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Enterprise Architect role - how much should I ask for?

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rootyhill
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Enterprise Architect role - how much should I ask for?

Postby rootyhill » Thu, 05 May 2011 6:56 pm

G'day Everyone,

I have somebody working to get some senior IT position at an bank or an insurer in Singapore (an Enterprise Architect, or architecture manager role).

I have close to 20 yrs experience in IT, a PhD in engineering, a MBA and currently work as the Chief Architect for one of the leading banks in Australia (not the big four though) managing 9 people and responsible for the architecture function for the Bank. After more than 10 years in OZ, love to have some change both at work and in life, would love to work in Singapore, get some future international opportunities and stay a bit closer to China, where I originally came from.

I am an Australian citizen and currently on a package of roughly $200K, just wondering how much I am actually looking at in $SD. I know I need to be flexible but in the same time obviously don't want to be ripped off. Had a look at the salary survey saying some Solution Architect will get up to $250K/yr (SD), not sure if it is a reasonable expectation - I have actually 6 of Solution Architects working for me here in my bank. Well anyway, my kind-hearted forumers here please lend a hand on this.

Your assistance will be much appreciated.

Regards,

Rooty
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Strong Eagle
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Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 05 May 2011 7:26 pm

The numbers you posted would be inline, and at the very upper end, for a senior person such as yourself, with a good track record, and excellent communications skills. $180K to $200K might be more realistic.

Your problem is that the need for such positions in Singapore are few and far between. Most MNC's retain their headquarters, and hence, the top level development staff, in UK, EU, US, and that is where the regional designs are done, for better or worse... and in my view, often worse.

What generally happens is that more junior people are hired in the AP region, who have responsibility for smaller chunks of the design and implementation, while reporting to a global program.

In a similar vein, suppliers are loathe to bring on board such expensive talent in the region, and if they do need such talent, they contract or bring over from the US, EU, UK.

I speak as an individual who runs a company that implements IT infrastructure projects in the AP region. For networking, overall architecture is usually dictated globally, a supplier like BT handles MPLS issues, and the regional guys are relegated to more or less localized tasks like comm lines to and from a call center, maintenance of local AD and software release facilities, etc.

From a server and network perspective, AP is a very complicated place. Latency issues plague communications with EU. Actually, many pipes to AU suck as well. Cross border tariffs for comm lines can be astounding, especially in India. Trying to move servers out of, or into India, Pakistan, Vietnam, and more, is an exceptionally challenging task.

One quickly realizes that the ultimate plan you end up with has less to do with technical efficiencies, and more to do with costs, lack of flexibility, and bureaucratic limitations. In short, in AU and US, you can design based upon infrastructure needs... here, many more factors come into play.

At today's exchange rates, AU$200K turns into S$263K, a princely sum, given the limited opportunities. But don't give up hope... you haven't specified your architecture specialties, and the comm companies like BT, C&W, AT&T, and Verizon really do need skilled people to meet the needs of their MNC clients.

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Postby rootyhill » Thu, 05 May 2011 8:19 pm

Thanks Strong Eagle for your good insight into the international hiring trend in AP region. I reckon the range you suggested could be a reasonable reference point although to be frank it does seem to be in the low end of what I anticipated.

Interesting to know some challenges you have been facing in the Infrastructure Architecture domain. I would imagine the big guys are in the same boat as yourselves in this regard. The nature of my job currently is to cover key aspects in the enterprise architecture including business architecture, information architecture, application architecture and infrastructure architecture. I love my work, in particular the business end but I do have hands-on experience in all other areas (info/application/infrastructure).

Will have a chat with the guy running the search for me, hope he can come up with something better -:)!

Look forward to more feedback from yourself and others.

Cheers,

Rooty
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Postby JonOfArimathea » Thu, 05 May 2011 9:54 pm

A couple of cents to throw in. This happens to be my own personal speciality and I'm in the process of planning to move out to Singapore for a similar role although not in finance (waiting for EP approval now... wish me luck!).

I'm hearing a lot more talk about AP organisations with IT in different countries moving towards a more centralised model where the core management and design function is located in Singapore. A few very big companies have done this in the past few years. I get the feeling that a lot of organisations have grown rapidly in AP in the last few years but in a non planned way with lots of disparate IT - they are now realising that they need some serious thought as to where they take their systems from here so that they don't just collapse in a heap with further growth in the region. As a consequence there does seem to be a bit of demand for architects at the moment generally (can't comment specifically about banking though).

More senior roles like architecture manager / VP architecture / enterprise architect (whatever it gets called) roles for companies doing this sort of work I would guess are unlikely to be advertised, and they will recruit through contacts and personal recommendations.

Salary-wise I think you're in the right ballpark, although if you are genuinely in the more senior category then I'd translate what you are offered in AUD into SGD and use that as a negotiating start point. At that level bonuses and allowances also seem to be more significant than in Aus so don't be alarmed if your base salary goes down a bit but the benefits go up.

