Singapore tech salaries for data scientists, cybersecurity jumped in 2023

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SINGAPORE — Tech salaries in Singapore mostly fell in 2023 amid a tech downturn, but certain roles — including for data science and cybersecurity — saw wages jump, according to a new report.

The jobs that saw the highest wage increases year-on-year were data scientists (11.3%), systems analysts (8.27%), cybersecurity engineers (8.24%) and quality assurance (8.01%).

The report, compiled by tech salaries aggregator Nodeflair, took into account more than 422,000 salary data points including pay slips, offer letters and job advertisements from different countries and companies of all sizes and industries.

Nodeflair said that a surge in compensation for data scientists can be attributed to “a rising interest in generative AI.”

Last year saw an AI boom fueled by the launch of viral chatbot ChatGPT in November 2022.

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“Data scientists are the only role experiencing a significant 11.3% increase in average salaries, indicating a deliberate investment by companies to attract and retain top talents,” the report said.

It added that Singapore is in line with this by launching an updated AI strategy last year, outlining plans to expand the use of AI to boost the economy.

The report also said salaries for cybersecurity engineers rose as a result of more cyber attacks in Asia-Pacific and organizations “prioritising cybersecurity measures.”

Asia-Pacific was the third-most targeted region in 2023, with malware and phishing being the top incidents, according to IBM’s 2024 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index released last month.

More broadly on an industry level, most tech salaries dropped in 2023 as tech funding in Asia fell, the Nodeflair report said.

In line with a global tech funding downturn, startup funding in Asia last year fell 38% to its lowest since 2015, according to data platform Crunchbase. Venture funding in Asia was only $78.1 billion in 2023, down from $125.2 billion raised in 2022.

Compensation for software engineers in Singapore fell by an average of 0.99% in 2023, compared to an increase by an average of 7.61% in 2022. Solutions engineers and game engineers also saw wages drop 5.69% and 6.66% respectively.

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Blockchain engineers’ salaries declined 5.41% “mirroring the crypto winter triggered by FTX’s collapse and Binance’s Changpeng Zhao resigning and pleading guilty to criminal charges,” the report said.

Global macro uncertainty resulted in widespread layoffs where more than 260,000 workers across nearly 1,200 tech companies lost their jobs last year, according to layoffs tracker layoffs.fyi.

In 2024, companies are expected to leverage on cross-border and remote hiring amid a talent crunch and to save costs.

“As we step into 2024, the tech industry grapples with talent challenges amidst the rise of generative AI and financial prudence,” said Ethan Ang, CEO and co-founder of NodeFlair, in the report.

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