China continues its transition to high-quality development despite the pandemic.
Hays Plc, a leading global professional recruiting group, is pleased to announce the launch of the 2022 Hays Salary Guide for the Technology industry in Greater China (“Technology Salary Guide”) today. As an extension of the 2022 Hays Asia Salary Guide (“Asia Salary Guide”), the Technology Salary Guide zoomed specifically into the technology industry in Greater China. Grounded on in-depth interviews with more than 1,000 professionals and senior executives from the mainland of China and Hong Kong SAR, the Technology Salary Guide analysed salary and talent market trends and elaborated on the opportunities and challenges of the Chinese Technology industry in 2022.
In 2022, as China continues its transition to high-quality development despite the impact of the COVID-19, the technology sector in the mainland of China and Hong Kong SAR is undergoing a new round of transformation. The recruitment and talent strategies of tech companies, market demand for talent, and candidates’ expectations of companies have changed to various degrees.
“Both the mainland of China and Hong Kong SAR are seeing an increasing popularity of skilled ‘compound talents’, with flexible working and skills upgrading becoming important market demand. A technological transformation driven by digital technology has transcended beyond the traditional IT industry and become active in many fields such as Finance, Consumption, and Life Sciences,” says Jessica Wang, Managing Director of Hays China.
Technology Salary Guide suggests that the tech sector in the mainland of China and Hong Kong SAR has a solid foundation for continuous development in 2022 and beyond, and recruitment is expected to remain robust with boosting factors including favourable policies, digital transformation, and positive salary increment expectations.
Salary increase expectations remain optimistic
According to the Technology Salary Guide, professionals in the mainland of China and Hong Kong SAR hold overall optimistic attitudes toward future salary increments.
Whether staying with their current company or joining a new company, more than 80 per cent of interviewees believe that their salaries will continue to increase.
Meanwhile, about 80 per cent of tech professionals were generally satisfied with their current salary scheme, with 27 per cent of respondents expressed ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’.
Statistics also suggest that if staying with the current company, most respondents in the mainland of China (32 per cent) expect a 10-20 per cent salary increment. In comparison, most respondents in Hong Kong (33 per cent) think that it is more reasonable to expect a salary increase of 6 per cent. If joining a new company, most respondents in the mainland of China (39 per cent) expect a salary increase of more than 30 per cent. In comparison, most respondents in Hong Kong (63 per cent) expect a salary increase of 10 per cent-30 per cent.
“In comparison, respondents in the mainland of China have higher expectations for future salary increases, reflecting that tech industry professionals in the mainland of China are more optimistic about the general economy and the employment market,” says Jessica Wang.
According to the 2022 Asia Salary Guide released earlier this year, salaries in many positions in the technology field have risen or remained the same compared to the same period last year.
For example, in the infrastructure subsector, last year Network Engineers’ minimum average annual salary in the mainland of China and Hong Kong SAR was RMB 200,000 and HKD 480,000, respectively. In contrast, the minimum average annual salary of these positions in 2022 reached RMB 300,000 and HKD 550,000. Meanwhile, CIOs’ minimum average yearly salary in the mainland of China and Hong Kong SAR was RMB 1.5 million and HKD 1.5 million in 2021. In 2022, the minimum yearly average salary of CIOs in the mainland of China remained the same as last year, while in Hong Kong SAR, the figure increased to HKD 1.8 million.
Professionals value career development over salary package
The continuous increment in salary signifies the rising demand for compound and diversified talents in the Technology industry
Hays believes that employers in Greater China’s Technology industry have upgraded their hiring criteria for candidates. In addition to technical skills and business operation capabilities, employers are also looking for keen insights and stakeholder management capabilities. As a result of the more stringent criteria, the average recruitment time has lengthened across Technology roles.
Technology professionals responded actively to the demands. In the Technology Salary Guide, survey results showed that respondents are most interested in additional support and investment from employers to improve their soft skills like leadership and team management, communication, relationship maintenance and teamwork, and strategic thinking and decision making.
Additionally, the research also showed that, when deciding on their career choices, the essential factors most respondents consider are career development and progress (39 per cent) rather than salary and benefits (33 per cent). It is also worth mentioning that interviewees from the mainland of China attach greater importance to career development and progress (40 per cent) than those in Hong Kong SAR (27 per cent), while more Hong Kong respondents (40 per cent) acknowledge the importance of remuneration than those in mainland (31 per cent).
