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Thursday, 26 June 2008 07:50

IT bonanza: salaries and offers to rise further in 2009

IT workers are expected to reap up to 15% higher salaries next year on top of record increases already granted in the last 12 months, according to a new survey.

The 2008-09 Michael Page International Technology Salary + Employment Forecast released this week, shows employers expect to pay more to attract and retain IT staff in all industries as the skills and graduate enrolment crises continue.

They anticipate offering between 5 and 8% more money across all IT jobs, and up to 15% more for specialist skill sets in 2009.

Last month, the Hays Salary Survey 2008 revealed IT salaries had risen between 6 and 10% on average, with some positions commanding 20 and 30% higher wages.

But the new survey warns employers to provide more than just money to retain workers, with twice as many employees saying their main reason for leaving their last job was career advancement. It recommends training, flexible work practices and a degree of leeway in the hiring.

Factored into the predicted salary rise is the exodus of IT professionals from NSW and Victoria towards Queensland and Western Australia where the resources and mining boom is fuelling demand for staff across all sectors.

Although the IT exodus is expected to be temporary to match contract periods, candidates are being persuaded to move because of the number of opportunities and the “range of interesting and rewarding projects on offer”, the survey found.

All in all, the survey has even more good news for IT candidates looking for choice as it found more than two thirds of employers plan to hire more people. Some 62% are preparing to increase their permanent head count by 1 to 10 staff, while 7% plan to hire more than 10. Only 4% expect to decrease head count. (Continues on Page 2)

Albeit from a low sample base – the survey spoke to only 137 employers and 1052 employees in the IT sector - that’s between 174 and more than 930 new permanent job opportunities considering only the respondents’ own commitments, not their national statistical representation.

“69% planning to increase - that’s quite high. It’s a good indication of where the market is at,” says Simon Lynch, director of technology at Michael Page International.

A similar commitment was shown for contract positions, with 31% of employers planning one or two new hirings (up to 84 new contracts) and 19% planning three to 10 (up to 260 new contracts).

But with the skills shortage approaching boiling point and the 457 work visa class under review by the Federal Government, Lynch warns there could be major disruptions to IT projects around the country if those vacancies can’t be filled.

“There is no magic solution for the IT community. There is a skills shortage and if the 457 is changed, it will cause massive issues in the industry. Companies have to be more flexible with the skills they accept. Training and career development are also very important because the university graduate numbers continue to decline,” he says.

The survey advised employers “to promote the range of exciting career opportunities on offer” to help boost graduate numbers and reverse the threat to the future supply of IT professionals.

You can see the full survey and how much you should be earning on the salary tables here (https://www.michaelpage.com.au/pdf/AU_0809_Technology.pdf)

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