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Friday, 26 August 2011 16:27

Bananas still a luxury on ICT salaries

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The get rich quick era of the ICT sector is well and truly over. Although Australian ICT salaries increased 4 per cent in the year to May, which was an improvement over their performance in 2010, it was shy of the 4.3 per cent salary improvement enjoyed across the wider economy as tracked by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The annual ICT salary survey of Australian Computer Society members found that although the average ICT salary increase was marginally ahead of the rise in the consumer price index of 3.3 per cent during the same period meaning that ICT salaries had grown in real terms, ICT careers were hardly proving a licence to print money. For this sector at least bananas remain a luxury item.

And some in the public sector haven't had a rise in years. This year 23 per cent of private sector employees said they had any salary increase, which follows on from the 2010 survey which found 45 per cent of private sector ICT workers had endured salary stasis.

Bananas for public service ICT professionals are even more of a status symbol as according to the report, Government ICT salaries rose just 3.5 per cent during the year - down from 4.2 per cent growth a year earlier. The ACS believes this is due to a continued migration to permanent rather than often higher paying contract roles.

Conducted for the ACS by the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia, the survey reflects the responses of only ACS members and is therefore only a straw poll of the national ICT workforce which stands at around 426,000 according to the Australian Information Industry Association. According to ACS president Anthony Wong, 1,905 of the ACS's 19,000 members responded to its salary survey.

Mr Wong said that he expected pockets of skills shortages would lead to further salary growth over the next 12 months.

But he acknowledged that Australia was experiencing a 'two speed economy' where some sectors were enjoying more robust growth than others. The potential hot spots in terms of ICT demand over the next 12 months were likely to include NBN related activity, insurance, banking and finance, retail and mining he said.

'I am optimistic about the coming year as long as something dreadful does not happen.' Which, as Australia's banana growers well know, remains largely in the lap of the gods.

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