Ex-patriate project managers in Singapore might expect salaries of around $S150,000 a year, which translates to roughly $A115,000. But the 18 per cent tax rate plus cost of living makes it feel more like $A200,000 according to Ross McKale, executive general manager of recruitment company Candle Hong Kong and Singapore, who is based in Hong Kong.
“Where in Australia can you afford a live-in maid to take care of the home chores whilst you spend quality time with your family, pay 15 per cent (Hong Kong) tax, have minimal overheads and have trains run every other minute?” he said.
Mr McKale said now was a good time for IT professionals looking for a change, or to freshen up their CVs, to consider a stint in Asia Pacific as the “Boom out of Asia over the last three or four years is being maintained.” And while local Asia Pacific IT professionals have the requisite technical skills to fill many of the roles on offer, Australians who have a track record of being proactive in terms of spotting and fixing project problems are in high demand.
According to Mr McKale many Asia Pacific IT professionals faced a cultural hurdle when it came to filling project management or more senior IT roles, preferring to defer to their bosses when problems arose, rather than wrestle with issues themselves. “There aren’t too many that break the mould,” he said.
The Australian IT recruitment market currently is treading water – while there are some pockets of demand, the overall picture is one of a market in balance. Candle meanwhile has identified Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Malaysia as key regional markets for IT professionals looking to add some international experience to their CV.