IT salaries to go up in China, S'pore

update IT and telecoms companies in the two countries expect pay increments and new hires during this quarter, according to latest study.

update Companies in the IT and telecoms (IT&T) sector across Asia, particularly China and Singapore, expect to offer higher remuneration this quarter, according to a new report from human resources agency Hudson.

Nearly 2,400 key employment decision makers in China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore were surveyed for the report, according to Hudson. Respondents were from companies in six industry segments: IT&T, banking and professional services, consumer, healthcare and life sciences, manufacturing, and media, public relations and advertising.

The report, released Tuesday, noted that 82 percent of IT&T companies in Singapore anticipated salary increases during the third quarter of 2006. Of these, 44 percent said they were expecting to hand out increases of 5 percent or more.

Lynne Ng, general manager at recruitment agency Adecco, agreed that salaries are climbing in Singapore's IT industry. Brisk hiring activities can also be expected and IT professionals will likely be encouraged--by this environment--to change jobs, she added.

In China, 5 percent of IT&T companies forecast a salary raise of more than 15 percent, the highest among the six industry segments. About 57 percent of those polled expected to hand out increments of between 5 percent and 15 percent, while another 18 percent predicted pay raises of under 5 percent.

Salary sentiments, however, were not as positive in Hong Kong. Respondents forecast minimal or no pay increases, where 69 percent indicated that salaries would remain the same, while 31 percent said pay raises will be less than 5 percent.

On the bright side, the employment outlook in the IT&T sector remains buoyant for all China, Hong Kong and Singapore, noted Hudson.

The hiring trend for all job functions remains positive across the sector this quarter, according to Hudson. This is notably so in Hong Kong, where 62 percent of respondents anticipated a headcount growth in the third quarter, compared to 38 percent during the same period last year. The demand for new hires was expected to be particularly strong in "development and sales roles", Hudson added.

In Singapore, 54 percent of IT&T companies planned to hire new staff, up from 49 percent during the third quarter of 2005, while 57 percent of Chinese IT&T companies also intend to increase headcount, a slight increase from the previous quarter. Although the hiring forecast for the IT&T industry in China is one of the lowest among the six sectors, the Hudson report noted that expansion in the other sectors will help drive demand for new IT projects.

In addition, the demand for IT specialists--regardless of industry sector--is strongest in Singapore at 21 percent of the estimated increase in headcount. In the report, Hudson attributed this demand to "Singapore’s rapid development as a regional hub for companies' IT operations".

In China and Hong Kong, 3 percent and 8 percent, respectively, of the overall increase in new hires for the IT&T industry will go to IT professionals.

Andrew Sansom, director of DP Search, a recruitment agency specializing in the IT and finance industries in Southeast Asia, told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail that the strong hiring outlook now means both prospective candidates and employers have a bigger basket to pick from.

"Job seekers have more choice now, for sure, but [the growth is] still well short of pre-2001 levels," he said. "Hirers are very choosy and won't recruit just to fill headcount. They expect to see more resumes now than before, and take longer to make decisions."

Companies in the banking and professional services industry indicated the highest level of hiring activity, and is consistently ranked first or second in China, Hong Kong and Singapore, in terms of expected increase in headcount.