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Salary levels show signs of IT rebound

salaries in Western Australia’s information technology sector are increasing on the back of an industry turnaround.

While it is still early days and the salary increases remain confined to particular areas, this is good news because the WA industry has lagged behind national IT jobs growth.

The national IT job trend indicates that senior project management and sales positions over the period from March 2003 to March 2004 have experienced significant pay in-creases, while salaries in other areas have remained the same or fallen slightly.

This trend is most predominant in Sydney, where many large organisations are headquartered.

According to Ambit, the salary of a senior channel and alliance manager in Sydney is now about $130,000, up from $80,000 this time last year while staff in pre and post sales support positions can now command $120,000, up from $100,000 in March 2003.

This upward trend in salaries for these positions indicates renewed confidence in the ICT industry and businesses are ready to spend on upgrading their existing systems.

It also indicates that IT providers are mobilising their sales teams to target potentially cashed up clients.

The national trend for IT jobs also shows that while programmers and graduates still struggle to find a job, there is strong demand for experienced developers in newer technologies such as Microsoft.Net.

In WA, for example, the salary for a senior .Net programmer increased from $60,000 to $70,000 in the past 12 months.

Another area to enjoy increased demand in Perth’s IT sector has been the area of enterprise resource planning.

ERP roles have experienced the biggest jump in salaries in the Perth market with IT workers skilled in Oracle, PeopleSoft and SAP now commanding $15,000 to $20,000 pay increases over what they could secure 12 months ago.

Salaries for project managers in Perth have also gone up from $100,000 12 months ago to $120,000 currently.

Seek CEO Paul Bassatt said while contract rates provided an excellent barometer of where the IT market was in the short-term because they responded immediately to market fluctuations, salary rates provided a longer term measure of what was happening in the IT job market.

“Anecdotally, we are seeing demand increase. Wages have bottomed and have started to rise,” he said.

“Hourly rates have certainly started to pick up but are nowhere near what they were three years ago.”

Australian Computer Society National president Edward Mandla said: “The good news is that major vendors are reporting increased pipeline opportunities.”

“For the first time in a few years, they are in a dilemma and don’t have enough staff,” he said.

 “I think we’ll see a skills shortage in the next couple of years.”

Mr Mandla said ICT salaries had fluctuated dramatically for about the past 20 years.

“There is no doubt that the dot.com era was outrageous,” he said.

“Pimply kids who had read a book were getting $75,000 off the bat and we in the ICT industry couldn’t understand it.

“After any hyped period, there is always a correction and that was what we’ve seen recently.”

 

“I think we’ll see a skills shortage in the next couple of years.”

-         Edward Mandla

 

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