Banks in Hong Kong are now pitching themselves against large tech firms for IT talent – and not always successfully. As we’ve reported in recent months, companies such as Google, JD.com and Tencent are increasingly taking on technologists from the finance sector.
Compensation remains – at least in theory – one of banks’ main selling points to technology candidates. So how do banking tech salaries in Hong Kong stack up? To find out, we’ve averaged out base salaries from 2019 recruiter pay surveys across 14 broad technology job sectors in Hong Kong. The results, from analyst to director level, are shown in the table below.
How much do technology professionals get paid in Hong Kong banking?
Hong Kong-based candidates with skills in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and cloud engineering have become more sought after over the past year, say recruiters. Stan Chart’s expanding virtual banking team in Hong Kong, for example, is currently “applying learnings” from global AI leaders Google, Twitter and Netflix, according to its career site. Experts in AI and cloud earn annual salaries of HK$1,600k on average. Their specialist skills also mean their jobs are less likely to be offshored to cheaper Asian locations like India and China.
“There’s definitely a rise in demand for cloud engineers, although complications around compliance and the fact that public cloud is still more expensive for a bank than traditional tape storage means investment is not as radical as in other industries,” says Peter Barker, a senior director at Gravitas Recruitment in Hong Kong.
Base pay is similarly high at senior levels for the relatively new job function of digital transformation manager. Global and local banks in Hong Kong need people to lead their efforts to launch new platforms and replace legacy systems. Even as it cuts thousands from its front office, Deutsche Bank is expected to step up its tech hiring in Hong Kong under a new €13bn digital transformation plan.
Large transformation projects are also fuelling demand (and pushing up pay) for business analysts and project managers, says Warwick Pearmund, an associate director of emerging technologies at Pure Search in Hong Kong. At VP level, Hong Kong-based technology project managers are taking home about HK$925k a year.
Salary rises for tech professionals changing employers in Hong Kong are generally higher than they were in 2018, according to recruiters. “Many of the in-demand emerging-tech skills aren’t specific to the finance industry, and non-finance firms are now more willing to compete on salary than was the case previously in more vanilla job functions,” says Pearmund, adding that salary hikes typically exceed 20%.
Image credit: amesy, Getty
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