Thai ICT professionals gain as vendors jostle

But tech salaries in Thailand are likely to remain unchanged or rise only slightly in the third quarter of 2008, says an HR expert.

As technology vendors including new industry players, try to gain market share in Thailand, this boost spells great news for infocomm technology (ICT) professionals in the kingdom.

Peter Fischbach, president of Bangkok-based ISM Technology Recruitment, said it presents good opportunities for those who have a proven track record of successfully selling, and/or implementing technology products and services.

The IT, Web and telecom sector is a competitive one in much of the world, and Thailand is no exception. In fact, 63.1 percent of Thai respondents in the ZDNet Asia IT Salary Benchmark Survey 2008 were from this sector.

Fischbach noted that demand for qualified permanent and contract IT professionals in other industries, especially financial services, remains strong as well.

According to the ZDNet Asia survey, which polled 971 complete responses from Thailand, those working in Thailand's legal and finance sector had the highest average annual salary at 801,346 baht (US$24,922).

The average annual IT salary in Thailand stood at 746,096 baht (US$23,204).

While 93.2 percent of respondents from the country were working full-time, Fischbach noted that contract rates in Thailand are usually 25 percent to 30 percent higher than the applicable salary range for permanent staff in the same position.

He added that the rates are also significantly affected by variables such as the length of a contract.

"The company hiring their services is willing to pay more because it gets the best specialist resources, but need not commit to a long-term employment relationship," Fischbach explained, in an e-mail interview with ZDNet Asia.

"That flexibility has a real financial value to the company, and some part of that value translates into the rates paid to the contractor being higher than salaries paid to permanent staff," he said.

Overall, Fischbach noted the rate of salary increases in Thailand has slowed, and in some cases "is merely holding steady". For candidates who have sought-after skills, and especially if they also have good English, "demand remains healthy and the salaries good", he added.

Over the next quarter, Fischbach expects IT salaries in Thailand to remain mostly unchanged, or increasing only slightly for certain high-demand skills.

"The outlook for the rest of the year is more difficult to assess," he noted. "If the government follows through on its promises to be supportive of foreign investment, then IT salaries should see an upturn as demand for the leading-edge skills which global companies require outpaces the local supply."

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 971 respondents were polled from Thailand, 78.8 percent of whom held jobs in the IT, Web and telecom sectors.

Note: In the following charts, THB denotes the Thai baht.

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 THB
THB 1,275,386 THB 1,155,744 THB
THB 1,147,537
Project management THB
THB 795,019 THB 629,684 THB
THB 739,119
Systems Development THB
THB 554,850 THB 440,770 THB
THB 542,965
Communications NA THB 522,372 THB 391,956 THB
THB 540,005
Support THB
THB 347,467 THB 1,486,356 THB
THB 383,304
Other IT Professionals THB
THB 860,959 THB 1,891,561 THB
THB 871,112
Overall THB
THB 765,718 THB 801,346 THB
THB 746,096

Average Annual Salary of the Top Five IT Skills

% of Respondents IT Skills Average Annual Salary
54.1% Application Development THB 726,384
36.1% Servers/ Networking THB 727,070
35.9% System Administration THB 712,525
33.6% Database Management THB 733,464
33.1% Desktops/ Software THB 706,543

Average Annual Salary by Job Function and Employment Status

Job Function Employment Status
Contract Full-time Combined
IT Management THB 1,056,518 THB 1,151,419 THB 1,147,537
Project management THB 1,155,804 THB 681,805 THB 739,119
Systems Development THB 396,598 THB 548,928 THB 542,965
Communications THB 105,492 THB 572,799 THB 540,005
Support THB 549,956 THB 380,616 THB 383,304
Other IT Professionals THB 1,490,727 THB 809,150 THB 871,112
Overall THB 963,194 THB 730,263 THB 746,096