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IT salaries in Asia surpass Europe as Singapore, Japan boost pay — but the US continues to dominate

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Information technology professionals in Asia are set for a lucrative future, according to a new report that found tech wages in the region are on the rise.

U.S.-based software management firm Puppet surveyed 3,000 IT professionals globally and found that salaries in Asia Pacific outpaced Europe in 2018. IT practitioners and managers in Asia earned an average of $75,000 to $100,000 last year compared to their counterparts in Europe, who took home an average of $50,000 to $75,000.

The shift was led by a hike in salaries in Singapore and Japan, which, as more developed economies, have been doubling down on their IT competitiveness on the global stage by boosting employee incentives. Last year in Japan, fewer than 9 percent of IT professionals earned under $50,000. In Singapore, that figure was closer to 27 percent.

The two countries reflect a wider regional trend, however. In 2017, half of respondents in Asia reported making less than $25,000, while in 2018 that figure was closer to 20 percent. At the other end of the scale, just 10 percent reported salaries of over $100,000 in 2017 compared to 30 percent in 2018.

The bigger picture

While Asia exhibited strong progress last year, the U.S. continued to dominate in terms of earning potential for IT professionals. The most common U.S. salary range for IT professionals in 2018 was $100,000 to $125,000 — the highest range of any region.

Indeed, 64 percent of IT workers in the U.S. earned over $100,000 in 2018. That compares to 31 percent in the U.K., 28 percent in Asia and just 16 percent in continental Europe.

Meanwhile, almost one-fifth (19 percent) of U.S. respondents reported earning $150,000 to $250,000 last year versus just 8 percent in the U.K, 7 percent in Asia and 2 percent in continental Europe.

Elsewhere, the earnings gap between men and women in senior positions showed signs of narrowing. As of 2018, 41 percent of women in IT management roles earned more than $100,000 compared to 46 percent of men, the report found. However, it noted that the number of male respondents "certainly outnumbered" women, and it gave no indication of the proportion of men and women in management roles.

Retail leads the way

The report also broke down earnings by sector and found the retail sector to be particularly lucrative for IT professionals.

Almost half (47 percent) of those surveyed in the retail sector reported making more than $100,000 annually. Other top paying sectors included health care and pharmaceuticals, government and financial services.

Darryl McKinnon, Puppet's vice president and managing director for Asia Pacific including Japan, said the report indicated that organizations are seeing an increasing need to compensate talent appropriately if they want to remain competitive.

"Organisations are changing the way they approach and deliver IT services, driving the need to invest in bringing in the right mix of talents," McKinnon said in a statement.

"They are seeking talent that is not only adept at navigating the technology landscape but also able to innovate and elevate the software delivery process."

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