IT workers to demand higher salaries due to skills shortage

The demand for skills has allowed existing staff to request higher salaries

IT employers will be faced with a double-edged challenge this year as current staff demand increased salaries and the number of available candidates remains scarce, according to recruitment company, Candle ICT.

Citing the December Quarter Clarius Skills Index, the firm notes there was a shortage of 1400 computing professionals, a figure Candle executive general manager, Linda Trevor, says is down from the 2800 in the September quarter and a result of the Queensland, Victorian and NSW floods and the continued rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

“Over the past 18 months, IT professionals have faced increased workloads from staff cutbacks and pay freezes,” she said in a statement. “Staff have had lower pay as a result of losing their jobs during the Global Financial Crisis and having to accept positions with lower pay.”

According to Trevor, the firm has typically seen wage offers in the order of five to 10 per cent, however in states where the sector competes with the mining industry for employees offers up to 20 per cent have been made.

“So over the coming months, a high turnover of IT professionals is expected, as dissatisfied staff look for new positions with higher pay,” she said.

“In the longer-term, business analysts, architects and project development specialists are the key skill sets which are likely to experience further wage pressures.”

Trevor also claimed the relaxation of visa rules in Australia would ease the shortages in sectors such as telecommunications, including network engineers and specific skills such as those related to Microsoft SharePoint.

“As with the other sectors, the full impact of the Queensland floods on demand for Computing Professionals is difficult to estimate right now. But some Queensland state government departments are expecting that their operational budgets could be reduced to cover the costs of rebuilding,” she said.

In addition, there will be demand for certain skills categories including project management and technical skills, while skills shortages are being experienced among developers and project managers.

New South Wales is likely to experience significant demand for technical professionals if the roll out of the NBN goes ahead and in South Australia, an increase in government contracting is expected particularly in health, energy and the environment.

As reported by Computerworld Australia, a recent survey by Hays Recruitment also indicated a skills shortage would increase both job numbers and salary growth in 2011.

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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