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Singapore technology students are getting aggressive on pay

Technology students in Singapore are now demanding to be paid more than their counterparts studying business degrees, the traditional choice of aspiring high earners. IT students expect an annual salary of S$53,721 after graduation, about 20% higher than what business students expect to be paid, according to a new survey of more than 10,300 Singapore-based students by research Universum.

It’s little wonder that technology students are gaining some swagger when it comes to salaries. As we reported last week, a new Singapore government unit has just been set up with the aim of creating 10k new technology-related jobs over the next three years.

But the Universum findings could also be good news for banks in Singapore. The likes of DBS, UOB, Citi and JP Morgan are increasingly focusing their entry-level recruitment on technology jobs and in doing so have been forced to compete with tech firms such as Amazon, Google, Grab, all of which are hiring aggressively in Singapore.   

While banks may not be able to match tech firms when it comes to digital innovation and hip workplaces, they can typically compete on the pay front, say IT recruiters. As technology graduates' pay expectations rise in Singapore, banks’ salary levels are keeping up and helping to make banks more attractive as employers. Banking has now risen to the second most preferred industry in Singapore for IT students to join when they graduate, “ahead of more natural choices, such as e-commerce and tech hardware”, says Mike Parsons, managing director for Asia Pacific at Universum.

In the Singapore banking sector, analyst-level front-end developers earn S$71k a year on average, according to our technology salary table, which was compiled from recruiter data. That’s 32% higher than the tech students’ expectation levels in the Universum survey.

Salary inflation for junior tech roles at banks in Singapore is partly driven by the government’s ongoing push to encourage banks to hire more local technologists. “In Singapore, hiring of local IT talent is essential, which is leading to a really competitive market for local candidates, especially in banking. This is driving up salaries,” says Adam Davies, lead IT recruiter at iKas International. “People with a local degree – new grads and those with a year or two’s experience – are certainly in demand,” he adds.

Banks are also taking on more Singaporean tech graduates so they can more easily fill jobs higher up the pecking order, says Davies. Banks have limited Employment Pass allocations and prefer to use them on specialist senior foreign tech professionals rather than junior ones.

Image credit: Getty

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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