Australian employers are crying out for cyber security engineers, with the job title topping technology’s most-wanted list in the latest Salary Guide from recruiter Hays.

The survey – which had over 14,000 responses from Australia and New Zealand – found the majority (94 per cent) of tech sector employers were intending to offer pay rises this year.

But there is a strong mismatch between the pay bumps employers are offering and what employees want to see in their bank accounts.

A quarter of Australian tech industry employers said they intended to increase staff salaries by less than three per cent, with almost half saying their pay rises would be around the 3-6 per cent mark.

Employees, on the other hand, feel they deserve much more. A third of Australian tech workers told the Hays survey that pay rises greater than 10 per cent were more reflective of their performance.

“With skills in demand you still have bargaining power, but it’s important to temper it to avoid pricing yourself out of consideration,” said Hays managing director Adam Shapley.

“Yes, employers are investing in salary increases, but margins remain tight. The commercial reality dictates that salary increases can only stretch so far.”

A survey of Australian CIOs from earlier this year found that a fifth of executives had withdrawn an offer after the candidate asked for too much money.

Just over 80 per cent of Australian tech workers surveyed said they believed pay rises should keep up with inflation.

Headline inflation was 7 per cent in the 12 months to the March 2023 quarter, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The Australian tech industry is also keen on growing headcounts, despite highly publicised layoffs affecting tech giants and the local startup sector, with 50 per cent of Australian employers saying they intended to grow permanent headcounts this coming year.

Top 4 tech jobs employers need to fill (and their typical Australian salaries)

  1. Cyber Security Engineer ($134,000)
  2. Full Stack Developer ($130,000)
  3. Data Analyst ($103,000)
  4. Business Analyst ($121,000)

Geographically, the Hays Salary Guide shows a shift in where workers can find the best-paying gigs with Canberra and Perth emerging as two of the highest-paying cities.

For cyber security engineers there is a strong pull out of Sydney with specialists in the NSW capital typically earning less than they would regionally ($140,000) or in Canberra ($150,000).

Canberra and Perth both have the highest typical salaries for full stack developers ($150,000 and $140,000 respectively).

Likewise, data analysts would be better off in Perth where the typical salary is $120,000 or Canberra where it’s $115,000 rather than the $105,000 in Melbourne or Sydney.

A recent survey from recruiter Robert Half found employers were paying regional remote workers less than their metropolitan counterparts – a statistic which is often reflected in the Hays data, but not always.

Full stack developers are, on average, better paid in regional NSW ($135,000) than they are in Sydney ($130,000), according to the Hays Salary Guide.

A recent study of ASX-listed companies found CEOs and managing directors received 15 and 14 per cent pay increases, respectively, over the last year.

The average salary of an ASX-listed CEO is $1.1 million with managing directors receiving pay packets of around $1.6 million not counting performance bonuses.