Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Singapore IT Jobs Market Trends

In just 5 years, job market for Information Technologies (IT) professionals has changed dramatically. As of 2011, two thirds of the world's biggest 100 IT firms' Asia-Pacific (APAC) head quarters are based in Singapore and Singapore has been ranked as the single most competitive country for Asia Pacific region ahead of Australia and Hong Kong.[1] According to Sam Baxendale, Division Manager for Technology in global boutique recruitment company Ambition, this transition has benefited IT professionals by increasing salaries and scope of opportunities:

"Breaking the IT market down by job title, we can see the most significant demand and therefore the
biggest hikes in salary (as much as 10%+)  in  Project Management, Software development/Consulting and Infrastructure on the mid side. Such roles make up the building blocks for any IT implementation, so the best of the best will always be fought over. Allied to this, as the IT market in Singapore evolves and new business lines are attracted to the area, a bounty effect arises for those candidates who carry both technical and specific business domain knowledge"[1]

According to Ambition, a typical mid-weight IT project manager would be paid S$75k per year in 2007 and this salary is now close to s$80K in 2011. National average salary in Singapore is S$35k annually. In Singapore, IT salaries in banking/finance and in everything else has a huge difference and average IT project manager in financial IT can expect much more than $80,000 per year. This unfortunately also means that you may well be below the $80,000 per year if you are a non-financial IT project manager. As we have written before top 27 per cent of IT professionals are earning more than 100K+ per year and this percentage is much lower than finance, banking and law professions.

An obvious lifter for IT salaries in Singapore in 2012 and onward will probably be the reverse in immigration policy which has started in 2009 but accelerated in 2011. Cheaper IT foreign talent import from India is getting harder with tightening in Singapore PR criteria as well as Employment Pass criteria. This is bad news for professionals who want to migrate to Singapore and work here but good news for IT professionals already in Singapore as a citizen, permanent resident or a valid work pass holder. The immigration door was wide open in the last decade mostly thanks to Singapore's ambitious IT plans in the first place and it is still open for people who can bring skills which is not readily available in Singapore.

[1] - Right skills can land High Pay 

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