2015 IT Asia Pacific Salary Guide

Vanessa Harding-Farrenberg
June 4, 20155 mins read

Recently, Morgan McKinley asked our regional network of IT professionals to take part in a salary survey. Additionally trends, market intelligence and sentiment were obtained from a large cross section of employers across Australia, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Singapore and Japan. I have summarised below a few key trends from each country.


Architecture is an ever growing area of demand in the IT space. Permanent and contract opportunities have balanced each other in terms of hiring. The most significant trend in architecture is the demand for talent that can bridge the gap between IT and the business. Digital is still a strong area of demand along with payments, ERP and the ever in demand information management space.

The permanent project management market has seen an increase in demand for strategic IT project managers. The ever continuing desire for agile and digital delivery experience is also in high demand. We predict that salaries will remain steady with a possible increase in specific niche disciplines such as Agile, digital and business intelligence.
We don’t foresee a huge change in contracting rates for 2015. We have seen a slant towards fixed-term contracts driven by a demand for cost reduction and fixed costs for projects. As the competition increases for top talent we foresee a sway back to the traditional daily rate pay to secure the top talent.

Hong Kong

Whilst we expect continued growth in demand for e-commerce and mobile application development professionals, many traditional commerce enterprises will experience challenges in transforming and migrating to the next generation e-business models. This will lead to significant demand for project and change managers who are familiar with digital marketing, e-payment channels or O2O distribution. The trend for recruiting skilful mobile developers is expected to continue.

Due to increasing investment in technology advancement, the IT contract market will remain strong in 2015. We expect an upward trend in salary for certain positions, including digital/UX (user experience), and designer/mobile/web developers. Traditional infrastructure specialists and project managers can expect a slight adjustment in salary of between 5-8 percent.

The compliance and regulatory environment will see a significant demand for professionals across information security and IT risk management. Application developers and senior management professionals with experience in the implementation of Agile software will also be in high demand. The contract market remains strong in the first half of 2015. We forecast the overall salary increase for financial services IT professionals to remain between 5-6 percent. Demand is expected to increase for specific positions such as high frequency trading development, fixed income production management and UNIX engineers.

Mainland China

There has been a significant flow of talent from the traditional IT sectors to the ecommerce and Internet sectors. The booming market within the Internet sector has resulted in considerable talent shortage, especially in the product area. Furthermore, a talent shortage also exists in new cutting edge technologies such as Cloud computing and mobile technologies. The salaries of these in-demand Internet professionals can go way above the average market rate. Local companies have been known to offer over 50 percent increases in base salary for exceptional individuals, overheating salaries in parts of the Internet sector. There is significant demand for IT professionals in the following areas: project managers for the manufacturing industry, business analysts for the pharmaceutical industry, application managers for the retail/wholesale sector and business consultants for IT industry/consulting firms.


Technology hiring in investment banking fluctuated over the course of 2014. The private banking and wealth management sector has continued to grow this year. Corporate and consumer banking remained relatively active throughout 2014 while local banks continue to expand and replace headcount in pockets.

As a result of increased offshoring of technical skills to lower cost centres in Asia, the need for business-minded technologists, program or project managers, and business analysts has been high. These professionals have been able to command higher salaries. In-demand professionals include those with a background in information security, risk, governance, compliance and audit technology.  

Digital applications for the technical and program, as well as transformation side, have been in demand, creating a buoyant market.
The IT and telecommunications space has seen increased demand for sales and pre-sales talent, as companies look to uptake on the cloud and big data technology opportunities.
This past year has seen strong growth in the technology contract business. Due to an increased supply of professionals, salaries have been competitive and lower than the market rate.


In 2015, we do not envisage significant change in salaries within IT positive financial results in certain sectors, together with Abenomics and an improvement in the strength of the Yen, has seen a cautious approach to building up teams again in Japan. Firms continue to keep the budgets and headcounts tight. However, companies still need talent and the contract market continues to be strong, with hiring in areas of ukeoi (independent contract for a specific task), haken (temporary staffing) and Keiyakushain (direct contract staff).
The majority of ukeoi-based hiring is in areas where finite IT projects are still in progress. Haken hiring will continue to be utilised for some of the more generic roles in IT, such as helpdesk and desktop support.

Pharmaceutical and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies (gaishikei) will continue to hire at the same steady rates. Senior roles in all sectors will remain rare but with talent now more confident in their job changes we may see some back fills in various areas.

The full APAC IT Salary Guide 2015 can be downloaded here.

Vanessa Harding-Farrenberg's picture
APAC Regional Managing Director