Pay rise on the cards for IT professionals

Salary guide suggests data architects and business analysts will enjoy the largest pay increases

Technology workers in New Zealand could see an average pay rise of 3.8 percent this year, according to the 2012 Robert Half Technology Salary Guide.

Results of this year’s guide show data architects and business analysts can expect the largest pay rises in 2012, 7.5 and 7.3 percent respectively, but the recruitment company predicts it will be a boon time for most IT professionals in the country.

Professionals with .NET and Java development skills, and those with Microsoft Business Intelligence proficiency are particularly suited for the current market, says Robert Half, and can expect to earn between six and 15 percent more than their peers.

For project managers, candidates with ITIL, CBAP, IIBA and Agile or Scrum certifications are highly contested.

Megan Alexander, general manager at Robert Half, says while technical proficiency is always sought after, companies are increasingly looking to create highly functioning project teams that can communicate with each other.

“They must also be strong communicators who are able to share information effectively with their peers,” she says.

“Those candidates with a combination of technical experience and soft skills are the most highly sought after in the current market.”

A recent survey of 100 New Zealand CIOs and CTOs, conducted by Robert Half, found that 20 percent of the senior IT executives say they plan on hiring more permanent technology workers this year, compared to only 5 percent who are planning to decrease their headcount.

The most cited reasons for the increased hirings are IT systems upgrades (40 percent), support for business growth (40 percent), and increasing workloads (20 percent).

According to Robert Half, the financial sector is showing the highest level of IT recruitment, which it predicts is in reaction to regulatory changes in finance including the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS).

A healthy 87 percent say they are confident in their own company’s prospects for growth this year, with 66 percent predicting new investments in technology projects for 2012.

Asked which initiatives they have planned for the next 12 months, 39 percent of the IT executives responded with businesses intelligence projects, followed by business process and improvement (36 percent), and applications development (27 percent).

A similar survey conducted in Australia found business intelligence was also the most common IT initiative (35 percent), with the same percentage saying they are planning virtualisation projects this year. In New Zealand only 16 percent of CIOs and CTOs say they are planning virtualisation projects in the next year.

Meanwhile, 16 percent of New Zealand IT executives say they are planning mobility based projects.

The increased IT wages are a reaction to securing the right skills to support these projects, says Robert Half.

It seems signs are positive in the New Zealand IT industry, but a persisting problem is the lack of skilled candidates in the market.

More than half of the surveyed CIOs and CTOs say they are finding it difficult to hire the right IT staff, and 55 percent say they are concerned about losing those they already have to other job opportunities.

Alexander says those responsible for hiring need to be realistic when it comes to setting salaries in the current skills-short market.

“If New Zealand businesses are serious about keeping and attracting technology staff, they’ll need to look carefully at remuneration.

“While salaries are not the only consideration for attracting and retaining staff, bosses must ensure they are paying competitively or they’ll risk losing key players to other opportunities,” she says.

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