AUSTRALIAN IT INDUSTRY
Australian consumers are one of the fastest adopters of new technology as are our industries. However due to ‘scales of economy’ the majority of our hardware and software comes from the US and Japan. That said, Australia has a strong creative streak in many niche IT new product development projects. In particular we are very strong with software development and technical management disciplines and enjoy using the latest IT techniques.
A good indication of the state of the Australian IT industry can be gleaned from ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) reports (www.abs.gov.au). In particular the series of reports: ‘Australian Labour Market Statistics’ (cat. no. 6105.0) provides the following information:
“During the five year period from 2001–02 to 2005–06, the industry which employed the largest proportion of ICT workers was the Property and business services industry (which includes a Computer services subdivision). In 2005–06, about 37% of all ICT workers were employed in the Property and business services industry, compared to 12% of all employed people. Computing professionals and technicians accounted for 85% of all ICT workers in this industry. The second largest group of ICT workers was in the Communication services industry (13%) with most employed as Electronic engineers/technicians and communication technicians.”
“The proportion of total employed people who are ICT workers has remained relatively stable at around 3.5% over the five years to 2005–06. In 2005–06 almost half (47%) of all ICT workers were Computing professionals (i.e. system managers, designers, programmers and auditors, software designers, and applications and analyst programmers). The number of Electronic engineering associate professionals fell by 39% between 2004–05 and 2005–06.”
“Over the five financial years to 2005–06, the number of overseas-born ICT workers increased from 115,200 to 134,300. In 2005–06, 39% of all ICT workers were overseas-born, compared to 25% of all employed people.”
IT SKILLS SHORTAGE
The IT recruitment company that the author of this web report works with is ADAPS, which has grown substantially over the last five years to become one of the top five IT recruitment companies in Melbourne. With this high level of recruitment (exclusively in the IT industry) we feel we have some authority in discussing the most sought after skills. Lately we have noted a skills shortage particularly in the following areas:
- C++/ C# / C*
- .NET technologies
- Advanced Web design
- Oracle E-Business Suite
- Network Security/ Firewall/ Internet Security
- E-Commerce security (non programming)
As Australia’s IT industry forges ahead, this shortage is becoming more pronounced and has led to ADAPS taking the pro-active step of sponsoring oversees workers. For instance, If someone is based outside of Australia and sees a contract role on the ADAPS jobs site that interests them, and they apply and are successful, ADAPS will discuss the process of sponsoring the workers visa and possibly paying their 'Living Away From Home Allowance' in advance.
Traditionally the highest perceived risk for an oversees contractor has been the prospect of relocating to Australia only to find that a job ‘evaporates’. To allay this fear ADAPS has taken the unprecedented step of guaranteeing the optimum match between contractor and client by offering a full fee return to the client should they find a contractor unsatisfactory for any reason within the first twelve months of employment (even on contract). This of course means that the non-commissioned ADAPS Client Managers take exceptional care in selecting the right candidates for the jobs which naturally minimises the risk of early contract terminations.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The compensation for IT workers in Australia is generally well above the average wage. This coupled with the relatively low accommodation rent costs and the very high ‘liveability ranking’ for both Melbourne and Sydney makes Australia a very attractive destination for oversees IT workers.
The table below shows the average annual wages (permanents) for different IT roles. It should be noted that these values are the average for IT workers across all industries.
- Architecture $98,323
- Business Analyst / Systems Analyst $79,474
- Database Development and Administration $70,028
- Hardware Engineering $71,501
- Helpdesk and Desktop Support $55,964
- Management and Supervisory $103,174
- Networks and Systems $72,693
- Project Management $89,569
- Software Development and Engineering $76,042
- Technical Writers $70,595
- Testing and QA $67,839
- Training $54,590
- Web Design and Usability $92,341
- Web Development $70,279
An oversees resident working in Australia will most likely attract the ‘Non-resident’ tax rate as shown on The Australian Tax Office site.
Before we consider a worked remuneration example it should also be noted that the table above is for ‘permanent’ rates which are often considerably less than contract IT rates. For instance, consider that a contract Test Manager working on a Global Data Warehouse (ADAPS role 18202) was advertised only this week for $750 a day (equivalent of $180K a year based on 48 working weeks) and this yearly sum is higher than the maximum of ANY classification in the above table!
For our example consider in 2007 a non-resident earning $150,000 and working 48 weeks (equivalent to $625 a day) would most likely be taxed at $52,250. If they rented a house in Melbourne worth $500 a week ($26K a year) this would still leave them with nearly $71K (not including any rebates they may receive for their ‘Living Away from Home Allowance’).
As you can see, it truly pays for an IT contractor (resident or non resident) to live and work in Australia. Our industry is flourishing and is expected to continue growing for a long time to come.