APAC & ANZ: Adtech Salary Survey
Salary surveys have been conducted in the recruitment space for many years, and given the rich data available to those of us who operate in the space, we can showcase accurate research that will provide a useful resource for clients and candidates alike.
To our knowledge nothing has been published in APAC that specifically relates to the Adtech sector, nor have figures been available that compare two of the biggest markets Singapore (as a regional APAC hub) and Australia.
We sat down with three clients to discuss our report and to get their opinions around salaries and trends in their backyards.
Jo Fisher – VP Human Resources APAC, Adparlor
John Matthews – APAC CEO, Asia Pacific Digital
Adam Furness - Managing Director APAC, RadiumOne
What do you think has driven up salaries over the last year in the region?
JF - Due to the high quality of life, great amenities, favourable tax structure, and ease of travel within the Region, Singapore is seen as a very desirable place to live. As a result, top talent from around the world have taken up roles in the Country. Whilst this is great for the region, it has seen salaries increase over the last year.
JM - 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.
AF - 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 on more demand for Australian talent and increased salaries.
Have we now hit a plateau, and have SG (as a regional hub) and AU moved out of line with other markets?
JF - I think that there has definitely been a rationalisation in terms of salaries at the highest levels across the market.
There will continue to be growth in mid-level roles. It is always a challenge when you get team members who have been in the industry for 2-3 years, as all of a sudden they can command significant increases by changing roles and moving to a different business, however this isn’t unique to Singapore specifically, we see this in all markets across our network.
Another challenge we face in Singapore is the local spend levels. It is hard to resource a piece of business effectively for many local clients as the level of spend is simply not there to justify the level of headcount they require. This is why as a business we try to tap into our network across the region so we can try and resource delivery in more cost-effective resource centres, whilst controlling strategy and client communication out of Singapore.
JM - Yes, I believe we may have now reached a plateau – At a senior level I am starting to see the same roles in other markets in the region attracting similar types of salaries as they do in SG (parity in USD terms). To my mind, at the senior level, SG is now becoming static, with other markets catching up faster than expected… At the junior to mid level though, SG is extremely overpriced and businesses should consider moving non-market facing roles to other countries…
AF - My sense is it may even be driven higher once Visa restrictions come into full force over the next 2 years and then it will plateau
What sort of roles are currently in demand and drive bigger rises in salary to attract talent?
JM - Any roles around Programmatic, Data and Analytics are hugely in demand and will continue to do so.
AF - Experienced business leaders with a proven track record. Technically skilled, commercially minded Operations and Data leads. Grass root roles
Where should we invest in talent to future proof business in 2018?
JF - L&D and employee welfare.. 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
JM - Singapore is an exceptionally competitive market for talent, as it’s a regional/global hub for many mainstream industries. This means that we are competing for talent with industries such as Finance, Shipping, Science, Engineering, Energy, Medicine etc. To compete with these industries, we need to show that there are clear career and development paths. We also need to show that the industry is “cool” again. I know many of my friends and colleagues got into the industry to have fun, make a difference to people’s businesses and do “cool” stuff. Now as an industry we are often working our people into the ground for very little reward. When you compare this with the clearly defined career paths that other industries can offer we really need to find a point of differentiation.
AF - Invest internally. Invest in Grass root talent. Invest in up-skilling, Invest in quick learner, problem solvers with great attitudes.
Aside from competitive remuneration, what can we be doing better to retain talent and fend of approaches from competitors?
JF - There is so much focus on AI/ VR/ Big Data etc – and don’t get me wrong, it’s cool and exciting to think about how we utilise these within the workplace, but employers need to get the fundamentals right first… Make sure employees are looked after, that their development needs are met, and that you have a culture that supports this. I can’t stress enough how important having the right culture is to the health of the organisation and to the happiness of everyone within it…
JM - Take care of your people. Don’t take on crappy non-profitable business so that you are forced to overwork your team.
Empower your team members and make them feel party of the business. Show your team why the work they do is important and the impact that this has on your client’s business. Offer them a clear development and career plan………I love the old adage “What if we train them and they leave? What if we don’t and they stay?”
AF - Starts with right people, right roles. An amazing thing happens when business needs are aligned with skills and passions of an individual - the individual contributes significant value to the organization and they're happy. Vision, mission and purpose are important. Team members need to contribute and buy in to a higher purpose. What's the 'Why'? Creating an environment where success is inevitable, growth and development (personal and professional) is at the core and opportunities present themselves to the right people. Feedback is key, openness is a must and opportunities to give back are encouraged. We're in business and there are commercial realities, but it's those that remember, 'look after the people and the people will look after your business' that will have the best chance of retaining talent and fending off competitors.
John, as someone who has held senior positions in both AU and SG, what differences do you see in salary levels?
I believe that salaries are actually pretty comparable across AU and SG. Most of the roles we have are broadly in line across the two markets, with a few exceptions in specific roles, however that has been driven by a dearth of talent in specific areas.