Singaporean IT leaders willing to pay experienced tech staff higher starting salaries in 2018: Robert Half report

IT leaders prefer experience to education when awarding higher starting salaries to candidates.

Singapore’s leaders in information technology (IT) apparently have no qualms about offering top professionals in the sector higher starting salaries in a bid to secure talent in a market short on relevant skills, according to a recent study.

Findings from the newly released 2018 Robert Half Salary Guide also showed that when it comes to awarding higher pay, IT leaders prefer experience to education from their candidates.

The annual study – developed by specialised recruitment firm Robert Half – was conducted from June to July last year and is part of an international workplace survey which looks into job and workplace trends as well as talent management.

The survey polled 75 chief information officers (CIOs) and chief technology officers (CTOs) in Singapore.

According to research, most Singaporean IT leaders are willing to increase starting salaries to draw in new skilled IT staff.

Employers have also realised the need to pre-empt current top performing staff being enticed into new roles, offering them more attractive salary packages.

Acknowledging the importance of salary raises in retaining top tech talent in a skills-short market, 92% of Singapore’s CIOs plan to allocate pay rises to an average of 15% of their IT staff.

The average wage increase is expected to be 7%, surpassing the national average wage growth of 4.3%.

“Aware of their market value, top IT professionals in Singapore are actively being approached by competitors willing to offer them a more attractive remuneration package that goes beyond a competitive salary, including flexible work hours, remote working and career progression prospects,” said Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, managing director of Robert Half Singapore.

Singaporean CIOs also cited project experience (63%), previous product or services launch (45%) and team leadership experience (41%) as top reasons to award IT professionals with higher starting pay.

Soft skills and education rank markedly lower in importance at 32% and 31% respectively.

“While a combination of education and experience is often the foundation for a successful career, IT professionals with the right experience can generally hit the ground running as the practicality gained during a period of working often outranks the value of formal qualifications,” said Mr Imbert-Bouchard.

In addition, the study identified IT security specialists, project managers and business analysts as the top technology positions in demand in 2018.

With Singapore’s IT sector undergoing a supply and demand imbalance, professionals in these high-demand roles are more likely to negotiate higher starting salaries when being interviewed for a new job.

Security specialists, project managers and business analysts could expect to earn an annual median salary of S$100,000 ($74,923), S$120,000 and S$96,000 respectively in 2018, according to the Robert Half Salary Guide.