Singapore IT Salaries Trail Global Competitors Even as Demand for Skills Increase

SINGAPORE, March 9, 2021 — Puppet, the industry standard for infrastructure automation, today revealed the findings of its 2020 DevOps Salary Report. For this report, Puppet surveyed more than 2,200 technology professionals globally and found that Singaporean salaries decreased, a distinct exception to the trend of rising salaries across other regions, despite widespread economic slowdowns and cross-industry layoffs.

Many organisations have accelerated their digital transformation initiatives by as much as three or four years during the pandemic, according to a late-2020 survey by McKinsey & Co. The acceleration in creating digital or digitally enhanced offerings was the most pronounced in developed Asia Pacific, making a leap of over ten years, compared to a seven-year increase on average across regions.

While the phenomenon translated into higher salaries across industries globally, Singapore bucked the trend among their global counterparts in the U.S., United Kingdom and Japan. The share of respondents in Singapore earning over US$75,000 (approx. SG$99,700) fell from 71 percent in 2019 to 67 percent in 2020.

When it comes to the higher salary band of US$150,000 (approx. SG$199,500) and above, only 14 per cent of Singapore respondents despite being the second highly paid market behind the U.S. (42 per cent).

“The pandemic brought into sharp relief the necessity of digital transformation and thereby the value of the skilled practitioners and managers who make that evolution possible,” said Alanna Brown, co-author of the State of DevOps Report.

David Hayes, Senior Director, APAC, Puppet added, “Singapore’s position as an innovation and transformation hub in the region will require continued investment in human capital. The survey findings point to a need for more competitive salaries in the market, particularly in addressing the increase in demand for DevOps skills and closing the significant gap in highly paid workers when compared to the U.S.”

Key findings revealed in the DevOps Salary Report also include:

  • Technology workers in the U.S. make more money than anywhere else, with Singapore a distant second. 84 percent of U.S. respondents make US$100,000 or more, and half of these —  42 percent of U.S. respondents — make US$150,000 per year or more. In Singapore, the proportion of respondents making US$150,000 or more is just 14 percent.
  • With the rise of platform teams, platform engineers have quickly become the best-paid job title. According to Gartner, platform teams are here to stay, with the majority of large organisations adopting a platform team strategy to scale DevOps by 2025. This rise of platform teams is reflected in salaries, with platform engineers the most likely to earn more than US$150,000 per year. They are also the most likely to earn over US$100,000 and over US$75,000.
    • Respondents working in life sciences, pharmaceuticals and healthcare (LSPH) were the top earners worldwide. In previous years, practitioners and managers in the financial services and technology spaces were the top earners. In fact, 64 percent of LSPH respondents earn more than US$100,000. Behind LSPH was the financial services industry where 53 percent of respondents earned over US$100,000, while those at technology companies trailed at 45 percent.
  • More women earn mid-range salaries than men, but men still earn more of the top salaries than women. 25 percent of female respondents earn between US$100,000 and US$125,000, while 18 percent of male respondents are earning in the same range. However, fewer women earn above US$125,000 women compared to their male counterparts.
    • For instance, twelve percent of men who answered the survey earn US$125,000 to US$150,000, compared to nine percent of women. Additionally, three percent of men earn over US$250,000 per year compared to just one percent of women.
  • Salaries rose worldwide, and rose most steeply for upper-income respondents in Japan and the United Kingdom. Japanese respondents saw the steepest gains in salaries, with 67 percent of respondents moving into the US$75,000-plus range, compared with only 24 percent last year. The next-biggest increase in those earning US$75,000 or more was in the United Kingdom, where 74 percent reported being in this salary bracket, up from 57 percent in 2019. U.S. respondents continue to earn more compared to their global peers, with 84 percent making US$100,000 or more, and 42 percent earning over US$150,000 per year.

Puppet’s sixth annual DevOps Salary Report, which includes a more extensive look at the data, is available for download here.