The highs (and lows) of an IT salary in Hong Kong

By Robert Half on 11 April 2016

While technology is one of the hottest hiring sectors at the moment, not all tech jobs are well-paying. Here’s the range of salaries in Hong Kong and Singapore.

The Robert Half Salary Guide saw emerging technology hiring trends across the two major Asian cities – Singapore and Hong Kong.

Chief among these was an increased zeal for expansion amongst business leaders in both cities. With 56% of business leaders in Hong Kong, and 55% in Singapore, citing business growth and expansion as a key driver for their recruitment efforts into the New Year.

However, despite the desire to expand teams 9 out of 10 CIOs and CTOs surveyed stated that it has become increasingly challenging to find skilled candidates in the IT sector.

As a result, the majority of IT business leaders are concerned about retaining top IT talent and more than half plan to increase salaries in Hong Kong and Singapore to help attract top talent and retain their best staff. A further third of those surveyed even plan to give larger bonuses.

Who will be the main beneficiaries of this increase? Take a look at the range of tech salaries in the latest Salary Guide to find out.

Best-paying tech jobs

1) Project Management

Programme and project management are in top demand as companies look to launch new projects/initiatives – a recruitment driver for 45% of respondents in Singapore and 47% in Hong Kong.

A project manager in Hong Kong, for example, stands to earn between HK$600,000 – HK$1,200,000 while his peer in Singapore can earn between S$80,000 – S$120,000.

A programme manager meanwhile, as the next level up from project manager, and with all the leadership skills and business knowledge that come with such a position can earn between HK$720,000 – HK$1,400,000 in Hong Kong. Whilst their Singapore peers (within the financial services sector) can earn between S$200,000 – S$300,000. 

2) Audit/Risk continue to be hot

The highest change in tech salaries occurred within high demand skills such as IT audit and IT risk. As salaries in Singapore rose by 11% over the year in 2016 to S$75,000 – S$120,000 within financial services, and 21% to S$90,000 – S$130,000 for senior roles outside of banking.

While salaries in Hong Kong did not see such a dramatic increase (4% increase from 2015 to 2016), the salary range for IT Risk professionals is still in the top bracket at HK$540,000 – HK$1,000,000. 

3) Technology sales still a big ticket

Among the different sectors, technology sales, especially to other companies, have always been the big-ticket, higher-margin sell – and it shows in the remuneration.

A sales/business development manager/director can expect a S$130,000 – S$220,000 salary in Singapore, an increase of 9% from the previous year. However, given the fast evolving nature of the technology sector, sales personnel need to be on their toes and have a clear view as to how their solution can solve tomorrow’s business challenge.

Looking for that next pay rise? Read our "Salary Negotiation Tips – what you need to know"

Helpdesk jobs face offshore threat

Even with the optimistic expansion plans, CIOs and CTOs have to battle the twin-headed dragon of rising cost and limited talent. With roles that can be moved offshore ranking at the bottom of the list when it comes to salary remuneration.

Helpdesk and application support has been increasingly moved to lower-cost locations that can offer multi-language support, guaranteed service levels and 24/7 availability. According to Gartner, India has retained its lead in this sector, based upon global revenue figures, although Latin American and Eastern European countries are also competing aggressively for offshore contracts.

A helpdesk analyst in Hong Kong stands to earn HK$240,000 – HK$540,000 while a bank helpdesk support staff’s salary in Singapore is about S$48,000 – S$70,000 with no salary increase from 2015 – 2016. Outside of banking, helpdesk support staff in Singapore can expect to earn about S$42,000 – S$55,000 – still among the lowest-paid staff in technology.

Application support salaries are also the bottom rungs, with salaries in Singapore ranging between S$54,000 – S$74,000.

Top skills needed

Other than technical skills, CIOs and CTOs are also looking for candidates with strong communication skills and especially those whom can demonstrate expertise outside the technical domain into project management and across the region.

These skills remain highly sought even in other sectors and will mark the IT leaders of tomorrow. 

Think you are paid competitively? Find out if you really are. 

Note: The above figures and information are reflective of the 2016 Robert Half Salary Guide.

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