Survey finds ICT salaries emerging from the freeze

Many employees will be pushing for pay rises this year, recruiter says

The IT recruitment scene is thawing after a frigid year in 2009, says AbsoluteIT director Grant Burley.

Last week, AbsoluteIT released its latest six-monthly Salary Report, which compiles data given by ICT workers in New Zealand. The latest survey canvassed 14,200 staffers and contractors in the IT industry, almost 25 percent more than in the previous survey.

The upshot of the latest survey is that activity is happening again in the industry after a lengthy subdued period.

“Six months ago, there was what we called cautious optimism, and now we’re starting to see people acting on that optimism,” Burley says.

“There are strong signs in the economy that things are on the improve and that confidence is back.”

The recession has prompted many organisations to look at the way they run themselves, he says.

“There’s more governance in place and companies are looking at how to place themselves in the market.

“There was a long period of little investment and treading water, and now we’re seeing a lot of activity across the board as companies and government organisations look at ways of gaining advantage. And technology is a driver of that.”

The April Salary Survey found that the median contracting rate was found to have gone up by 12.5 percent, from $70 to $80 per hour.

The commentary accompanying the survey notes: “In our last survey we reported a decrease of 12.5 percent; therefore this would indicate contractor rates are returning to their pre-recession levels.”

Of all the total of 14,200 IT staffers who completed the survey, 2500 were contractors.

Regarding permanent employees, the survey found that the median total salary package for permanent IT employees was $78,000, a 3.3 percent increase from six months ago.

However, the increase was due to performance-based salary incentives, and the base figure of $75,000 was unchanged from the previous survey six months ago. That survey in turn recorded a slight drop from the previous one, a year ago.

The survey commentary notes: “With this in mind, a significant proportion of people have not had a pay review or increase in the past 12 to 18 months.

“… We predict the increase in the demand for talent will in turn drive remuneration rates up.

“These professionals could command salary rises of between 2 and 7 percent over the next year, depending on skill level and the number of years’ experience.”

That prediction is backed up by AbsoluteIT’s past experience; the survey commentary notes: “Our records suggest an increase in permanent recruitment activity follows four to six months after a surge in contracting needs.”

Trends identified in the permanent employee field are that trainers are increasingly being appointed in-house, rather than on an outsourced basis, that web and multimedia designers have seen pay increases (after losses in the previous survey).

Technical writers also saw pay rises and the commentary notes: “Over the coming months we envisage a strong demand across the board for project managers, business analysts, architects, developers and testers.

“This increased demand will see employers requiring reviews of the salaries paid, in order to ensure they are getting the best people the market has to offer.

“We believe specialist skills in SAP, SaaS and BI will continue to be difficult to find.”

Burley says some areas are less likely to see raises, such as network support and IT support.

“There are more of those type of people around at the moment.”

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