ICT employees will test jobs market as new projects kick off

What's the state of the market in the ICT sector? Linda Trevor looks at recruitment and retention trends in 2013.

ICT employees will test jobs market as new projects kick off

What's the state of the market in the ICT sector? Linda Trevor looks at recruitment and retention trends in 2013.

Retention of key ICT staff will be a harder challenge in 2013 across a wide range of industry sectors as skills shortages continue and significant new projects are expected to kick off as early as March.

While 2012 saw little industry movement in the last six months of the year, ICT professionals will be keenly scouting the market to see what salary opportunities and benefit packages are available. 

There are more than 348,000 people employed across ICT management, professionals and technician categories in Australia according to ABS figures and the Clarius Skills Index, predominantly in the IT and internet industries, financial services, infrastructure, telecommunications, education and healthcare.

Clients have told us they expect a number of projects to commence early 2013 and others were being scoped for later in the year, possibly to start early in the 2013-14 financial year. These include large IT and T projects and finance companies involved in large infrastructure projects.

The most sought after roles, as companies begin the kick-off phase, are Business Analysts to scope the work and IT Project Managers to plan and see it through. 

As the market gains momentum, with the current shortage of skilled ICT professionals in the Australian market, pressure will grow on employers through 2013 to ensure they make the right decisions about who they need to retain and what they must do to keep those people.

Their considerations must include not only the cost of replacing key staff (and the impact this has on a project’s momentum), but weighing up those intangible values and costs lost with departing staff.

These include:


  • A recruitment fee ( if they have to go to an agency to replace staff member)
  • Cost of training ( either sending them to an induction or retaining previous staff member for a handover period and paying 2 salaries for  set period of time)
  • The cost of other staff helping new employee ie not doing their own role – this means that they may have to hire additional staff/contractors.
  • Loss of intellectual property from a departing staff member is immeasurable if the staff member has been there for many years, and particularly if they go to a competitor.


The reality is that employers seeking to retain top ICT staff will have to look beyond handsome pay rises in 2013 to ensure their key ICT employees aren’t poached by competitors.

Salary hikes are always key to hiring or retaining good people. Our recently published Candle Salary Intelligence Report showed most employees can be lured away with a salary increase of between $5,000 and $20,000, depending on their seniority.

When a salary increase doesn’t sway someone, additional benefits become a critical sweetener.

Yet nearly half of respondents to our Salary Intelligence Report said they were not, in the past, offered any additional benefits by their employers.

Of those who were, the top benefit was a telecommunications and electronics package (for example mobile phones, computers and IT related hardware and internet related services) followed by transport benefits in the form of travel subsidies, petrol and car spaces.

The third and fourth benefits offered were gym memberships and flexible working hours including the ability to telecommute.

While some companies may be able to afford certain additional benefits, many are limited in what they can provide leaving them in a weakened bargaining position.

It’s our experience that the most persuasive offers are flexibility and training so professionals can keep their skills up to date and learn new ones which in turn shores up their future earning power.

Employers should also consider an individual’s good communication skills, their flexibility and willingness to learn and go above and beyond their day to day roles when assessing the value of retaining a staff member.

Here are five tips for employers seeking to retain staff:


  • Make sure your staff know the vision of the company
  • Keep key staff engaged and in the loop.  Let them know how the company is doing
  • A clear career path.  Let key staff know what they can do to get promoted in the future and what their next job looks like
  • Flexible working arrangements for staff with families and after school commitments
  • Training and Development


Which industries offer the highest pay for IT workers?

For Managers and Technicians the Mining and Resources and Financial Services offer competitive salaries, while Professionals fare better with Business & Professional Services.

Permanent - Top five industries by annual salary

Managers consistently are paid higher than Professionals, who are paid

Top 5 Industries                      Managers        Professionals   Technicians     Average


Financial Services                   $121,701.15    $89,387.40      $71,232.14      $95,496.02


Telecommunications              $116,097.44    $85,692.95      $64,288.14      $95,119.19


Biz & Prof. Services                 $110,453.49    $90,020.50      $61,160.71      $90,386.02


Mining & Resources               $127,362.07    $86,957.75      $65,081.08      $89,602.19


ICT & Internet                                     $108,630.19    $82,273.11      $62,611.29      $86,770.00


Source: MySalaryPortal.com


Contract - Top five industries by average pay per hour


Top 5 Industries                       Managers           Professionals    Technicians       Average


Telecommunications             $84.50            $96.02             $51.67            $88.96


Retail                                        $66.33            $55.20             $490.00          $88.64


Financial Services                   $99.86             $86.60             $51.22             $86.97


Media                                                             $85.00              $12.00             $78.36


Education                                 $66.33            $88.04             $26.67             $74.92


Source: MySalaryPortal.com


Female V. Male salaries


Permanent/Full-Time             Ave annual earnings                           Female                        Male


Managers                                $112,149.22                            $100,428.00    $114,224.50


Professionals                           $82,081.00                              $76,065.11      $83,110.57


Technicians                             $56,385.42                              $60,609.76      $55,746.31


Source: MySalaryPortal.com


About the author

Linda Trevor is the executive general manager, Candle

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