CIOs in Southeast Asia: Salary expectations & job description

What are the responsibilities and salary of Chief Information Officers?

Charlotte Trueman Aug 03rd 2018 A-A+

What is a CIO?

Within the C-Suite Executive team, the role of the Chief Information Officer is stalwart. On the surface, the CIO takes responsibility for all the IT and technology within an organisation however, as the business landscape has evolved over the years, so has the role of the CIO, making it a job title which is increasingly difficult to define. 

While remaining focused on technology is still a necessity of the job, CIOs are now being challenged to use IT strategies and solutions to drive business innovation and transformation.

The introduction of cloud computing has produced a whole new ecosystem that needs to be taken into consideration whilst the growing emphasis on analytics means data must now be thought about more carefully.

Ultimately, this means that the modern CIO is taking on a more strategic business role than that of their technologically-driven predecessors.

This move beyond a focus on traditional IT is a trend that has been mimicked throughout Asia.

However, research by Gartner has shown that CIOs in the region are experiencing the transitioning of their role at a slower rate than their global counterparts; with many claiming they lack the authority to deliver significant change outside their remit of IT.

How much do CIOs get paid in Southeast Asia?

The salary of a CIO varies from country to country across the ASEAN region and can change depending on industry and years of experience.

Below is a guide to the average per annum earnings of CIOs in 7 countries where data was available.

  • Indonesia: 900 - 1600m IDR ($62,573- 111,241)
  • Vietnam: 2,169 - 4,392bn VND ($72,000 - 144,000)
  • Singapore: 118,359 - 381,921 SGD ($86,968- 280,628)
  • Thailand: 1,706,127 - 13,943,797 THB ($51,281- 419,110)
  • Malaysia: 147,395 - 890,005 MYR ($36,336- 219,404)
  • Philippines: 358,798 - 5,817,480 PHP ($6,761- 109,623)
  • Cambodia: 50,550,612 - 214,803,527 KHR ($12,440 - 52,861) [Figures relate to C-Level Executive job title]

Who does the CIO work with?

There is often an assumption within businesses that the C-Suite Executive team should all report to the CEO but, this isn’t always the case.

While the majority of CIOs do report directly to the CEO of their company, some report to the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) in order to make sure sprawling IT budgets are defined, met and understood. A smaller number report to the COO (Chief Operating Officer).

However, the relationship between the CIO and the CEO can prove vital to the running of a company.

The impact of technology should not be underestimated, especially as organisations start to realise the benefits of taking a digital-first approach to business.

Therefore, if a CIO and CEO can communicate well and work together collaboratively, it can help to ensure that digital strategies are implemented smoothly, and best practices are scaled throughout the organisation.

What skills do you need to be a successful CIO?

As the role of the CIO covers such a wide-ranging set of responsibilities, the range of skills needed to be successful in the job are equally far-reaching.

Good management and interpersonal skills are absolutely vital for setting and implementing a company-wide strategy.

A CIO who can’t communicate effectively with both their team and fellow C-Suite Executives or board members will not be successful in the role. Problem solving, creativity and innovation are all necessary qualities organisations look for when hiring a modern CIO.

Unsurprisingly, as the responsibilities of the CIO move away from being purely technical, there has been an increase of CIOs joining companies form less-traditional backgrounds.

However, in Asia where the role of the CIO is somewhat narrower, 62% of CIOs have a degree in Information Technology, Computer Science or a related field. Furthermore, 78% of CIOs from the region report that they have only ever worked in IT.

Fundamentally, an effective CIO is one that is able to balance the technical and strategic skills necessary to fulfil all the responsibilities of the job.

The modern CIO has more influence over the running of the company than ever before, with technology now acting as the key driving force behind business success.