechTarget salary survey 2016 Apac, around a third (30%) of IT professionals in Singapore are paid more than US$100,000 a year while only 8% earn US$25,000 or less.

In Malayisia, the same research revealed that only around 10% of IT professionals earn US$100,000 or more a year and around 30% earn US$25,000 or less. In the Asean region as a whole, 30% receive under US$25,000 while 17% get more than US$100,000.

Experience is in demand in Singapore, with the average salary for IT professionals in Singapore with more than 20 years’ experience being US$97,000. Those with seven to 19 years’ experience average US$80,000 in annual pay, while those with less than seven years of experience receive almost US$35,000 on average.

In Malaysia, more than 20 years of experience gives IT professionals an average of US$57,000 a year, with seven to 19 years’ experience averaging US$38,000, and less than seven years reaching around US$22,000.

In the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam, professionals with under seven years’ experience are paid an average of US$13,000. Those with between seven and 19 years’ experience receive US$37,000, while more than 20 years in the profession commands US$68,000 on  average.

But for the lower earners in the Asean region, remuneration is being offered outside the basic salary, such as bonuses and stock offers.

Some 28% of Asean IT professionals receive 30% or more of their total benefits outside salary. This trend sees IT professionals get more benefits outside their salary in their early careers, which then gradually reduces until they reach the most senior levels where it increases again.

Read more about IT skills in Asean region

Pay rates could increase as competition for talent becomes fierce. Malaysia and Singapore face a shortage of technology talent as they attempt to bring local IT up to date in the digital world, with keen competition making it harder to attract the right skills.

According to recruitment company Randstad, organisations in Malaysia are trying to bring more roles in-house but are competing with tech service providers for talent.

Randstad said the number of vacancies in Singapore has increased by close to 50% in the past two years as businesses strive to digitise their operations and processes.

The Singapore government is trying to address this through the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA). The IMDA has programmes of education beginning at preschool level to ensure Singapore – with a population of under six million – has the skills for the future.

At a recent event, Gabriel Lim, CEO of IMDA, said the organisation will look at how it can equip citizens with more skills to be able to do well in a world where convergence and digitalisation will become much more important.

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