Figures from the latest IT recruitment report on salary figures and pay rates have been shot down by industry analysts and IT managers alike as unrealistic, but recruitment firms claim salaries for IT professionals are definitely on the increase.
The Ambition Technology Market Trends Report - Summer 2007 - released yesterday found salaries for IT professionals increased 12 per cent when compared to the same period last year. Security professionals, and those with application development skills, were discovered to be in highest demand.
Cyrus D'Cruz, executive general manager of IT&T for recruitment firm Hudson, said a recent salary guide developed by Hudson found an overall salary increase for IT professionals of roughly 14 per cent.
The highest skills in demand were development, then security. D'Cruz said even in this environment, Australian firms are looking locally to source talent.
"We expected a high interest in potential employers looking overseas but the interest is very low, roughly around one percent of employers as the vast majority of companies are still focused on the local market, followed by hiring contractors long-term," D'Cruz said.
"What is interesting, though, is the significant focus on organizations now hiring below the level of roles and developing their own talent - this is the third most utilized channel in the Australian market at the moment.
"Those organizations that have invested heavily in developing their own talent also experienced the lowest levels of salary creep, and those that source locally are significantly increasing the salaries they need to pay - it is akin to the soccer player hired right out of school that initially cost nothing that is sold to a new team for several million dollars."
D'Cruz said the major regions in Australia with higher than average IT salary increases are Western Australia and Queensland due to the resources boom.
Hydrasight analyst Michael Warrilow took the increase of IT salaries with a grain of salt, adding that nowhere does their independent research back up claims made of IT salaries increasing around 15 per cent.
Warrilow said in a nutshell, what the figures point to is unbridled growth within the Australian ICT industry and questioned the source of the information both from Hudson and Ambition.
"Hydrasight's research does not support anywhere near these levels of unbridled growth in contractor fees or salaries in Australia at the current time," Warrilow said.
"Personally, if I was hiring IT staff, I'd have to question the source of the information."
John Morrissey, executive manager for infrastructure at the CSIRO, said the organization has never had trouble finding security staff and agreed with D'Cruz's claim that sometimes training your own staff is the way to go. Morrissey said what could be pushing up the overall pay rates for IT specialists is cyclical demand.
"Those numbers do sound high to me but it depends on where you work (location) and what industry you are working in," Morrissey said.
"In some areas like project management it is difficult to get people, so that will affect the overall survey results.
"You need to consider that investment across all IT segments goes in cycles, which can be as brief as six months at a time."