IT professionals have once again topped the list of highest earners in Australia, thanks to high demand and a shortage of skilled workers.

That’s according to the latest Hays recruitment salary guide which found cyber security is one of the most highly paid and in-demand skillsets in IT.

Security analysts, consultants, and architects regularly receive packages in excess of $100,000 per year, with some architects broaching the $200,000 mark.

“As security threats become more prevalent and sophisticated, cyber security remains a top priority for more organisations,” the report says.

“There has been a significant increase in the need for cyber security consultants, result in an upwards movement in remuneration.”

Incidents of major data breaches are becoming more commonplace in Australia with a notable start-up and university both announcing the discovery of large-scale breaches in recent weeks.

The Commonwealth government also opened an extra $8.5 million round of funding this month to grow local cyber security companies.

Even though automation is an increasingly viable option to combat bad actors on a network, security is not at risk of being a job that automation takes over any time soon – especially considering that less than a quarter of Australian businesses use automated security technologies to enhance their cyber resilience.

Big data, big money

Earlier this year, big data was deemed a skills area in high demand for 2019.

Specific experience with SQL, R, Python, and Hadoop were in particularly high demand in order to help organisations leverage the masses of data they collect.

Now Hays is reporting that data scientists can earn upwards of $240,000 per year, and – along with data modelers – tend to receive more than $100,000 per year in each Australian capital city.

The amount of data that is being produced by companies is staggering.

A recent CISCO report found annual global internet traffic would continue to increase and reach 4.8 zettabytes (4.8 trillion terabytes) annually by 2022, while a Seagate-sponsored IDC whitepaper estimates that the yearly sum of all new data created, stored, and copied will be 175 zettabytes by 2025.

Along with the proliferation of data across the world, innovative ways of expressing and interpreting this data can produce unexpected results.

High profile instances of big data being successful where traditional analytics failed – like in the 2019 federal election – only help to raise the value of these already sought-after skillsets.

However, recruiters are interested in more than mere technical skills.

“As IT continues to evolve from a ‘keeping the lights on’ function to an enabler of transformation, companies are seeking candidates who understand business drivers,” the salary guide found.

“In addition, the changing technical landscape means candidates need to have a continuous learning mindset and the ability to adapt to emerging technologies and changing business needs.”