Feeds

IT pro or manager? Go East, young man. But don't expect servants

Plenty of scope, but cushy ex-pat days are done

Security for virtualized datacentres

Analysis Ambitious Britishers have long looked abroad to make their fortunes, and the rise of China and its satellites is drawing a new generation ready to swap family ties and predictable working hours for a slice of the new Wild East.

But while the booming Asian economy is generating a raft of new job opportunities for senior IT professionals in both large multinationals and domestic firms looking to internationalise, recruiters warn that the days of the fat ex-pat relocation package are numbered.

creative commons - must credit clarence: *www.sxc.hu/profile/clarence

Shiny, shiny: Esplanade drive in Singapore. Pic credit: Clarence Loi

The Register spoke to a range of experts about the IT jobs market in China, Hong Kong and Singapore – currently the most attractive ones for ex-pats – and the omens for 2012 are generally pretty good, with recruiters reacting positively to signs of greater economic stability in Europe and the US.

Financial services, e-commerce and hi-tech manufacturing industries, among others, are all on the look-out for international IT professionals with niche skills in areas such as cloud computing, as well as the perennial favourites of business-focused and communications skills and SAP/ERP expertise.

Recruitment firm Robert Half says that CTOs and CIOs in Hong Kong are expected to be the most active in their hiring plans with 28 per cent of those it surveyed planning to increase their permanent IT headcount in the first half of 2012. Singapore follows, with 22 per cent looking to increase IT headcount, followed by 14 per cent in Japan.

IT risk and compliance, IT audit, .Net and Java developers and systems architects with good business skills are also in high demand, it said. Michael Page International, meanwhile, said that it expects to see 400-500 new IT jobs in the first quarter across all salary ranges in Singapore.

China’s booming economy is also fuelling demand. Not only is it growing at such a pace that it can’t provide enough skilled IT professionals domestically to fill all of the roles on offer but home-grown companies are increasingly looking to internationalise their operations, providing ex-pats in the People’s Republic and Hong Kong with new opportunities, according to Andy Bentote, Michael Page International's MD for northern and eastern China.

However with such an embarrassment of riches when it comes to science and technology graduates coming out of university in the region, the sweet spot for ex-pat pros is generally going to be in IT manager and above roles.

“It’s not that China isn’t creating quality candidates; it’s that it’s not generating enough to keep up with the pace of growth of the country,” Bentote told The Reg.

“Multinationals are trying to localise as much as possible. But while that is true below manager level, they will have quite a lot of foreigners in these senior positions. They have the skills to do it and also there are quite a lot who have been brought in to bring someone local through.”

He explained that Michael Page is increasingly being asked by domestic Chinese companies to source ex-pats to help them internationalise, a trend he said is likely to develop “more and more”.

Certainly big name tech firms such as Baidu, Huawei and ZTE are leading the charge when it comes to spreading their wings and expanding out of China. But as more follow, by the same rationale, so will the job opportunities for ex-pats – at least until they have trained up the locals.

“There’s a huge appetite for learning here so if you can demonstrate you can teach, and give that to people then you’ve got an even better chance,” said Bentote.

According to Michael Page’s recently released Salary & Employment Forecast (PDF) for 2012, senior IT managerial roles are increasingly appearing in financial services and commercial companies headquartering in the economic hub of Shanghai, while Shenzhen is a growing centre for telecoms, hardware and software companies.

However, Bentote also had a word or two of caution for ex-pat IT pros with itchy feet: there won’t be a job in China for you unless you have either Mandarin skills or some experience of working in the country, and ideally both.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Want to break Netflix? It'll pay you to do the job
'Senior Chaos Engineer' sought to inflict all sorts of nasty, nasty, pain
HOT BABES! Worried you won't get that JOB in IT? MENTION how hot you are
'Don't hate me 'cos I'm beautiful' ploy for sad honeys
Oracle to DBAs: your certification is about to become worthless paper
So hurry up and get a new one, will all of you who took exams for 10g and lower?
HP's axe swings AGAIN: 5,000 more staffers for the chop
Extra job cuts not linked to PC and printer biz split
Phones 4u demise: 1,700 employees laid off with redundo package
'Limited interest in remaining 362 stores', says administrator PwC
Germany strikes again over Amazon warehouse pay
Employees to walk out in long-running wage dispute
Amazon hiring in Australia for 'new and confidential Amazon Fresh initiative'
Is Jeff Bezos moving his grocery business beyond the US West Coast?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.