Salaries of Australian IT professionals are forecast to grow 2.3 percent this year as businesses regain confidence following the federal election and embark on postponed transformation projects.
According to IT recruitment firm Robert Walters' annual salary survey for 2014, the IT jobs market is starting to look up already in 2014, after an uncertain 2012 and 2013 - a result of an unsettled global economy and the change in federal government.
NSW is expected to record the highest growth in IT salaries, but only in specific skill sets - professionals with UI/UX (user experience), mobile, cloud, DevOps, agile software development and ecommerce skills will command higher premiums.
Developers with UI/UX expertise will see salaries increase by 4.1 percent, mobile developers by five percent and other software developers by 9.6 percent - specifically for younger devs who companies can progress up the organisation, given a shortage of skilled university graduates.
Robert Walters forecasts opportunity to be had in the Sydney banking and finance sector, as new projects and increasing budgets provide more freedom for increased hiring.
Banks and financial organisations will be looking for project managers and business analysts with specific domain knowledge as well as agile experience, the recruiter predicted.
Banks including Suncorp, BankWest, NAB, Westpac and ME Bank have previously spoken of their use of the agile approach to software development, and Robert Walters expects the method will grow in popularity this year and other organisations realise its benefits.
“It’s about shortening that development time and getting the product out to the customer a lot faster, putting testing in place at the same time as the development phase,” Robert Walters IT director Peter Bateson told iTnews.
“You don’t need to have a developer and a tester, you can have one - it’s all about saving costs.”
Other industries also expect to move increasingly towards agile, and as such will want more IT professionals skilled in its use. Demand was also high for business intelligence, cloud computing and ERP and CRM systems.
The presence of large multinational cloud providers in Sydney will lead more of the city's large firms to consider use of public clouds, Bateson said.
Sydney CIOs in the banking and finance industry can expect to earn upwards of $290,000 this year, according to Robert Walters, compared to $280,000 last year. In other industries, Sydney-based CIOs can expect salaries of $180,000 and over, up from $160,000 in 2013.
In Melbourne, offshoring initiatives in Australia’s telecommunications industry meant big reductions for contract staff and little permanent recruitment, the firm said. The national election also caused uncertainty and slowed hiring.
Now the election is over and confidence grows in global markets, banking, wealth and superannuation companies in Victoria are looking to hire more IT positions, as are those in retail, security and logistics.
But salaries aren't expected to increase significantly as a result - companies will prefer permanent hires to keep contractor costs down and a tight rein on their intellectual property.
Salaries will increase slightly - a CIO can expect to earn between $180,000 and $300,000 this year compared to $160,000 and $270,000 last year in Melbourne.
Perth was also hit by uncertainty created by the federal election, as well as challenging market conditions in mining and resources. Many projects were reassessed and put on hold, and redundancies from corporate restructures and budget cuts meant there were more people available for less work.
Robert Walters expects companies will remain cautious this year, but as they start to realise the benefits of technology investments, optimism will return, and postponed projects from last year will get the green light.
Perth-based companies most demand skills in business intelligence, SharePoint, CRM and cloud computing.
Salaries will remain static however, as employers continue to work within tight budget restraints. A CIO can expect to earn $160,000+ this year, comparable to last year.
Mass redundancies in Adelaide and Brisbane over the last two years saw hiring activity dramatically reduced, according to the report.
For Adelaide, that situation isn’t expected to get significantly better this year, and because of the mass competition for vacancies, some job hunters may need to accept pay cuts.
The vacancies that are available are expected to be in the retail vertical and predominantly involve network engineers and solutions architects - especially those competent in Cisco networking and VMware software.
Robert Walters expects IT recruitment to pick up in Adelaide following the March South Australian state election, with salaries forecast to stabilise. CIO salaries in particular will remain flat at between $160,000 to $270,000.
In Brisbane, things started to look up in late 2013 after a year characterised by IT redundancies. IT managers in the private sector received bigger budgets for hiring, and new IT projects in the public sector saw jobs made available.
The firm expects that trend to continue this year with several new transformation projects scheduled. Technical staff that can combine collating and documenting business requirements with applications packaging, testing or programming will be in the highest demand.
But the spate of redundancies in 2012 has meant there are still too many IT specialists for the amount of jobs on offer - which the firm predicts will see companies take on skilled staff for less money, and warm to talented IT workers that can play a several roles in a project, to streamline costs.
Salaries for IT workers in Brisbane are expected to remain fairly steady this year, and CIOs are forecast to bring in between $170,000 to $185,000 in 2014 compared to $160,000 to $175,000 in 2013.
Robert Walters did not survey Canberra in its annual salary guide.