Philippine IT workers enjoy competitive salaries

However, a ZDNet Asia survey reveals only 24 percent of respondents in the Philippines hold at least one IT certification.

IT professionals in the Philippines are receiving above-average salaries compared to their counterparts in other professions, but most of them lack the IT certification their peers in the region have acquired, according to a survey conducted by ZDNet Asia.

The ZDNet Asia IT Salary Benchmark Survey 2008 revealed that IT employees in the Philippines earned an average annual salary of US$12,425 (500,736 peso).

This wage level, high by national standards, put the country in sixth place after Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and India, which have annual salaries of between US$13,864 and US$76,851. The Philippines is just a notch higher over last placer Indonesia, which had a US$7,709 average annual salary.

According to the National Statistics Office, the average annual income of Filipino families in 2006 was estimated at 172,000 peso (US$3,939).

The Philippines, however, was ranked at the bottom in another category with just 24 percent of the respondents saying they had at least one IT certification from a technology vendor or institution. Hong Kong topped the list with 48.9 percent, while Indonesia was able to dodge the pit with 28.6 percent.

A total of 2,521 IT professionals from the Philippines participated in the survey. They came from various industry sectors, across a range of job types, and from different company sizes. Some 92.6 percent of the respondents were working full-time, while the rest were contractors and independent consultants.

The ZDNet Asia survey found a correlation between years of experience, a higher education level, and a good salary. Those who had more than 10 years of experience enjoyed an average annual salary of 95,113 peso (US$2,178). The average number of years of experience among the Filipinos IT workers surveyed was 6.3 years.

Similarly, the survey indicated that larger companies generally gave higher compensation, compared to businesses with fewer employees. Respondents working in large companies, with more than 1,000 employees, commanded the highest average annual salary at 556,529 peso (US$12,745), followed by those in midsize companies (with between 100 and 999 employees) at 516,882 peso (US$11,837) and small companies (with fewer than 100 employees) at 456,183 peso (US$10,447).

Among sectors, the study said respondents from the legal and finance sector commanded the highest average annual salaries with 667,519 peso (US$15,286), followed by those in IT, Web and telecom with 520,612 peso (US$11,922). Those in government, education and health had the lowest average annual salary of 290,300 peso (US$6,648).

The study found that more than half (52.1 percent) of Filipino IT professionals had application development skills, nearly half (46 percent) have desktop/software skills, and more than one-third (38.4 percent) had Web development skills.

The report also noted that respondents who were contract/independent consultants in IT management, project management, communications, and other IT professionals, had higher average annual salaries than those who worked full-time at a company, while those in systems development and support earned less.

Melvin G. Calimag is a freelance IT writer based in the Philippines.

IT Salary Benchmark Survey 2008
ZDNet Asia conducted an online survey between late-2007 and early-2008 to gain insights into Asia's IT workforce and salary trends. It drew 21,635 respondents from sectors such as government, healthcare, IT, services, telecommunications, legal and finance, and across seven Asian economies: Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Some 2,521 respondents were polled from the Philippines, 64.2 percent of whom held jobs in the IT, Web and telecom sectors.

Note: In the following charts, PHP denotes the Philippine peso.

Average Annual Salary by Industry

Job Function Industry
Government Education and Health IT, Web & Telecom Legal and Finance Media, Marketing and Sales (non-IT) Manufacturing, Services and Others (non-IT) Combined
IT Management PHP
PHP 1,100,551 PHP 1,112,826 PHP
PHP 955,940
Project management PHP
PHP 580,091 PHP 568,970 PHP
PHP 521,982
Systems Development PHP
PHP 443,714 PHP 496,296 PHP
PHP 424,944
Communications PHP
PHP 324,094 PHP 551,043 PHP
PHP 299,756
Support PHP
PHP 336,421 PHP 1,306,341 PHP
PHP 390,348
Other IT Professionals PHP
PHP 460,044 PHP 126,730 PHP
PHP 406,660
Overall PHP
PHP 520,612 PHP 667,519 PHP
PHP 500,736

Average Annual Salary of the Top Five IT Skills

% of Respondents IT Skills Average Annual Salary
52.1% Application Development PHP 599,449
46.0% Desktops/ Software PHP 495,638
38.4% Web Development PHP 487,917
37.0% Database Management PHP 498,867
36.8% System Administration PHP 512,278

Average Annual Salary by Job Function and Employment Status

Job Function Employment Status
Contract Full-time Combined
IT Management PHP 994,072 PHP 954,539 PHP 955,940
Project management PHP 584,410 PHP 513,026 PHP 521,982
Systems Development PHP 373,416 PHP 429,520 PHP 424,944
Communications PHP 355,761 PHP 295,951 PHP 299,756
Support PHP 233,963 PHP 391,532 PHP 390,348
Other IT Professionals PHP 825,582 PHP 384,938 PHP 406,660
Overall PHP 504,309 PHP 500,444 PHP 500,736