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Tech talent demand is pushing up IT salaries in Australia, especially for cloud engineers and cyber specialists

- April 20, 2021 2 MIN READ
Photo: AdobeStock
Salaries for IT professionals are still on the rise despite slow wage growth in Australia, a new survey has found.

Recruitment firm Robert Walters has published its annual salary guide which once again shows high demand for local technologists as digital transformation ramped up over the past year.

Managing director of the company’s Asia Pacific operations, David Jones, said a “demand-supply imbalance” was pushing IT salaries up.

“There is increased demand for tech talent as companies expand their IT teams and enhance their digital capabilities because of the pandemic,” he said.

“But as the tech sector remains buoyant compared to many others, elevated demand for tech skills is coinciding with a tightening supply of skilled talent, which is becoming increasingly insufficient to meet demand.”

Nationally, wages grew just 1.4% in 2020 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) but IT workers on average are expecting an extra 6.% to their pay this year – nearly 5% higher than the national average.

Of course, it’s roles in short supply that are seeing a greater increase in pay with the Robert Walters survey of CIOs finding more than two-thirds say they are keen on boosting salaries to fill much-needed positions.

And 73% of CIOs say they will offer salary increases to current tech workers.

As for what skills are in-demand, the story is much the same as in recent years: experience in cloud engineering, cyber security, automation, and web development are still the most needed around the country.

In fact there’s a national need for cyber security and full-stack development with both roles featuring in LinkedIn’s Jobs on the Rise report from the start of the year.

According to the Robert Walters salary guide, a top cyber security specialist in Melbourne or Sydney could be looking at as much as $190,000 per year.

Mid-level full-stack developers can pick up over $100,000 per year.

And salaries for cloud engineers range from $100,000 at the low end to $160,000 for more experienced professionals. However, CIOs are apparently more interested in AWS and Azure skillsets than Google Cloud.

Australian CIOs also said helpdesk support officers were one of the most needed roles but they tend to be on the lowest salary band, maxing out at $80,000.

Salaries are an obviously important feature when considering job prospects, but Jones also recommends organisations consider other benefits when competing to attract tech workers.

“While there is a willingness to offer salary increases – particularly to top performers – not every company is positioned to engage in a bidding war as they recover from months of uncertainty,” he said.

“Companies should therefore complement remuneration with alternative employee benefits to help differentiate themselves from their competitors.

“Non-financial benefits such as supporting work-life balance, working flexibility, including a mix of remote and in-office hours, and career development are just some of the non-financial benefits likely to add value to employees in 2021.”

Well-being is especially important for developers as many have found their working hours increased during the pandemic thanks to tighter production schedules and the sudden need to migrate applications into cloud infrastructure.