2004 will see Australian companies hiring more IT professionals, according to one recruitment firm.
Lesley Bishop, director at recruitment firm Michael Page Technology, said all the indicators were pointing towards a more favourable employment market in the technology sector this year.
"While there are early signs of a more wholesale increase in salaries across the board, candidates should not expect a return to the heady days of the late 90s, which was fuelled by the dotcom boom and was simply never sustainable," Bishop warned.
The recruitment firm is predicting security, CRM and business intelligence to be the biggest drivers of IT jobs this year.
"Increased spending on security, due to the proliferation of online transactions, investment in CRM and business intelligence by Australia's financial institutions and a move away from outsourcing by major companies will drive this," Michael Page Technology said in a statement.
With salary packages, Bishop said that individual bonuses were becoming the "key measurement of performance and worth", more so than they had been in previous years.
However, money was not the key motivator for people changing jobs, according to Michael Page Technology. Bishop said that this highlighted an interesting trend, with career advancement and stability now the motivating factors for changing jobs.
She also said that, although there was likely to be a pickup in demand for contractors this year and in 2005, it wasn't "likely to be the road to riches as has been the case in the past".
"Fixed term contracts have replaced the premium rates that we have previously witnessed," Bishop said. "Companies are now moving towards fixed term, fixed price contracts to complete projects, which typifies the now budget and deadline focussed customer."