The average salary of information and communication technology (ICT) professionals in Vietnam and Hong Kong ranked the highest in Asia in 2013.

Adjusted for purchasing power parity, the salaries of ICT professionals in the two countries were 2.19 and 2.12 times higher, respectively, than their Malaysian counterparts.

According to the latest ICT Job Market Outlook 2014 carried out by National ICT Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) in collaboration with, in Da Nang, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Vung Tau, IT professionals earned between 1.48 and 3.68 times more than those in Malaysia.

The average salary in Malaysia in 2013 increased by 7.2 percent to reach 7,152 RM (2,239 USD) from 6,673 RM (2,089 USD) in 2012.

"In Vietnam, they are paid in US dollars. This contributed to the rise in wages," the Malaysian Insider news portal quoted Cheah Kok Hoong, PIKOM's chairman, as saying at a recent media briefing.

He added that Vietnam was experiencing robust economic growth and was "importing" expatriate ICT talent to meet market demand.

The fact that the salary comparison was adjusted for purchasing power parity made the survey's results reliable, said Le Vinh Khanh, software development manager for ASWIG Solutions.

He said a Vietnamese IT specialist's salary might seem lower than their counterpart's on paper, but the salary would be able to buy more goods.

While the labour demand in the IT sector is constantly on the increase, the gap between the limited number of highly skilled workers available and the much larger number of applicants for IT jobs has led to high unemployment rate, Khanh added.

"Many companies, including my own, struggle to find the right staff despite the high rate of applications for vacancies," Khanh said, citing that it took his company four months to find 10 qualified developers with decent expertise and good English skills.

The survey also reveals that ICT professionals in Thailand and China get salaries that are 1.54 and 1.93 times higher, respectively, than in Malaysia. Meanwhile, the US and Australia top the English-speaking nations, with salaries that are 2.08 and 1.90 times higher, respectively, than in Malaysia.-VNA