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Higher wages for IT professionals in Australia and New Zealand, but diversity issues remain

The talent crunch in Australia and New Zealand has pushed up wages in the IT sector, but more work is needed to foster workplace diversity

The tech talent crunch in Australia and New Zealand is not going to ease up any time soon, going by the results of an annual IT salary survey that polled IT professionals in the two countries.

According to the 2019 Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT salary survey, involving 308 respondents, the average IT salaries in ANZ grew from between A$100,000 and A$150,000 in 2017 to between A$100,000 and A$260,000 in 2018.

Depending on seniority and roles, IT directors could be taking home an average of A$190,000 a year, while a manager’s average pay was in the range of A$140,000.

The rising wages in the IT profession come on the back of Australia’s growing IT industry, which has been struggling to find the talent it needs to become more competitive globally.

According to a study by the Australian Computer Society and Deloitte, demand for tech talent is set to grow by nearly 100,000 workers by 2023, representing an average annual growth rate of 2.3%, compared with 1.4% in the overall workforce over this period.

The top three positions that will have to be filled in ANZ over the next 12 months are architecture and development (29%), technical support and operations (25%) and cyber security (15%).

Among those roles, solutions architects and developers were most sought after, followed by systems engineers and network engineers.

With the talent crunch and rising salaries, nearly half (48%) of survey respondents indicated that they were open to new opportunities, though they were not actively looking for a new job. About four in 10 cited higher salaries as a reason for switching jobs.

In terms of benefits and perks, most respondents were drawn to vacation days and flexible work arrangements that help them maintain work-life balance, followed by office entertainment.

Surprisingly, remote work opportunities were only cited by about a tenth of respondents as a perk or soft benefit, suggesting that employees either considered those as a given in any digital workplace, or that they were already covered by flexible work arrangements.

As for workplace diversity, ANZ organisations have their work cut out for them, with 43% of respondents claiming that diversity issues had not been addressed.

For example, only 41% of respondent companies planned to improve the balance of women and men on the IT team. That was the case despite the fact that over half (52%) of respondents agreed that recruiting more women could alleviate the talent crunch.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) did better in hiring women IT professionals. According to the study, 26% of respondents from SMEs reported that over 40% of their colleagues were women, compared with 19% among those at large enterprises with over 1,000 employees.

Read more about IT talent issues in ANZ

  • Australia’s Global Talent Scheme follows the government’s move to scrap the 457 visa, but industry watchers say smaller companies will struggle to meet its salary threshold.
  • Nearly four in 10 workers in Australia are worried that they do not have the right skills to compete in the digital economy.
  • Australian companies such as Atlassian and Ansarada are turning to international options to access scarce talent.
  • Data61 CEO Adrian Turner says Australia needs to reskill workers rather than implement a robot tax.

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