2019 IT Salary Guide

January 23, 2019 9 mins read
2019 IT Salary Guide

Expected salary ranges in 2019 for IT, Internet and Fintech professionals in Shanghai.

Corporate ITInternet - Software DevelopmentInternet - Product/DesignInternet - Operation / MarketingInternet - CXO
Commentary on IT Roles and Remuneration in Shanghai for 2019


Basic Salary Per Month (¥)


IT Salaries (Per Month)
Infrastructure Manager
  Low High
Manufacturing Industry 25,000 40,000
Pharmaceutical Industry 30,000 45,000
FMCG 28,000 35,000
Retail / Wholesale 28,000 35,000
Business Analyst
  Low High
Manufacturing Industry 18,000 25,000
Pharmaceutical Industry 20,000 30,000
FMCG 20,000 30,000
Retail / Wholesale 20,000 30,000


Project Manager
  Low High
Manufacturing Industry 30,000 50,000
Pharmaceutical Industry 30,000 50,000
FMCG 20,000 40,000
Retail / Wholesale 25,000 50,000
Application Manager
  Low High
Manufacturing Industry 30,000 50,000
Pharmaceutical Industry 30,000 50,000
FMCG 20,000 45,000
Retail / Wholesale 30,000 50,000


IT Director
  Low High
Manufacturing Industry 70,000 -
Pharmaceutical Industry 80,000 -
FMCG 75,000 -
Retail / Wholesale 80,000 -
Software Engineer (IT Industry / Consulting Firm) 20,000 30,000
Business Consultant (IT Industry / Consulting Firm) 20,000 30,000
Project Manager (IT Industry / Consulting Firm) 30,000 60,000
Program Manager / Architect (IT Industry / Consulting Firm) 50,000 75,000
CIO (IT Industry / Consulting Firm) 80,000 150,000


  Low High
IOS / Android 15,000 30,000
Server End (Java, C / C++, Php, Node) 15,000 30,000
App / PC End 15,000 30,000
Back End 15,000 25,000
Architect / Lead
  Low High
Server End (Java, C / C++, Php, Node) 30,000 45,000
App / PC End 25,000 40,000
Back End 25,000 35,000
  Low High
IOS / Android 40,000 50,000
Server End (Java, C / C++, Php, Node) 45,000 55,000
App / PC End 35,000 50,000
Back End 40,000 55,000
  Low High
IOS / Android 50,000 65,000
Server End (Java, C / C++, Php, Node) 55,000 65,000
App / PC End 55,000 -
Back End 55,000 -
  Low High
IOS / Android 65,000 -
Server End (Java, C / C++, Php, Node) 65,000 -
App / PC End 65,000 -
Back End 65,000 -
Product Specialist/Designer
  Low High
Product Manager 15,000 25,000
UX/UI/UE 15,000 24,000
Business Analyst 15,000 20,000


Lead / Manager
  Low High
Product Manager 25,000 40,000
UX/UI/UE 20,000 35,000
Business Analyst 20,000 30,000
  Low High
Product Manager 40,000 60,000
UX/UI/UE 35,000 50,000
Business Analyst 30,000 40,000
  Low High
Product Manager 60,000 -
UX/UI/UE 50,000 -
Business Analyst 40,000 -


Internet - Operation / Marketing
Non - Officer
ROLE Low High
Operation 15,000 20,000
Business Development 15,000 18,000
Marketing 15,000 20,000
Lead / Manager
ROLE Low High
Operation 20,000 35,000
Business Development 18,000 30,000
Marketing 20,000 30,000
ROLE Low High
Operation 35,000 50,000
Business Development 25,000 45,000
Marketing 25,000 40,000


ROLE Low High
Operation 50,000 -
Business Development 45,000 -
Marketing 40,000 -
Internet - CXO
ROLE Low High
Team Size 15-30 40,000 + Stock Options 55,000 + Stock Options
Team Size 30-80 50,000 + Stock Options 75,000 + Stock Options
Team Size 80-200 65,000 + Stock Options 200,000 + Stock Options
Team Size 200+ 125,000 + Stock Options 250,000 + Stock Options
ROLE Low High
Team Size 15-30 45,000 + Stock Options 65,000 + Stock Options
Team Size 30-80 65,000 + Stock Options 100,000 + Stock Options
Team Size 80-200 85,000 + Stock Options 200,000 + Stock Options
Team Size 200+ 150,000 + Stock Options 250,000 + Stock Options


