Once in a lifetime

Wages are edging higher again in the IT industry.

For the first time in years, salaries are quietly marching forward.

As our special salary report (from page one) shows it has been a relatively prosperous year and 2005 is looking just as bright.

But, and there is always a but in this cautious post-dotcom climate, these rewards are not being enjoyed by everyone in the IT industry.

Not that I would dare be so bold as to claim that everyone working in IT has been luxuriating in wage increases for the past year.

No, these improved conditions are being leveraged by those with the right skill sets.

Fuelled by gradually improving economic conditions and a shortage of high-value skills, the titles with the most robust salary options are business analysts, IT managers, project managers, IP telephony skills and high-end .Net and Java skills.

It is these skills that are enjoying the spoils of increased IT activity.

I say spoils, rather than treasure, because these improvements hardly measure against the bullish conditions of the dotcom heyday. That experience was a once in a lifetime.

Adding to the optimistic sentiment last week was the ANZ's job advertisements survey for October which predicted unemployment could fall to a 27-year low by the end of this year.

Announcing that job advertisements rose 5 percent last month, ANZ chief economist Saul Eslake said unemployment could fall to levels not seen since 1977 bringing the unemployment rate down to 5.5 percent.

This jump in job ads across all states mirrors claims by CIOs last week that some organizations are competing to retain talent.

Not that there is any real shortage of people working in IT, but there is always a shortage of talented individuals boasting the right mix of business and technology skills. And it certainly doesn't apply to code-writing skills which are now a commodity particularly with the emergence of global outsourcing.

An upswing in IT spending coupled with more project activity also contributes to the salary push as IT professionals seek out the more attractive offers.

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