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Postby rootyhill » Fri, 06 May 2011 8:21 am

Thanks JonOfArimathea for the feedback. Good luck with your EP application.

Unfortunately it won't be an internal transfer of any sort, rather it will be a local contract so I will need to take that into account. Your suggestion on base vs. bonus/allowances will certainly help shape my position in the negotiation process.

We all know the future is in Asia so I am just try to "logically" get onto the bus - that is if I am not too late already. You are right, the guy will have to go beyond the visible ads so that he can find some juicy stuff for me - not betting on it but just trying to give it a go.

Does anyone have more insight into the "market norm" of how companies pay bonus/allowance for senior positions? e.g. rough percentage, etc. Obviously that would be subject to the positions - so if we are talking about those positions I am after, what would that bonus/allowance roughly look like?

Thanks guys...
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Postby metroguy » Fri, 06 May 2011 10:04 am

Not to dampen..but local packages are rarely above $150K for EA roles. Like SE rightly pointed out IT Architecture of MNCs is often designed in the HQ and local guys just follow.

A$200K is equivalent to S$150K given the tax structure and cost of living.
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rootyhill
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Postby rootyhill » Fri, 06 May 2011 11:16 am

metroguy, thanks for that. The quality of feedback lies in the truth it uncovers so it's much appreciated.
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Postby JonOfArimathea » Fri, 06 May 2011 11:00 pm

Even if you think you know the bonus situation I would negotiate in terms of total package. So work out your current package in AUD (including a conservative estimate of bonus that you can back up with historical evidence), translate to SGD, and then negotiate in terms of "meeting your current package" and ask them what 'extras' they can throw in, in order to balance. At this point I am assuming that you will have someone interested so you can start talking numbers - i.e. you are on the front foot.

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Postby rootyhill » Sat, 07 May 2011 7:47 am

Thanks JonOfArimathea.

Had a chat with the guy yesterday (he is a headhunter here in OZ, quite reputable one) regarding the negotiation strategy. One of the options he suggested was on the line of what you mentioned but he didn't seem to be sure this like-for-like expectation can work in reality. We all joked that the "interest" might vary when it comes to the money talk - well, that will be his job I suppose.

It's going to be interesting next couple of months. One thing I am sure that even if I can strike a reasonable deal I will be certainly missing the "183 days rule" this year.

Wouldn't mind coming back to this forum to share some experience regardless of the result. I found the feedback I have received here have been quite useful and we should all share to gain in the future.
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Postby ututu » Sun, 08 May 2011 12:11 pm

I think SE might be a bit too conservative if 180-200k is total package depends whether it's for consulting/services arm of MNC or captive IT department of MNC.

I'm in IT too, and like SE I'm in consulting/professional services, though I'm an IC/worker bee and may not have as much insight as SE but what I seen over last year indicate that for role like you described 180-200k as base comp with 20-30% bonus target seems reasonable in consulting/services side of things. IC will have total package within 190-220. I'd find it hard to believe that his/her line manager gets less than that.

Captive IT may be different and I have no data points to help you with.

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Postby mrdodge » Tue, 17 May 2011 12:47 pm

Well, I am employed on a local package as a senior architect and i can assure you that the numbers quoted above are quite conservative for mnc banks. There are a number of senior roles at the moment and they typically seem to start at 250k plus bonus etc. Though the numbers above are in line for a senior infrastructure role, but I take it that's not where you are at

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Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 17 May 2011 3:10 pm

I very much appreciate you ladies and gents commenting. I find the extra data points and background very useful.

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Postby rootyhill » Wed, 18 May 2011 9:34 am

mrdodge wrote:Well, I am employed on a local package as a senior architect and i can assure you that the numbers quoted above are quite conservative for mnc banks. There are a number of senior roles at the moment and they typically seem to start at 250k plus bonus etc. Though the numbers above are in line for a senior infrastructure role, but I take it that's not where you are at


Thanks for your input - I take it as a quite encouraging insight into the market. You are right I am not into infrastructure roles specifically.

On the other hand, the process (via my agent) is taking much longer than I expected. I will give this forum an update as soon as I have got some tangible result.

It's great to know there are some roles floating there at the moment. If possible, any chance you could elaborate on that a bit further? - who, what role etc.
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Postby rootyhill » Wed, 18 May 2011 9:37 am

Strong Eagle wrote:I very much appreciate you ladies and gents commenting. I find the extra data points and background very useful.


SE, you have my word - I will provide some update as soon as I have got some tangible result. But I have to say it does take much longer than I expected to get somewhere in the process - and, they do ask "interesting" questions even in this very early stage of the process :-)!
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Postby FaeLLe » Fri, 20 May 2011 10:55 am

I think your salary expectations are in line with current market trends.
This is based on my knowledge of local packages at my firm which does a lot of EA / IT Strategy work for several firms.


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