ROLE Low High
Team Size 15-30 35,000 + Stock Options 45,000 + Stock Options
Team Size 30-80 45,000 + Stock Options 70,000 + Stock Options
Team Size 80-200 85,000 + Stock Options 150,000 + Stock Options
Team Size 200+ 125,000 + Stock Options 200,000 + Stock Options


ROLE Low High
Team Size 15-30 40,000 + Stock Options 55,000 + Stock Options
Team Size 30-80 55,000 + Stock Options 70,000 + Stock Options
Team Size 80-200 70,000 + Stock Options 125,000 + Stock Options
Team Size 200+ 115,000 + Stock Options 200,000 + Stock Options

Commentary on IT Roles and Remuneration in Shanghai for 2019

2018 Trends in Corporate IT Recruitment in Greater China

With large amounts of companies undertaking digital transformation projects, 2018 saw IT functions evolve into more digital-focused pattern, with companies hiring more digital project managers and emphansize more on digital capabiilty on IT directors rather than purely infrastructure and applications like ERP or other internal system. In the consumer sector, these digital roles focus on supporting e-commerce, social media and CRM, and in the industrial sectors, the focus lies on the Internet of Things(IoTs) and Intelligent Manufacturing.

Given macroeconomic trends in China, many MNCs are worried about potential risks in the market and not looking to create new headcounts. Candidates looking to work for MNCs found the market challenging and we saw many talents shift their job search towards roles in Internet or tech companies as a result. Traditional IT functions are not as sought after by candidates as they once were and these disciplines are steadily being replaced by digital-focused roles. 

In-demand Roles, Skills and qualifications for Corporate IT Professionals

In the corporate IT sector, relevant experience remains the primary consideration for hiring managers who looked for talent with the right project knowledge. Candidates with experience in large companies like Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba were similarly well regarded. 

In traditional companies, moving towards a management position is a logical onwards progression in an IT professional's career. However, when moving from engineer to manager, technical talents should be cautious not to lose their technical abilities and to search for a role where they can achieve the right balance between the leadership duties towards their teams and maintaining their coding proficiency. For professionals that dream of becoming a tech leader, it is essential to stay abreast of changing technology, remain highly competent in technical ability and lead by example in the technical domain.

In 2018, salary increases for corporate IT were slightly lower than those for corresponding talent in the Internet and tech sectors. Salaries increased between 15-20 per cent for those moving companies and we saw an average 5-8 per cent increase for merit pay rises.

What Does the Future Hold for Corporate IT Professionals? Predictions for 2019 and Beyond

The corporate IT sector is shifting fast and evolving at a rapid rate. For those working in MNCs, it can be easy to get comfortable in a role and company, but doing so can mean forgoing excellent opportunities elsewhere. Professionals that do not change roles in good time may find it difficult to switch jobs at a later stage in this rapidly evolving market. 

Advice for candidates looking for jobs in the corporate IT sector is to consider how progressive the environment and company culture is, particularly as MNCs in China tend to have fewer of their core R&D functions on the ground. Candidates may find local Internet businesses more innovative and therefore a better fit to stretch their skills and experience, particularly as these companies deal with a great deal of infrastructure, data volumes and high-value projects in the domestic market.

2019 will remain an employer's market for corporate IT professionals and with the rate of technological change impacting the IT sector, job seekers are advised to continually upgrade their skills and invest in their own development, particularly to avoid their skills becoming marginalised or roles retired.

2018 Trends in Internet IT Recruitment in Greater China

With the slowdown of China's economy and cautious capital market especially in H2 2018, hiring in the Internet IT recruitment discipline followed a general downward trend. The first half of the year remained buoyant with a number of companies listing on the financial market and capital pumped into companies in A, B and C-round and pre-IPO funding. However, the capital market became decidedly more conservative in the latter half of the year, this trepidation fueled by macroeconomic trends and the result of some Internet companies failing to meet aggressive pre-IPO growth and margin projections, which left both angel and institutional investors more cautious. With the acquisition of capital more challenging, many tech companies restricted their hiring and some even cut headcount as a result of poorer market performance.

