HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Project experience trumps educational background for IT bosses

It’s a deciding factor in hiking the salaries of fresh IT graduates.

Seven in 10 (71%) chief information officers have expressed willingness to raise the starting salaries of fresh IT graduates based on their previous project experience, according to recruiting company Robert Half.

The percentage of bosses placing value on experience significantly outnumbers those who believe that educational qualifications (20%) are a deciding factor in hiking starting salaries. Previous company/industry experience and team lead experience closely follow with respectively at 49% and 47%.

Also read: Lucrative digital jobs buoy Hong Kong's employment market in 2018 

“…[A]s the continuously-changing technology industry becomes more customer-centric and concern increases amid persistent cyber-security threats, specific industry knowledge and project-based experience are key factors IT employers are looking for when hiring new talent, with companies willing to increase starting salaries for top IT candidates,” said Robert Half Hong Kong managing director Adam Johnston.

However, the quality of IT education is often a source of a headache for most Hong Kong CIOs as a separate survey reveals that 47% of CIOs believe that the present state of educational system is not meeting professional standards and demands of future employment.

In fact, an overwhelming (92%) of CIOs find it challenging to hire qualified IT professionals despite a willingness to offer generous compensation packages. A fullstack software developer can earn in between $282,000 to a million dollars year; an application or product support manager can earn $540,000 to $1,050,000 and an IT security specialist can earn in between $480,000 to $800,000.

“Top IT talent are firmly in the driver’s seat in today’s market when negotiating salaries – particularly in the areas of cyber-security, and software and application development,” Johnston added. “Most employers know they have to reward their staff with above-average pay increases or risk losing them to the competition who would be willing to raise salaries.”

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