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What you’ll really get paid at Grab in Singapore

Singaporean tech unicorn Grab, which is reportedly valued at US$14bn, now has sufficient clout in the job market to poach people from banks on a fairly regular basis. In June, for example, John David Yap, UOB’s former group head of business banking analytics, joined as MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) lead for lending at Grab Financial, the company’s financial services arm.

Grab will likely keep hiring from the banking sector as it expands beyond its ride-hailing roots to become a so-called super app, offering numerous services across Southeast Asia – from beer delivery, to payments and insurance. The company reportedly wants to employ 3,000 people in Singapore by the end of next year, double its early-2019 headcount.

Moreover, if you leave banking for Grab in Singapore, you will soon find yourself in fancier digs. Grab is moving into a new S$181m headquarters in one-north business park late next year, which will feature sky terraces and plenty of communal green spaces.

But while Grab’s hip office and aggressive recruitment plans appear impressive, they don’t necessarily give the firm a huge advantage in a job market as fiercely competitive as Singapore’s. Google, Amazon and Facebook have all established large local operations, while banks such as DBS, Citi and JP Morgan have prioritised technology recruitment. Candidates for Grab jobs in Singapore will therefore want to know whether their salaries reflect this buoyant labour market.

To give you a rough idea of how much you’re likely to earn as a Grab employee in Singapore, we examined the firm’s salary data on Glassdoor across six broad job functions that the website had sufficient data for. For consistency, we excluded low-range (i.e.junior) compensation for all these Grab job sectors – so the figures in the table below are for mid-level staff (people with at least five years’ experience). Pay at Grab obviously varies from employee to employee, so the numbers should be seen as approximate guidance.

Grab did not respond to a request to comment on its Singapore compensation.

How much will you be paid at Grab in Singapore?

If you want to work as a mid-ranking software engineer at Grab in Singapore, the self-reported Glassdoor data suggests you could potentially earn a base salary of approximately S$144k a year. That’s (slightly) more than a VP-level software engineer at a bank is paid on average (S$134k), according our recent pay table, which is based on recruiter surveys. Grab has seven Singapore-based software engineer vacancies on its careers site right now, many of them mobile-focused.

If you’re a mid-level technical program manager (TPM) working for Grab in Singapore, you could take home about S$156k a year in base pay, according to Glassdoor. TPMs act as a “bridge between business and engineering, by working with people from all parts of Grab’s online and offline/operational teams”, according to the company’s careers site.

Glassdoor suggests that data scientists at Grab earn about S$110k, although current demand from banks and tech firms in this function means you may well be able to negotiate a higher salary. A current data science job at Grab involves conceptualising and developing machine learning models to model “driver and passenger movements, preferences, behaviour and interactions”. You’ll need a PhD or Master’s in a field such as computer science, electrical/computer engineering, and mathematics/statistics.

Mid-level site reliability engineers at Grab in Singapore are paid about S$104k a year, according to the approximate Glassdoor data. They are responsible for the stable operation of Grab’s systems and are tasked with “reviewing and integrating new services and preparing them for large scale usage”, according to Grab’s jobs site. Experience in one or more of the following languages is a must: Go, C, C++, Java, Python, Perl or Ruby.

Average (mid-level) annual salaries at Grab in Singapore

Image credit: KreangchaiRungfamai, Getty

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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