Jobseekers in the Internet sector remained confident in 2018 and the labour market maintained its fluidity. Candidate expectations in regards to salaries and creative development remained high throughout Q1-3, but with funding not as available as it once was and a number of companies falling short of their growth projections, Q4 saw candidates becoming more tentative when it came to switching organisations and more closely scrutinising a company's performance and business model before making a change. 

The Internet IT sector remains a candidate market and it remained difficult for hiring managers to find and attract top talent. Organisations found it challenging to acquire top-notch Java developers and architecture talents in particular, as these professionals remain in short supply and were likely to have multiple offers in hand. Generally, we saw hiring managers express a preference for candidates with steady CVs over those with a high frequency of job-hopping.

In-demand Roles, Skills and Qualifications for Internet IT Professionals

Companies in the Internet sector used to find it relatively straightforward to leverage digital advertising to gain new users and followers. With marketing and social platforms becoming significantly more expensive in the past few years, these businesses have struggled to sustain the high-level growth they previously experienced. As a result, 2018 saw an increasing number of these Internet companies looking to hire growth hackers with expertise in acquiring users organically and the ability to increase ROI from ad spend. 

Throughout 2018, architecture talent remained in high demand. With new projects regularly created by companies looking to move fast in the market, these individuals are needed to lead R&D teams and to build the foundation and structure of projects. Algorithm developers remain a core member of development teams and engineering talent is always in high demand, particularly those with abilities in the Go programming language. With uncertainty in the market regarding Blockchain and cryptocurrency prices taking a plunge, we have seen a decrease in the number of roles connected to this much-hyped technology. 

Cultural fit remained a critical element of hiring as Internet companies continue to prioritise an organisational culture match amongst employees, particularly businesses in the earlier stages with smaller teams where the impact of a good fit, or mismatch, is magnified. The Internet sector is high-stake and fast-paced and organisations were also looking for candidates to be flexible in their working approach. Candidates are expected to be open to long working hours, adept at managing heavy work-loads and willing to sacrifice personal time to meet the high demands of an organisation.

In terms of salaries, overall we saw a 20-30 per cent increase in salary for those switching companies. Those working at businesses in the earlier, entrepreneurial stage may compromise on a lower salary but be offered more stock options. Employees remaining in a company can expect a merit increase in pay of around 10 per cent.

Workplace Trends Impacting Internet IT Professionals in Mainland China

The nature of the work, heavy workload and tight project schedules mean that the IT and tech sector in general is not seeing much change towards flexible hours. However, there are some changes to compensation offered, and compared to MNCs we are seeing local Internet companies focus on generous pay, such as rewarding staff with bonuses of between four and six month's salary or stock options.

In light of GDPR regulations, Internet companies with operations in Europe are implementing tighter compliance structures and becoming more meticulous when it comes to data protection. These companies often implement comprehensive GDPR training for employees. At the local level, China is gradually building its data protection laws, but domestic companies do not have an as strong awareness of data protection compared to their European counterparts. 

What Does the Future Hold for Internet IT Professionals? Predictions for 2019 and Beyond

With investors more carefully scrutinising the growth and revenue projections of Internet companies, the market is significantly colder which will have a continued impact on future hiring trends. Similarly, macroeconomic projections and an overall slowdown in the Chinese economy means that 2019 remains uncertain for the Internet IT recruitment sector. While there is still growth potential, it is unlikely to be the same investment gold rush seen in recent times as investors become increasingly discerning and demanding in regards to where they invest their money. Overall, we expect to see companies faring differently depending on their size and market stage.

With a high demand for talent in the market, advice for organisations is to make hiring decisions at a faster rate to avoid losing top candidates with multiple offers. Advice for candidates is to be more cautious when looking for a new role to ensure that the business is viable and sustainable with realistic growth projections. While engineers are extremely passionate and knowledgeable about code, they should take the time to evaluate the market and connect with recruiters to better understand what is happening in the sector. While it is still a candidate market, the generous base pay and large salary increments that became a norm in the market three to five years ago may not remain as handsome going forward.

Marlon Mai's picture
Marlon Mai
Managing Director, Greater China