2009 a goldmine for business analysts, hangover for the rest

Stop-gap IT contractors should push for permanent employment

The financial crisis has sowed jobs for business analysts across Australia, but stomped out growth in other IT sectors, according to recruitment experts.

However, telecommunication giants and the big banks have created jobs, experts say, through a swath of lucrative core system and network upgrades.

Brisbane government departments have also opened new hires for IT staff, according to the 10th Global Salary Survey from recruitment consultancy Robert Walters, following an “influx” of implementation projects in the first half of 2008.

The report claimed 2008 was a bitter-sweet year for contractors who were made “available and affordable” from a slowing economy and were recruited by the public sector in the latter half of the year.

Business analysts focused on testing, and collating and documenting business requirements will be snapped-up by companies in Queensland, Victoria, and Western Australia this year, the report states, while system administrators and network engineers will continue to be in demand.

IT professionals will have a tougher time in Melbourne, according to the report, as falling demand for IT professionals from 2007 is set to continue into 2009.

However jobs will be created through a series of “high profile” enterprise and infrastructure development projects in the state's finance and telecommunications sectors which are set to start this year.

Salaries for IT permanent and contractor staff in Perth will fall for the first time in more than three years, handing the “balance of power” to employers, which the company blames on job cuts following the state's economic boom in 2007.

“Recruitment processes were lengthened as employers had a larger pool of available talent to choose from,” the report states, adding Java and C# skills will be in demand in Perth this year.

The global financial crisis hit NSW hard during 2008, according to figures. Multinational companies sacked staff under orders from foreign headquarters and later hired contractors towards year's end to fill a staff shortfall. The state's major banks helped buck the trend in the state with huge core system upgrades that require skills in testing, business analysis, project management.

Contractors lost the bargaining power to push for fatter pay packets as contracts became scarce, the report claims, although “demand still outweighed supply” in testing, network and infrastructure, enterprise resource planning and solutions architecture. Business analysts, solutions architects and projects managers were snapped up by telcos continuing with huge transformation programmes.

“2009 is likely to be an uncertain year economically, however Sydney remains a skills-short market in IT,” the report states.

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Higher Recruitment director Rob Stevens said some IT jobs should stabilise this year from essential IT system maintenance projects.

“IT is a relatively recession proof industry, compared to sectors such as finance, [because it] is needed through the tough times.

“It is beneficial for candidates to remain permanent where possible, increase their experience and show true measurable value to their current organisations. Contractors on the market [should] go permanent where possible,” he said, adding that businesses are weary of career contractors moving to permanent roles because they often recommence contracting when the market stabilises.

People Bank COO Peter Acheson said contractors will win-out this year in the aftermath of permanent staff redundancies.

“Permanent recruitment has fallen off 30 to 40 percent since March 2008, while contracting has picked up and is a great short-term option for those made redundant. Businesses will often find a shortfall in staff and will hire contractors to finish projects,” Acheson said.

“There are a number of IT projects picking up across the country that will create more jobs. The Commonwealth Bank is already hiring, as is NAB. Westpac have a giant integration project with St George, and ANZ will likely upgrade its systems.

“While every part of corporations are under review for cost-cutting, so IT will experience cut-backs and current reports prove that. However IT is a tool used to drive more value and automate manual tasks, so it won't be the the focus of razor gangs."

Acheson said networking jobs will be created as banks roll out MPLS networks to improve billing systems, adding the National Broadband Network (NBN) may create more jobs later this year.

Should you ask for a pay rise

State by state IT pay packets credit Robert Walters


    CIO / IT director
  • Permanent $150k—$200k
  • Contractor $130p/hr—$160p/hr
  • Systems administrator (2-5 years’experience)
  • Permanent $60k—$90k
  • Contractor $55p/hr—$85p/hr
  • Business analyst (2-5 years’ experience)
  • Permanent $75kmdash;$95k
  • Contractor $70p/hr—$90p/hr
  • Network engineer
  • Permanent $60k—$95k
  • Contractor $50p/hr—$70p/hr


    CIO / IT director
  • Permanent $150k—$260k
  • Contractor $900p/day—$1400p/day
  • Systems administrator
  • Permanent $75k—$125k
  • Contractor $400p/day—$650p/day
  • Business analyst
  • Permanent $70k—$135k
  • Contractor $400p/day—$800p/day
  • Network engineer
  • Permanent $55k—130k
  • Contractor $400p/day—$700p/day


    CIO / IT director (+10 years’ experience)
  • Permanent $160k
  • Contractor $120p/hr
  • Systems administrator (+5 years’ experience)
  • Permanent $55k—$100k
  • Contractor $60p/hr—$90p/hr
  • Business analyst / consultant (+5 years’ experience)
  • Permanent $65k—$120k
  • Contractor $50p/hr—$100p/hr


    CIO / CTO
  • Permanent $200k—$400k
  • Contractor $125p/hr—$225p/hr
  • Systems administrator (1-3 years’ experience)
  • Permanent $55k—$90k
  • Contractor $40p/hr—$60p/hr
  • Network engineer
  • Permanent $50k—$70k
  • Contractor$30p/hr—$45p/hr
  • Business analyst (1- 4 years’ experience)
  • Permanent $60k—$100k
  • Contractor $45p/hr—$70p/hr