Latest job figures show salaries for cloud engineers continue to grow as businesses look to leverage cloud infrastructure offered by big American tech companies.

Data collated by recruitment firm Halcyon Knights says cloud engineers are expecting six-figure salaries in both Sydney and Melbourne with senior level professionals looking at closer to $160,000 per annum.

Cloud engineers are highly mobile and tend to be platform specific.

When it comes to cloud platforms, the battle is between big tech with Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Amazon Web Services (AWS) being the main three.

According to managing director of Halcyon Knights in Australia, Liam Kelly, the most commonly sought-after and available cloud engineers work with AWS.

“More than 60 per cent of the available market in Australia have changed roles this past year and the most common experience being AWS which is about 55 per cent of the market,” Kelly said.

“There has also been a significant rise in the demand for GCP experience as businesses favour that platform to host their data solutions.”

Because of its popularity, AWS specialists tend to find slightly smaller salaries than those who work with GCP or Microsoft Azure, according to Halcyon Knight’s data.

Cloud engineers can find themselves working on large-scale projects as governments and businesses alike look to cloud services for managing their digital assets.

These can be massive, highly competitive projects – like the Pentagon’s $15 billion cloud contract that was initially awarded to Microsoft before Amazon sought a court order.

Who can afford cloud salaries?

Where small to medium businesses might struggle to rationalise a cloud migration program that employs engineers on six-figure salaries, financial institutions certainly have the cash.

In a recent report commissioned by US-based cloud company Nutanix, market researchers Vanson Bourne found that financial institutions are looking to modernise their IT structures but are finding roadblocks, partly due to a lack of development skills.

Nutanix VP of South Asia Pacific, Neville Vincent, said there is a movement for the financial sector to “regain control of their IT investments”.

“As Australia’s financial industry adapts to the aftermath of the Royal Commission, pressure from fintechs and bank disruptors and increasing regulation requirements, the time to innovate is now,” Vincent said.

“The greater need for IT capability and support at remote or branch offices shows us how important the edge is for financial institutions.

“Cloud decisions need to factor in the rapidly accelerating amounts of data coming through these edge locations.”

Engineers are local … and male

Although there is a trend toward greater gender inclusion across IT industries, Australian cloud engineers tend to be overwhelmingly male – about 86 per cent.

“Gender diversity and inclusion continues to be an issue,” Kelly said.

“And while it’s hard to track stats across things like race, religion, orientation and disabled access to roles, we’re hearing a lot from employers who are looking to boost their efforts in attracting and retaining skilled talent from these communities.”

For the most part, Halcyon Knights reports that the majority of the IT professionals they place tend to be local.

“With no pathway to permanent residency in Australia via the current visa system, recruitment for overseas talent has dropped significantly over the past 12 months,” Kelly said.

“Legislative changes to immigration in 2018 are still complicating the process when looking for talent outside of Australia so organisations are having to work hard on their employer value proposition to attract talent in a highly competitive market.”