Web Programmer in Hong Kong - what salary should I ask for?

According to various jobs websites, the web development industry in Hong Kong appears to be thriving right now, so over the past few weeks, I’ve periodically checked for new jobs and applied for ones that most closely match my skill set.

The problem is, every single job listing I have seen so far requires that I include an “expected salary” with my CV.

How much should I be asking for?

I went looking for an answer, and I initially stumbled across a website that said mid-level IT specialists can expect to receive between 500,000 and 700,000 HKD, so I started applying for jobs asking for 600,000 (negotiable).

After an initial batch of job applications didn’t turn up anything, I decided to check if my asking salary was too high. I then stumbled across a website suggesting that a typical web programmer/analyst should be looking more at 250,000 HKD.

So now I am confused.

My multi-tiered question is: what salary should I be asking for as a web programmer in Hong Kong with 3 years experience? And can any westerners who have successfully sought out an IT job in Hong Kong in recent times provide any tips?


As an IT guy myself the problem is that many IT jobs can be hacked so other people with less experience can take parts of them. For instance, in 2003 I could get $75,000 as an IT manager at a big hotel. Now I’d be lucky to get $40,000. Why? Because so much I did has been simplified, that lay people can do it.

Now companies reserve IT managers for the most complex and spead that complexity over many properties.

Also India is huge with IT. Bangalore is pumping out IT left and right, deflating the salaries. When I did technical writing in 2003, I was getting 20¢ to 50¢ a WORD. Now due to outsourcing in India, they are offering 10¢ a PAGE.

So every offer is going to depend on what skills you have. How you can spread those skills over many departments, and most overseas companies WANT multiple languages. Hong Kong’s biggest issue is housing. You can make a huge salary and spend it all on a flat.

The best thing to do is find out what you need to live in Hong Kong. THEN apply for jobs or companies that can best use your most complex skills. THEN apply for the jobs and in the first interview state your salary range, you studied about.

Thanks Markxxx,

Did you work in Hong Kong in IT?

In case you haven’t run across this already, when you’re trying to figure out the cost of living, consider that many companies in Hong Kong offer a big housing allowance in additional to your salary, especially for expats. This can make a significant difference.

Do the job listings specifically say that they can arrange a work permit for non-HK residents? It seems to me that it shouldn’t be too difficult to recruit web developers locally, but I can be wrong.

I’m originally from Hong Kong, but I left over 10 years ago, so for what it’s worth…