Talent crunch raises some CIO salaries

Hudson attributes overall higher pay packages to competition among banks to attract top IT talent; reveals latest IT salary guide for four Asian countries.
Written by Isabelle Chan, Contributor

Average salaries for top IT positions have gone up by as much as 52 percent in Singapore, thanks to a tight labor market and stronger competition to attract talent, says recruitment company Hudson.

In its latest salary guide of IT and telecommunications professionals, Hudson reported that the average starting salary for chief information officers (CIOs) and chief technology officers (CTOs) in Singapore have gone up from S$250,000 (US$163,130) in 2005 to S$280,000 (US$182,726) last year. At the top end, salaries have scaled up to S$380,000 (US$247,986).

Yeo Gek Cheng, director of Hudson's IT&T industry practice in Singapore, told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail: "The increase is due to the job market picking up, resulting in more competition for [executives at] this management level."

According to Hudson, much of the competition for such senior talent is in the banking space.

"Singapore has seen an unprecedented amount of back-office relocation from head office banks in the last few years, [among] top-tier investment banks," Yeo said.

"This has created huge demand for senior technology heads within a very small working population, plus you have the big three Singaporean banks and others all competing to secure the service of the leading candidates," she added.

Hudson also attributed the salary increments to "more movement at this level for 2006" due to recovery in the market.

"Candidates tend to negotiate for better salaries when they change jobs, so the overall figure in the market will increase. That's not surprising at all in a market where top talent is scarce and top candidates are in limited supply," Yeo said. "In addition, 2006 was a better year compared to 2005, so the bonus component would have been better as well."

However, average salaries remained stable for these senior IT management positions in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Japan. Touching on the disparity, Yeo explained: "Hong Kong and Tokyo are more mature markets with existing IT departments within the technology space, so the rise of senior level IT salaries in Singapore would be from a core group of banks in expansion mode."

She added that Singapore salaries could still rise further as "they are still a long way behind Hong Kong and Tokyo".

The graph below shows Hudson's salary guide for selected IT positions. All salary ranges are represented in terms of total salary package, excluding discretionary bonuses, stock options, shares or other variable incentives. The salaries are also based on various executive-level positions within multinational corporations and experienced hires, and are not industry benchmarks or guarantees for salaries, said Hudson.

Salary guide for selected senior IT positions

    Hong Kong Singapore Shanghai Japan
  Years of experience HK$
Annual package
JPY Annual package
Chief Information/
Technology Officer
15 1.5M – 2.4M 280K – 380K 500K – 1M 20M – 25M
Network Engineer
5 700K – 900K 150K – 180K 200K – 350K 7M – 9M
10 700K – 900K 150K – 200K 200K – 350K 10M – 12M
Security Consultant 10 600K – 800K 70K – 100K 300K – 500K 8M – 10M
Senior Unix
10 600K – 800K 80K N/A 8M - 10M
Network Architect 5 600K – 900K 90K 200K – 350K 6M – 9M
Senior Client Server
or NET/ J2EE Developer
5 650K – 950K 120K – 180K 150K – 250K 6M – 10M
Development Manager
10 800K – 1.2M 100K – 120K 300K – 500K 10M – 11M
Business Process
10 700K - 1M 90K - 120K 200K - 350K 9M - 12M
  800K – 1M 180K – 240K 150K – 300K N/A
  800K – 1M 120K – 200K 150K – 300K N/A
Manager–Help Desk   800K – 900K 120K – 180K 150K – 300K 6M – 10M
Manager Testing
Applications &
  700K – 1.2M 120K – 140K 150K – 250K N/A
IT Business Analyst 5+ 550K – 750K 120K – 180K 200K – 300K 7M – 9M
ERP Business
5+ 600K+ 80K 100K - 120K N/A
ERP Consultant
5 - 8 600K - 1M 90K - 140K 100K - 300K N/A
ERP Project
7+ 700K+ 100K+ 200K - 400K N/A
ERP Consultant
3 - 5 400K - 600K 50K -100K 100K - 200K N/A

Source: Hudson, February 2007
All salary ranges are represented in terms of total guaranteed package, and exclude discretionary bonuses, stock options, shares and other variable incentives, as of January 2007.

Editorial standards