Digital and adtech salaries tally across Singapore and Australia as need for talent drives wages up

Wages remain high in Singapore and Australia as digital talent gap continues

Ultimate Asset has launched its first comprehensive study on salaries for the digital advertising and adtech sector in Singapore and Australia, as the company expands its operations Down Under.

The research found that almost across all levels, the amount that businesses pay for digital talent is comparable across the two markets, which are both popular markets for APAC regional teams to be based.

According to the data, presidents and chief executive officers can command between $400-550k per year in either Singapore or Australian dollars. Heads of departments, such as sales, accounts or trading, can command from $150-250k, lower or executive level roles for departments start from $40k and rise to $80k.

John Matthews, Asia Pacific chief executive of APD’s performance business, said high salaries are a result of the markets being regional hubs, coupled with demand for digital skills as investment continues in the region.

“Investment in digital ad spend in Singapore increased around 20% last year and is forecast to continue at around these levels over the next 2-3 years. The result is that demand continues to outstrip supply from a talent perspective. Given the size of the Singaporean job market and lack of skills in certain areas, it is creating a bubble in salaries. When you add to that the restrictions that some businesses face with hiring non-Singaporeans and visa restrictions, it does mean good local talent can often demand very high salaries in comparison to the rest of the market,” he said.

The lack of local talent at the same time as having stricter rules on hiring foreigners, also plagues Australian businesses, according to Adam Furness, managing director APAC at RadiumOne.

“In Australia, there is a talent shortage of Australian residents at the high-end for leadership and technically skilled roles - there is also less desire to go through the Visa process. These combining forces result in more demand for Australian talent and increased salaries,” he added.

With salaries high and talent in short demand, retaining people that fit with the company culture and generate business is key. Commenting on the report, Jo Fisher, VP of human resources APAC at Adparlor, said learning and development (L&D) and employee welfare are the key to retaining talent.

“In today’s world people are staying in roles for less time than ever before, to really keep people you have to engage with them and demonstrate your value add. L&D is not a ‘standard’ function within Asia, so businesses that invest in this will win. Showing employees that they have defined career paths, along with training and a clear succession plan, is a great way to ensure stickiness. Within digital it is also important that businesses are able to create and deliver bespoke L&D frameworks and plans, as the speed of change means that these don’t exist within the market. The other win would be employee welfare. Thinking holistically about the health and wellbeing of employees is extremely important. People spend so much time at work that we need to be cognisant of our employees needs outside of their day jobs. Proactive wellness programs are a must,” added Fisher.

The launch of the data comes as Ultimate Asset launches operations in Australia, naming founder and CEO of AXON, Pete Harrington to lead the market. He will move across to Ultimate Asset in a board level capacity as managing director AU & ANZ, and report into APAC CEO James Lyon.

Lyon commented: “I’ve known and worked with Pete for over 15 years, he was the leading supplier of digital talent to our team at Bauer over a decade ago, and is the most connected and respected adtech headhunter in AU & ANZ. Pete operates at the most senior level and his c-suite contacts dovetail perfectly into our existing global adtech, martech and agency client base."

The move adds to Ultimate Asset’s offices in both Singapore and London.

Charlotte McEleny

Charlotte McEleny is The Drum's Asia Editor, charged with finding all the interesting industry news and insights from the Asia Pacific region. During her year in Asia, she's covered topics as wide ranging as industry overwork to artificial intelligence, and interviewed top CMOs such as Alibaba's Chris Tung, and world famous creatives such as Rankin.

Based in Singapore, she travels the region regularly, attending and presenting at many top events, such as Spikes, Ad Week Asia and Innovfest.

Prior to her role as Asia Editor, she spent 10 years working across the London marketing trade magazines, even picking up an award for Best Digital Team at the PPA Digital Awards during her spell as digital editor at Marketing.

All by Charlotte