Digital Jobs Salary Comparison, By City 2015

The table below compares annual salaries in the four cities in which Cogs has offices, quickly and easily: Job Title London (£s) Berlin(euro) Hong Ko…

The table below compares annual salaries in the four cities in which Cogs has offices, quickly and easily:

Job Title London (£s) Berlin(euro) Hong Kong(HK dollars) Singapore(S dollars)
Project Management
Junior Project Manager 28,000 45,000 295,000 40,000
Senior Project Manager 55,000 60,000 345,000 72,000
Head Project Manager 95,000 80,000 578,000 102,000
Creative & Design
Junior Designer 22.000 30,000 250,000 37,000
Senior Designer 47,000 60,000 430,000 62,000
Design Director 70,000 85,000 700,000 92,000
Creative 23,000 30,000 250,000 37,000
Senior Creative 47,000 64,000 650,000 103,000
Creative Director 95,000 85,000 740,000 123,000
Junior Strategic Planner 30,000 35,000 260,000 50,000
Senior Strategic Planner 63,000 60,000 555,000 92,000
Planning Director 85,000 90,000 763,000 140,000
Client Services
Account Manager 40,000 40,000 283,000 47,000
Senior Account Manager 55,000 55,000 295,000 65,000
Account Director 53,000 65,000 455,000 98,000
Managing Director 140,000 130,000 1,784,000 266,000
Developer 25,000 40,000 233.000 41,000
Senior Developer 45,000 60,000 418,000 72,000


A Tale Of Four Cities

At Cogs, we match people and jobs – but we know that in order to provide the best possible service, we need to do more than that. We know information on the diversity of markets, lifestyles, and resources is an important factor when bringing people together.We’re successful because we strive to create long term relationships, building permanent careers in prominent businesses.

With offices in four countries, we can bring a wealth of useful information to both clients and candidates.The way of life, and indeed the costs, of day-to-day living vary considerably between London, Berlin, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

In London, we find opportunities in a wide range of roles – for example, a strong demand for Front–End developers with excellent Javascript experience; and Back-End for both Python and node.js Of course, London is a city with a very diverse culture, and a dizzying array of things to do. And, in terms of accommodation, there is an ever-increasing demand for housing, particularly in the rented sector. Monthly rents in the capital climbed three per cent year on year in 2014 – an increase which was ahead of salary, intensifying the pressure on those seeking to rent. What’s more, for potential buyers, house prices in London are surging at a rate of almost 20% a year, according to the U.K. Office of National Statistics.

In the United Kingdom, most people may earn £10,000 before any tax is paid, and then 20% basic rate tax is paid on their first £31,865, with a 40% higher rate tax on taxable income between £31,865 and £150,000.

The Berlin jobs market currently shows a healthy demand for integrated roles, with high usage of the multi-screen experience, and an increasing need for strong social media skills. In fact, we are seeing a large requirement for people in social media and community management roles. As elsewhere, brands are expecting to see ‘likes’ and followers. Therefore, businesses are seeking out individuals who can create exciting and relevant content, and build social reputation to turn ‘consumers’ into regular followers of the brand.

Berlin is rather different in comparison with other European cities, as each of its central areas spread out considerably, reaching into the suburbs and so residents are usually well-connected with the U-Bahn underground railway, S-Bahn (above ground), or tram. The city is also home to 138 museums and more than 400 art galleries, 44 theatres, and three major opera houses.

Taxation and the costs of services are considered to be high in Germany, but there are, by law, excellent health and social security facilities. Berlin’s regulated housing market and large renting community puts it in top place for rent affordability, right across the world’s major cities.

Germany operates a sliding scale of personal taxation based on income. Those earning between 8,005 to 52,881 euros per annum will pay between 14% and 42% in taxation.

In Hong Kong, we see the demand for digital talent outstripping the supply. The Hong Kong market is mobile device driven, and we are aware of growth in service applications, gaming, and mobile marketing. The employment market in Hong Kong is therefore buoyant, so there is a resource gap in many businesses.

Renting costs in Hong Kong are generally eye-wateringly high, with the space available frustratingly small. Rent can seem exorbitant but, since taxes are so low, it is fair to say that the two factors balance each other.

Hong Kong’s public transport is clean, modern, and very reliable. The MTR (the subway/underground network) runs at regular intervals, and delays are rare. There is an abundance of taxis and the fares are considered to be cheap measured against London or New York.

However, taxation rates in Hong Kong are competitively low. They rise progressively, as one would expect, with higher salaries. However, the maximum one could expect to pay, even in the top tax bracket, is only 17%. Concepts familiar to American and European expatriates, such as sales tax, capital gains, and value-added tax, do not exist in Hong Kong.

Our experience of the market in Singapore shows a healthy demand for digital talent across the skills spectrum. We find a closer link between media and creative agencies in Singapore than elsewhere, with flexibility sought as client services and strategy combine. The increasing investment in digital has led to a shortage of roles such as social, analytics, and UX specialists.

A recent ‘Mercer Cost of Living’ survey shows Singapore to be the world’s eighth most expensive city in which to live. In Asia, it is the third most expensive city, behind Tokyo and Osaka, and ahead of Hong Kong. However, the ease of a lifestyle, with the ready option of domestic help, the general feeling of safety, high levels of education, and the multi-cultural nature of the population, continue to make Singapore a popular place to live. There is an excellent and well regarded MRT train system, and an efficient bus network. Taxis are also readily available and are inexpensive when compared with Europe and the United States.

It’s important to note that Singapore has very strict rules in relation to some aspects of day-to-day life. There are fines for ‘jaywalking’; no food or drink is allowed on public transport, and chewing gum is prohibited.

Taxation in Singapore is on a scale from zero on the first $20,000 earned, up to 20% on salaries over $320,000. However there are rebates and personal allowances, that will reduce the tax bill, according to one’s circumstances.

The table below compares the four cities in which Cogs has offices, quickly and easily:

London (£s) Berlin(euro) Hong Kong(HK dollars) Singapore(S dollars)
Average annual salary – Account Director 53,000 76,631 458,963 98,763
Average cost of a VW Golf 16,495 19,000 239,500 140,000
Average cost of a litre of gasoline 1.36 1.59 16.97 2.12
Average monthly rent* 1,500 600 16,205 3,600
Average monthly disposable salary after tax 1,752 1,815 19,277 3,932
Average annual mortgage rate 4.12% 2.95% 2.60% 2.45%
Average cost of monthly utilities** 145 180 1,332 193

*One bedroom city apartment

**Includes electricity, heating, water, garbage disposal.

If you’re interested in a role in any of the locations mentioned please see all our current job vacancies.

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