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The good news is there are more jobs in tech, the bad news is pay levels are dropping

- April 1, 2024 3 MIN READ
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Photo: AdobeStock
The tech sector was one of the only industries in Australia which saw the number of job ads increase over the last month but was also the only sector that saw wages go backwards, according to reports.

New data from Seek showed the number of jobs ads posted in the information and communications technology sector increased by 0.6% in February, bucking a national drop of 2.5% in overall job ads.

But it’s not all rosy news for the sector, with a separate report by Employment Hero finding that salaries for people working in this industry have stalled.

The Seek Employment Dashboard for February reveals that the number of job ads posted on the employment platform dropped by 2.5% month-on-month in February, marking a near-20% decrease from last year.

All states and territories except for Tasmania saw a drop in job ads being posted, while Victoria had the most significant decline with 3.6%.

The ICT sector was one of only five industries where job ads increased month-on-month, with a 0.6% boost.

This marked the first time that the number of tech job ads being posted on Seek increased in 12 months.

The science and technology sector also saw more job ads being posted in the last month.

“After two months of rising job ads, volumes fell in February by 2.5% – this was driven by declines in Victoria and New South Wales, where hiring activity across almost all industries has slowed over the past quarter,” Seek ANZ managing director Kendra Banks said.

“This is not the case in other states and territories, where industries in some regions are recording growth quarter-on-quarter, such as construction in Queensland and banking and financial services in Western Australia.”

While fewer job ads are being posted overall, the data reveals that more people than ever are applying for the ones that are being posted.

According to the Seek data, applications per job ad rose by just under 3% in February compared with January, with this figure increasing in Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

When comparing these figures with pre-COVID times, the number of job ads being posted are just 1.8% higher compared with February 2019, but applications for these ads are 50% higher.

“Applications per job ad have been rising consistently for the past 18 months, and in January there were notable increases in Western Australia and New South Wales,” Banks said.

“As a result, we have a market that is still reasonably tight, with growing demand in certain industries, but it is a highly competitive space for candidates across the board.”

Tech wages stagnating

According to separate research by Employment Hero as part of its SME Index for February 2024, wages for those working in the ICT sector declined over the last year, despite salaries increasing across most other industries.

The data, which is based on more than 1,500 SMEs and 1.5 million employees in Australia, found that the median hourly rate for tech workers dropped slightly from $57.20 to $57.12 over the past year.

The ICT sector was the only one that saw wages decline over this time period, according to the data.

Despite this minimal decline, the tech sector still enjoys the highest median hourly rate across all industries in Australia, after significant increases during the COVID pandemic.

Compared with January, tech salaries dropped nearly 5%, while the number of people in the sector increased by just 0.1%.

This is despite a different report in June last year finding that tech workers should expect to receive a pay rise in the current financial year.

The Hays Salary Guide for the 2023-24 financial year found that nearly all tech employers will increase salaries for their workers this year, with many planning to offer significant pay boosts to combat growing skills shortages.

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