Banks drive up IT salaries in S'pore, HK

Investment banks are willing to pay top dollars to attract "the best IT candidates in the market", new Hudson salary report shows.

Investment banks are "the best-paying employers" of IT professionals in Hong Kong and Singapore, according to new data from human resources agency Hudson.

Ellis Seder, Hudson's IT&T manager for Hong Kong, said Monday in a phone interview: "Investment banks are snapping up the best IT candidates in the market.

"An IT support analyst who is currently paid HK$25,000 (US$3,202) a month [by] an IT vendor or a smaller bank, and has good communication skills, [can easily be offered] double his salary or a 50 percent to 60 percent increase by a bigger bank," Seder told ZDNet Asia. He added that banks typically hire candidates working in other banks, IT vendors and consultancies, as well as telcos.

Jobs that have seen the biggest pay hikes go to employees that have both IT and business acumen, Sedder said, noting that increasingly, "technical skills are [deemed to be] secondary".

"[Employers want] IT professionals, across all functions, to have business knowledge and excellent communication skills," he said.

According to Hudson, the average annual package of a CIO in a Hong Kong bank is between HK$3 million (US$384,300) and HK$4 million (US$512,400), while the equivalent in Singapore draws an average of S$500,000 (US$349,650) to S$600,000 (US$419,580).

Hong Kong-based IT project managers with financial product knowledge can earn an annual income of some HK$700,000 (US$89,670) to HK$1.8 million (US$230,580), while their counterparts in Singapore can earn between S$120,000 (US$83,916) to S$250,000 (US$174,825).

Similarly, a Java developer with financial product knowledge can command HK$700,000 (US$89,670) to HK$1.2 million (US$153,720) in Hong Kong, and S$100,000 (US$69,930) to S$150,000 (US$104,895) in Singapore.

IT positions are among the highest paid in Hong Kong, said Seder. This is part of a larger global trend where companies have increased their IT spend in the last 18 months, to upgrade their systems or commission projects on a region-wide scale, he said.

But while there is currently strong demand for IT professionals in the financial services, this upturn "can't last forever", he noted.

China reports slower salary growth
Hudson reported that positions in R&D (research and development) as well as industry consulting, achieved the highest salary growth rates in China. However, pay increases have slowed over the past few years in the country.

Raymond Wong, Hudson's country manager for China, told ZDNet Asia that while salaries are still rising, the "rate has stabilized" to about 10 percent, compared to 20 percent to 25 percent in 2000.

Despite the slowdown, the average income for the IT&T sector in China remained "high", he said.