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Salaries for software engineers in Singapore increased by an average of 22% last year, highlighting the need for qualified talent to sustain the city-state’s burgeoning tech ecosystem, according to a report published this month.

Some experienced roles, like lead software engineers, commanded average increases up to 32% during the period, NodeFlair and Quest Ventures found. 

Singapore has attracted several fast-growing startups while also hosting the Asia-Pacific hubs of operation for global companies like Meta Platforms Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. The two U.S. giants announced plans last year for several undersea cable projects to link Singapore and the wider Southeast Asia region to the U.S. West Coast.

The competition for highly qualified engineers has produced a wide variance in pay, according to the researchers, who verified payslips and offer letters as part of procuring their figures. The highest-paid roles came with compensation as much as three times higher than more junior positions. Sea Ltd.’s Shopee, ByteDance Inc. and Grab Holdings Ltd. were among the most searched-for employers in the tech sector, joined by big U.S. firms like Amazon.com Inc. and Visa Inc. as well as Google and Meta.

Other factors driving Singapore salaries up include the rising cost of living in the city-state, which saw rents rise to the highest in six years in the third quarter last year. Tightening conditions for worker visas have also made it harder to bring in less senior workers. Singapore announced at its annual budget last week that it will raise minimum salary requirements for most so-called employment pass holders to S$5,000 ($3,700) from S$4,500, after an earlier increase in 2020.

The further tightening is likely to worsen an already severe staffing shortage, and smaller firms and local startups may find it unfeasible to sustain aggressive salary increases for junior professionals, said Yu Liuqing, a Singapore-based country analyst for Asia at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

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