Asia crazy for IT staff

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Technologists in Asia are hotter than Hong Kong in high summer.

Growth in the likes of direct market access (DMA), algorithmic trading and programme trading is fuelling Asian demand for IT developers, says Neil Bullock, managing consultant for technology at recruitment firm Ambition in Hong Kong.

Bullock says demand is at its most scorching for developers who combine knowledge of C++ and Java with relevant business experience, particularly for 'high-end' front-office systems - although middle and back-office systems are also being updated.

There are knock-on effects of this expansion. Growth is reportedly creating space shortages in data centres where servers and related cabling are housed - creating demand for network engineers and operations managers who can install new centres.

A recent report by IT consulting firm Celent suggests the rush for Asian IT expertise is entirely predictable. Celent predicted Asia-Pac finance firms would increase their investments in IT at a compound annual rate of 11.4% between 2006 and 2008 - faster than firms anywhere else in the world.

Nor is it exactly surprising that salaries are on the up. Bullock says good developers are on track for HK$600k (US$77k), while team leaders and 'keystone' developers doing the fundamental work on new systems can expect something in the region of HK$1m. Bonuses are variable - although 100% is not unheard of if firms want to secure valued employees.