IT contractors are missing out on huge amounts of unclaimed super, according to a warning issued by Australia's Unclaimed Superannuation Fund (AUSfund) last week.
Australia has more than 4.8 million lost superannuation accounts and more than $7 billion in lost superannuation, according to AUSfund executive officer David Haynes, and many of these belong to IT contractors who frequently change jobs, leave the industry or temporarily move interstate or overseas.
In the past two years AUSfund has repatriated more than $100 million to its rightful owners without charge and has plans to further unite more than $500 million during then next three months.
Haynes says AUSfund, which acts as a holding fund for super funds that have lost track of their members, wants to raise awareness of unclaimed super among IT contractors.
"AUSfund has found information technology people tend to be in the high-risk category because they change jobs frequently, often working freelance or on short contracts," Haynes said.
"Super accounts get lost when people change their job, their name or their address without informing their superannuation fund.
"For IT people who do have lost super with AUSfund, it's both free and easy for them to find their lost super. They simply logon to www.unclaimedsuper.com.au and type in their personal details."
Information Technology Contract and Recruitment Association (ITCRA) business development manager Margot Ingoldby is not surprised that IT contractors are among those with masses of unclaimed super.
"IT contractors do change jobs regularly and every time they pick up a new project they pick up a new super fund. It can be a real drag," Ingoldby said.
ITCRA provides a super product through Power Australia, which helps IT contractors deal with multiple super funds being provided with each new contract.
"At the moment we have 9000 IT professionals who are members of this," Ingoldby said.
"The product is totally transportable across the ITCRA framework. I think that IT contractors are in a unique situation, and this product works well. "Our members can see the advantage of not having to fill out new paperwork every time."
Contractors get access to training
IT recruitment firm Candle ICT has released a survey claiming that 51 percent of Australian IT contractors are actively participating in or have access to training and professional development programs. The survey of more than 1000 IT contractors across the country found employers are investing in IT training for contractors allowing them to continually update their skills.
The survey also found that 20 percent of contractors are actively encouraged by their employers to take part in on-the-job training and 31 percent of those surveyed are given access to training on an ad-hoc external basis.
However, 49 percent of contractors said that they do not have access to company sponsored training programs. Are you, as an IT contractor, getting access to training?