The war for IT talent across Australia continues – and competitive salaries are the weapon of choice, a report has found.

Recruitment and job agency, Robert Half recently released its 2018 Salary Guide, which looked specifically at certain trends in the technology sector and their impact on remuneration for professionals.

It again revealed what is fast becoming common knowledge – that the supply of IT workers in Australia is not meeting industry demand.

“The accelerating pace of technological advancement… continues to shape the workplace and influence demand for highly-skilled IT talent,” the report states. “Top IT candidates are likely to be in contention for several roles, with attractive remuneration packages and advancement opportunities on offer.”

And this is impacting the hiring process, with 82% of the surveyed 160 Australian CIOs confirming that it is more challenging to find qualified IT professionals today than it was five years ago.

This can, in part, be attributed to many more businesses now focusing on collaboration in IT and implementing Development Operations (DevOps) in response to changing demands.

Businesses are now expected to deliver results faster and optimise IT collaboration, the report highlights, meaning a streamlined response is required.

“There’s a strong demand for DevOps professionals as companies compete against one another to find the necessary talent to implement this latest technological trend,” said Director of Robert Half Australia, Andrew Morris.

Despite this, 41% of CIOs struggled to find IT professionals with the right skills for a DevOps approach, while 38% of CIOs lacked a DevOps plan.

Contracting stays hot

IT contractors remain in a prime position with 92% of Australian CIOs claiming they plan to increase their temporary IT headcount by an average of 21%.

“Industry growth and the changing workplace are driving employers to hire both temporary and permanent IT staff with the right mix of strategic and operational skillsets, making contract workers an intrinsic part of the IT department,” said Morris.

Lack of financial resources to hire permanent employees, cost efficiency, a faster hiring process and the skills shortage were all listed to contributing factors to the contracting boom.

The report also pointed out that temporary work can be beneficial for the contractors themselves, with the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and access new skills increasing the likelihood of future work.

Securing the top salary

As was revealed by Hays earlier this year, salary increases are to be expected – but only for some.

The Robert Half report detailed that while 97% of CIOs were planning on awarding pay rises, the average number of staff set to receive an increase was only 21%.

The average size of the pay rise was 8%.

“The ongoing IT skills shortage means employers are willing to pay competitively to secure the best talent, which puts top candidates in a prime position to negotiate a starting salary well above the national average,” he said.

It also revealed the top five factors CIOs look at when calculating a base salary for a new starter.

These were previous company/industry experience, education/qualifications, previous team leader experience, previous product/service launch and previous project experience.