Rich, certified little red dot

Rich, certified little red dot

Summary: Singapore has some of the most qualified--44 percent of respondents hold at least one professional certification--and highest-paid IT professionals in the region.

TOPICS: IT Employment

It may only be a little red dot on the globe, but the tiny island of Singapore houses some of the most certified and highest-paid IT professionals in the region.

According to the IT employment survey, 44 percent of 1,792 respondents in Singapore owned at least one professional certification--the second highest percentile in the region after Hong Kong's 47 percent.

Microsoft-stamped papers prove to be popular in Singapore, where Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator were among the top five most popular certifications held by IT professionals in the island-state.

In fact, 19 percent of respondents were MCP certified--the most popular professional certification--followed by 17.3 percent who held Cisco Certified Network Associate.

IT professionals in the country were also among the highest paid in the region. Ranked second only to their peers in Hong Kong, Singapore's IT professionals raked in an average salary of S$64,943 (US$41,501) per year.

IT management specialists were some of the highest paid workers, pulling in an average annual salary of S$95,487 (US$61,167), while project development executives earned S$75,021 (US$48,056) a year.

System developers were among the lowest paid, raking in an average annual salary of S$51,363 (US$32,902).

And the more years IT professionals trudged in their field, the more they were likely to be paid where those with more than 10 years' experience, enjoyed an average yearly salary of S$100,362 (US$64,289). This figure is 55 percent higher than the overall annual wage of S$64,943 (US$41,601) among respondents in Singapore.

The country, however, is still lacking the right skills, said Doris Cheng, managing director of Doris Cheng & Associates, a executive search company that specializes in recruiting vice-presidents and directors for U.S. technology companies.

There is a lack of supply in functional heads such as HR (human resource), finance and legal directors who are business savvy because employers want business-minded people who understand finance and legal matters, Cheng said.

"Often candidates in these fields are experts in their [respective] function but may not necessarily think and act like businessmen," she said. "Those who do are highly sort after and command a premium."

"Employers continue to look for managers who can think strategically and execute operationally," she added.

Judging by the number of calls candidates receive from recruiters, Cheng described Singapore's current employment landscape as vibrant, where the year kicked off to a good start with salaries on the upward path.

She noted that this vibrancy should be sustainable "as long as nothing catastrophic happens that impacts the U.S. or Asian economies", and added that the hottest jobs are those with revenue-generating roles.

With growing outsourcing activities though, Cheng recommended that professionals pick up skills on managing outsourced vendors to stay relevant in their company. "Learn all about outsourcing, how to do it, why people do it and the benefits and pitfalls [of doing so]," she said.

Key findings of ZDNet Asia's IT Salary Benchmark 2006 Survey
ZDNet Asia conducted a survey on the Internet between Aug. 25 and Nov. 6, 2006, to gain insights into Asia's IT workforce and salary trends. The survey drew 5,090 respondents from industry sectors such as government, healthcare, IT, services, telecommunications, legal and finance, across seven Asian countries: Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Spotlight: Singapore
The survey drew 1,792 respondents across several IT positions, which are broadly categorized into IT management, project development and systems development.


Average annual IT salary in Singapore

Job function Average Annual Salary
(Singapore dollars)
IT Management
Project development
Systems development
Other IT Professionals
Years of experience  
Less than 5 years
5 to 10 years 63,171
More than 10 years
Overall 64,943
By industry  
IT, Web, telecom
Government, education, healthcare 67,450
Legal and finance
Media, marketing, sales 60,881
Mfg, services, others
Overall 64,943

Type of Experience

Technology skills % of Respondents
Application Development
Operating Systems
Servers/Networking 42
System Administration
IT Security 25
Infrastructure Management
IT Outsourcing
Data Center
Database Management
Enterprise Applications
Web Development
Web Services
Quality Assurance Testing

Top 5 Certifications
(44% of respondents hold at least 1 certification)

Certification Name % of Respondents with at least 1 certification
1. Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)
2. Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
3. Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE)
4. Project Management (PMP) 12.9
5. Microsoft Certified System Administrator (MCSA)
See Charts

Topic: IT Employment


Eileen Yu began covering the IT industry when Asynchronous Transfer Mode was still hip and e-commerce was the new buzzword. Currently a freelance blogger and content specialist based in Singapore, she has over 16 years of industry experience with various publications including ZDNet, IDG, and Singapore Press Holdings.

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  • IT consultants with specialised certifications like SAP and Oracle are also highly in demand. Particularly because most organisations ( large and SME's ) are going in for automation of their business processes.

    Supply Chain Certification is another area where the Singapore Government has put a thrust on and this will be one of the most required certifications in the near future.
  • Interesting that DR (Disaster Recovery) or data recovery isn't mentioned. Very hot field in the USA presntly. Tivoli Storage Management, Veritas, etc.
  • Disaster Recovery

    Well it seems that most organisations in Singapore are paying more attention to preventive measures and outsourcing Disaster Management to third parties like Cisco Certis. However, this predominant thought will change, but it requires the sacrificial lamb (so to speak) to demonstrate the need for DR capabilities.