The first-of-its-kind report in Southeast Asia (SEA) covers the latest data trends in building teams and attracting startup tech talent in Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
The report finds that as tech giants from the U.S. and China are expanding in SEA and driving base salaries up, regional startups are facing an even tighter talent crunch. While compensation packages for both tech and non-tech roles within SEA have increased, the region remains an attractive market for securing experienced and diverse talent to build quality tech teams.
The report covers more than 1,000 data points for tech startup talent and interviews with over 20 founders across Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam. The report zooms out to encompass the wider tech talent landscape in Southeast Asia, and the motivations and drivers of both startups and their employees.
The report examines:
- Current state and impact of the talent crunch as tech giants expand in SEA
- Compensation and equity data of founders and startups across geography (Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam), funding stage, and core roles
- Data trends and insights into engineering, product management, data science, marketing, and PR roles
- Impact of Covid-19 on company building in the region
- Role of culture in scaling startups and teams in SEA
Key findings from the report include:
- There’s a talent crunch regionally - particularly in Singapore - for engineering and product manager roles. U.S. and China tech companies entering the region - including TikTok, Tencent, Alibaba, and Zoom - are more likely to pay above-market rates for tech talent or, in some cases, write blank checks for high performers.
- Cash is still king, though things are changing. Fewer than 32% of participants reported being compensated in equity. However, the report revealed that some founders are spending time educating their teams on the benefits of equity.
- Technical roles are still the most in-demand and highly remunerated across the region. Technical roles (product, data science, engineering) earned 54% more than non-technical roles (marketing, operations, sales, finance).
- The differences in base salary between product and data science roles over non-technical roles were 1 to 2 times higher than for engineering. This suggests that while engineering skills are becoming more common across the region, specialized product and data science skills remain hard to come by.
- Salary differences for senior roles relative to junior roles were the highest in Vietnam for both tech and non-tech talent compared to Singapore and Indonesia, suggesting strong potential for upward salary growth within the Vietnamese tech sector.
- Besides big tech companies, some startups are now offering annual wage supplements (AWS), bonuses, restricted stock units (RSU), or employee stock ownership plans (ESOP).
- Remote work is here to stay. Most founders have adjusted to the new normal, implementing staggered work schedules in the office or 100% work from home policies. The report revealed the emergence of founders building completely remote teams and being more flexible on where to source the best talent.
- A regionally distributed talent strategy is a winning strategy. Given the wide range of salaries across SEA, many startups are shifting towards a strategy of regionally distributed teams, to take advantage of skill sets and compensation benchmarks across the region.
The report also includes interviews with the following founders on their views on building company culture and retaining talent:
- Dorothea Koh, Co-Founder and CEO of Bot MD;
- Marcus Tan, Co-Founder of Carousell;
- Oswald Yeo, Co-Founder and CEO Glints;
- Paul Hadjy, Co-Founder and CEO of Horangi;
- Roshni Mahtani, Co-Founder and CEO of theAsianparent;
- and Lai Chang Wen, Co-Founder and CEO of Ninja Van.
A copy of the report can be downloaded here.