Computerworld Survey: ICT job market sizzling

Market polarized between haves and have-nots

The ICT job market is sizzling. Wages are at an all-time high, bonuses are generous, job opportunities plentiful and ICT unemployment is at its lowest levels this century.

It's official, the ICT industry has made a full recovery from the devastation that followed the dotcom crash in April, 2001.

As tech stocks plummeted, IT professionals everywhere struggled to survive the industry downturn.

These were the lean years of savage cuts. Tech budgets were stripped back to the bare minimum and there were massive job losses across the globe.

Not everyone survived, but those that did are enjoying the fruits of their labour, according to Computerworld's first annual IT Salary Survey.

The survey, to which nearly 400 readers responded, was conducted in June this year and shows average wage increases of about 6 percent over the past 12 months.

However, the survey also revealed a significant shift in the job market. The industry is polarized with salaries for senior positions rising and lower-level roles remaining stagnant.

Senior IT executives today are enjoying six-figure salaries averaging $163,241 while system administrators, business analysts and ICT team leaders are averaging $89,000 a year. But scale down to the lower end of the market and salaries are stagnant (detailed graphs appear in the September 27, 2006 edition of Computerworld Magazine).

ACT Planning and Land Authority senior analyst Karl Irving believes this is because skill requirements for lower-level positions have dropped as technology's applications have improved.

"We can pick up programmers a lot cheaper now than we could five years ago," he said.

"Database administrator roles have become so simplified because of the abundance of highly advanced DB applications that we only need half the number of DBAs to deliver a better job than we did five years ago.

"The employee we are using from Microsoft for analysis of IT strategic development [making applications Web-enabled] is getting paid about $350 an hour - which shows how sought after staff trained in this area are at the moment."

Despite salaries rising for senior IT positions, Irving says competition has stalled.

But at the lower end he said salaries have dropped, but competition is fierce with plenty of movement for positions.

The survey found the average bonus paid in 2006 is $15,281.

According to Queensland Health team leader for service, communications and networks, Steve Bond this is an example of the improved working conditions ICT staff enjoy today.

"I would definitely agree with the findings; salaries and available work have gone up although they are a bit higher than average," he said.

"Our basic desktop support roles get paid $50K while desktop administrators or DBAs get about $63K."

Get the full results of the Computerworld Salary Survey for free by signing up to the Computerworld Digital Edition before Thursday Oct 4, 2006.

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