The skills shortage crisis is seeing salaries across IT departments continue to rise, according to IT recruitment outfit, Hudson.
The company's 2008 salary guide reported business-related roles such as project managers, business analysts, .NET developers, security specialists, architects, integration specialists and Web design/development worker are in highest demand. Other jobs with strong salary growth included programmers and systems professionals.
The salary guide includes figures from all states across Australia except Northern Territory and is based on information collated throughout the year. NSW was found to be the highest paying state closely followed by Victoria. The lowest paying state was Queensland.
Technical business analysts in NSW earn between $90,000-$120,000, while project development managers potentially reap up to $160,000 per year. The figures exclude superannuation, bonuses and share options.
Australian Computer Society (ACS) national president, Kumar Parakala, claimed there had been a major shift in the ICT industry from programming work into more high-end work aligned to business.
"In countries like Australia there are more people looking at better use of technology and the ability to implement it right away," he said. "What happens in that situation is the need for soft skills like project management, people management, negotiation and business case development increases.
"All ICT professionals should gain soft skills as this will increase not only their career opportunities, but enable the profession to be seen as more productive and delivering to business expectations."
The Hudson report indicated regions such as Sydney and Melbourne are experiencing rising demand for IT roles. This trend is expected to continue for the rest of the year.
To keep experienced staff, the report found IT organisations were enhancing employees remuneration packages with extra incentives such as flexible hours, paid parental leave, company vehicle, travel, education assistance, retail discounts, gym memberships and regular team activities.
Parakala saw no end to the skills shortage. According to the Australian Information Industry Association, ICT university and TAFE enrolments this year were down 30 per cent compared to 2000.
"The skills shortage issue is something we need to manage on an ongoing basis," Parakala said. "From time to time the skills gap changes in different areas and we need to be across that to get the skills that are needed to fill the gap."
Parakala said he would like to see the government and industry work together towards a plan on identifying and acquiring skills that are needed over the next five years.