Landing a pay rise of nearly 30% is almost unheard of in the Hong Kong banking sector this year. If you work as a big data architect, however, new numbers from Robert Walters suggest that salary increases on this scale may be possible as technology recruitment remains comparatively buoyant, despite the city’s ongoing civil unrest, which has slowed down hiring across many other jobs in financial services.
We looked through the recruitment agency’s new 2020 Hong Kong salary survey and broke out all the banking technology jobs in which average pay has increased by more than 5% compared with a year ago. We used upper salary numbers from the five-to-eight-year experience range (i.e. mid-level professionals). The results are displayed in the table below.
Big data architects top the table, with an increase in average pay of 27.3% compared with Robert Walters’ 2019 survey. We’ve been reporting on a general dearth of data professionals in Hong Kong and Singapore throughout this year, but the shortage is even more chronic for the data architect function, which is highly specialised and requires both technical (e.g. Hadoop) and leadership skills, say recruiters.
Banks in Hong Kong are eager to recruit and retain data architects in the face of competition from tech companies and other financial institutions. They are therefore offering big pay rises to lure new candidates and keep their current people happy.
Will you receive a 27.3% salary hike in 2020 as a data architect at a bank in Hong Kong? Not always. It will almost certainly be less than that if you are staying with your current bank, although you should still expect an inflation-busting double-digit increase.
If you’re moving to a new employer, it’s not unusual for a “good candidate” to get a substantial 20% rise, because most banks are expanding their data teams, says former programmer Vince Natteri, now managing director of Hong Kong tech recruiters Pinpoint Asia. Salary increases of 25% or more are likely to be given to job movers who were underpaid at their previous bank, says Natteri, adding that a few of these incidents may have pushed up the figures for big data architects.
Local talent shortages in data architecture and other functions towards the top of our table (such as scrum masters) mean that banks in Hong Kong have also had to hire technologists from abroad, says Natteri. Relocated candidates tend to command above-average salaries. “Overall, good technologists continue to be in demand, even through these recent turbulent times in Hong Kong. Employers haven’t slowed down their tech hiring, in fact some of them have increased their headcount quite a bit,” he adds.
Photo by Daniel Mayovskiy on Unsplash
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