Australian IT salaries rise, but growth slows

IT salaries continued to rise in Australia in the last year with IT professionals on average experiencing salary increases of 5.1% over the 12 months to May 2001.

          IT salaries continued to rise in Australia in the last year with IT professionals on average experiencing salary increases of 5.1% over the 12 months to May 2001.

          However, according to The 2001 Australian Computer Society (ACS) Remuneration Survey, growth levels fell short of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase recorded during that period with the GST (general sales tax)-impacted CPI growing by 6%.

          In a statement issued by the ACS, the 5.1% increase recorded in 2000-2001 was equal to the previous 12 months. Average weekly earnings during the same period grew by 4.7%, up from just 3.6% the previous year.

          ACS president John Ridge says that although IT salaries continue to rise, they were only marginally above the average weekly earnings increase, indicating a slow down in the rate of growth during the past 12 months.

          In comparison, Ridge says, last year's survey showed IT salaries growing at a rate well above the increase in average weekly earnings.

          "This slowdown is a natural correction as a result of the current economic downturn and the increasing prevalence of staff layoffs, as well as the reduction in demand for IT staff in the wake of past requirements for Y2K and GST projects," Ridge says.

          He says the survey -- prepared for the ACS by the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia (APESMA) -- indicates that IT salaries are beginning to come more into line with other professions, "although the impact of the GST on CPI figures makes it difficult to judge the long term implications."

          According to Ridge, the figures released in the Remuneration Survey showed IT professionals still enjoyed comparatively high incomes with the typical total remuneration package for an IT professional in Australia in the private sector more than $A100,000 ($NZ125,000) per annum.

          With some 2000 responses from ACS members, one in six respondents said they earned their principal incomes as independent contractors, charging rates from around $A70 ($NZ88) to $A100 ($NZ125) per hour, depending on work being undertaken.

          According to the survey, three-quarters of the contractors were engaged in roles as consultants, project managers or programmer/analysts.

          Ridge said that, as in previous years, salaries within the education sector lagged behind the rest of the industry, growing only 3.4% compared to the industry average of 5.01%.

          "This highlights the need to improve the level of financial recognition we offer our IT academics and teachers or risk losing them to the more highly paid public and private sector positions," Ridge says.

          Median packages paid for different positions -- Job function and Median total package:

          Sales and marketing: $A162,203 ($NZ204,000)

          General management: $A126,911 ($NZ160,000)

          Consulting: $A107,284 ($NZ135,000)

          Project management: $A104,400 ($NZ131,000)

          IT management: $A103,109 ($NZ130,000)

          Database administrator: $A87,077 ($NZ109,500)

          Project leader: $A86,400 ($NZ109,000)

          Systems management: $A82,998 ($NZ104,000)

          Research and teaching: $A80,727 ($NZ101,500)

          Research and development: $A78,840 ($NZ101,000)

          LAN manager: $A76,656 ($NZ96,000)

          Analysis and testing: $A70,841 ($NZ89,000)

          Programmer/analyst: $A68,394 ($NZ86,000)

          Teaching/training: $A65,655 ($NZ82,000)

          Computer support: $A64,240 ($NZ81,000)

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