“With generally higher salaries in China’s Technology industry, working professionals are more concerned about factors such as fulfilment of personal value, work-life balance, employment fairness, diversity, and inclusiveness when choosing an employer,” says Jessica Wang.
“In addition, because the proportion of female workers is significantly lower than that of males, 67 per cent of the respondents think that their companies should provide more support to encourage women to pursue careers in the Technology industry. This is also a reflection of Technology industry professionals’ recognition of diversity and inclusiveness,” Jessica Wang adds.
Digital transformation extends the border of Technology Talent
The Technology Salary Guide points out that the demand for talent in sub-sectors, including Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence, and Digital Transformation, will rise increasingly across the mainland of China and Hong Kong SAR. Compound talent with outstanding skills will maintain strong bargaining leverage for high salaries in the recruitment market, proven by the expected salary increases.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation,” says Jessica Wang, “A new technological revolution driven by digitalization is emerging and has become a key force to push forward digital transformation across sectors. Digital transformation is active in finance, pharmaceuticals, consumption, manufacturing, education, and real estate, with demand for talents continuing to rise.”
Application scenarios of computer and internet technologies are becoming more extensive and complex as the technology advancement progresses rapidly. In addition to acquiring traditional skills in software development, such as cyber security and big data, technology professionals are now required to have a deep understanding of segmentation, policies, and project and personnel management in the business chain.
“The logic behind the pursuit of ‘compound talent’ in the Technology industry reflects the strong appreciation for ‘integration,’ and such a trend is also reflected in digital transformation across all industries,” Jessica commented.
Hays has observed that companies increase investment in building data platforms to develop the next generation of ‘smart businesses.’ This is particularly evident in industries such as Life Sciences and Financial Services, where recruitment for positions such as Data Architects, Data Scientists, and Data Analysts is on the rise.
“Whether in the mainland of China or Hong Kong SAR, almost all industries will need more technological talents in the upcoming years to help companies accelerate digital transformation, and this progress has already started,” says Jessica Wang.
According to Hays, the digital transformation of enterprises is based on the evolution of business transformation. Through improved data technology, companies can establish digital connections between enterprises and users or among different ecosystems and eventually increase enterprise operation efficiency and business value creation.
Technology is no longer a primary tool but a strategic element that must be considered in the development of business operations in different sectors. “Now, Technology talents will be given the highest priority in recruitment strategies across industries,” Jessica said.
Technology industry remains the largest recruitment market in Greater China
The technology industry has been confronted with certain transformational pressure in the past few years. Still, the general trend of the mobility of talents has not been subject to dramatic fluctuations.
According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics of China on May 20th, the top three industries with the highest average yearly wages are “Information Transmission, Software and Information Technology Services”, “Scientific Research and Technical Services”, and “Finance”. These three sectors exhibited significant salary increments in 2021 compared with the year before, reflecting the continuing heat of the general tech industry.
“The macroeconomy is influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, changing policies and regulations, and unstable international relations. Even though the Technology sector is facing periodic staff fluctuations, such as the massive layoff of Internet giants under heated discussion, the overall recruitment still maintains a good rhythm of development according to our survey,” says Jessica.
Take data security and compliance, where new regulations have been continuously introduced, as an example, Hays believes that although the new rules will impact the industry in the short term, they will regulate the entire market in the long run. Moreover, it is vital that traditional enterprises can utilize their long-accumulated data in a legal, compliant, and efficient manner to build company development strategies. Therefore, data security and compliance have received unprecedented attention against the backdrop of the continuous release of regulations and the ongoing digital transformation of enterprises. Extensive recruitment of related talents and incremental markets will become inevitable.
Hays recommends that employers in the Technology industry maintain their focus and recruit practically while avoiding age discrimination and blinded layoffs in terms of changing recruitment demands.
Even though the technology industry has a strong demand for cyber security talent, Hays suggests that candidates need to be rational when negotiating salaries to avoid missing out on good career opportunities due to excessive and unreasonably high salary requirements.
“In the short term, the shortage of ‘compound talent’ and the insufficiency of data security and compliance talent will remain the focal point of the industry,” Jessica commented, “However, with the continuous development of the Technology industry, improvement of the education programs, and the transformation of talents in different fields, we are optimistic that the talent supply shortage will be resolved shortly.”
“We believe that in 2022, the Technology field will remain dynamic in recruitment and will be the largest recruitment market in Greater China,” says Jessica Wang.