Salaries for jobs in the tech sector rose 6 per cent last year, driven by strong demand for people with digital skills and considerable job growth, reports Potentia.
"Last year saw the fastest pace of change the tech sector has experienced to date. But this is only just the beginning," says Nathan Bryant-Taukiri, managing director of Potentia.
According to the Potentia Salary Report 2016-17, three out of four tech sector workers received a pay raise last year. It estimates the average full time salary for jobs in the sector now stands at $110,355.
Potentia, which focuses on digital and technology jobs, does not expect the upward trend to stall this year either.
“Employers’ demand for experienced tech professionals currently exceeds supply in almost all areas of the innovation, digital and technology job market and is putting upwards pressure on pay packets,” the report states.
Salaries for experienced security professionals have also skyrocketed over the last 12 months, particularly in the wake of a number of high profile attacks – such as the Panama Papers
The fastest growing salaries
Delivery services managers top the list of highest paying jobs in the technology sector, with an average salary of $178,590, followed by chief information security officers ($164,000), consulting services manager ($158,280) and data science managers ($152,300). Programme managers round out the list of Top 5 highest paying tech jobs, with an average annual salary of $151,720.
Pay packets for data scientists, however, rose the fastest over the last 12 months, increasing by 16 per cent.
Hourly rates for contractors remained steady, rising 1% over the last 12 months to an average of $95 per hour.
Potentia says the report is based on actual salaries offered to technology professionals over the last 12 months and 1100 responses to an online salary survey in November and December last year.
“Demand for tech professionals is growing at an extraordinary pace as new technologies rapidly bring new jobs and new levels of innovation to NZ businesses. Competition to attract skilled workers is fierce, with firms often willing to pay a premium to fill positions,” says Bryant-Taukiri.
“The increasing digitisation of many industries is creating huge opportunities for delivery management skills,” says Bryant-Taukiri. “Enterprises must make sure that work programmes are successful, often amongst fluid and volatile environments. Individuals who can operate optimally in this state and deliver value are in demand and worth the premium required.”
Salaries for experienced security professionals have also skyrocketed over the last 12 months, particularly in the wake of a number of high profile attacks – such as the Panama Papers – which has exposed the risk to organisations of not sufficiently protecting sensitive information.
“We also saw rapid growth in salaries for professionals with strong data and analytics skills over the last year as businesses increasingly look to leverage data to gain a commercial edge. Employers’ demand for data scientists currently exceeds supply and is driving strong growth in pay packets,” adds Bryant-Taukiri.
‘Statistical analysis and data mining’ consistently dominate LinkedIn’s annual Top Skills list, taking out the #2 spot in 2016 and 2015, and the #1 position in 2014.
“It is important that professionals across the ever-evolving digital tech industry keep their technical skills current - it may lead to a bump in pay, greater job security and increased potential for promotion.
Now is also a great time for people who are thinking about a career in tech to acquire new skills and tap into the range and variety of jobs on offer,” he advises.
Auckland’s robust tech market
The report notes the Auckland technology market is booming, with job listings rising 27.2 per cent year-on-year according to the latest Trade Me data.
Currently almost 100,000 people are employed in the NZ tech sector and this number is set to rise. Healthy economic growth, low unemployment and strong jobs growth means there is a shortage of people with digital skills.
“Employers are competing fiercely for staff,” says Bryant-Taukiri. “In addition to offering top salaries, firms are introducing a variety of different strategies to motivate and retain staff, for example, training and development programs, flexible hours and additional annual leave.”
“Technology is changing at a rapid pace and the increased productivity they bring is quickly forcing yesterday’s new technologies into obsolescence, meaningfully altering the IDT (innovation, digital and technology) job landscape,” he adds.
“We expect to see strong demand for people with cybersecurity, cloud and data and analytics skills in 2017 and tech salaries to continue to grow.”
Continued investment in DevOps among product vendors, consultancies and large enterprises caused demand for skilled professionals to consistently outstrip supply since 2013 to 2014,, leading to sustained salary growth for DevOps Engineers over the last 24 months.
Potentia believes the market is at the peak of this growth cycle as organisations’ need for bespoke approaches and individual human agents will decline and automation tools and standardised approaches to coding and service delivery increase.
Salaries for embedded software engineers have been flat for several years, but are starting to rise again, the report states.
The desire for Internet of Things (IoT)-related products and integrated electronics means organisations are pouring money into device development. We expect this trend to continue and consequently a bidding war for these people to intensify, says Potentia.
Flexible work options: A necessary perk?
The report finds 6 out of 10 tech workers (61 per cent) surveyed said they were satisfied in their current job, with an overwhelming majority of respondents (80 per cent) saying they are able to work remotely some or all of the time.
Due to the nature of the work and the ever-increasing development of technology, many tech companies today offer flexible work practices. As companies increasingly compete for top tech talent, flexible working is becoming a necessary perk, rather than a non-monetary benefit that may or may not be bestowed.
Employers are realising that constructing more flexible working arrangements leads to increased staff retention and greater employee satisfaction and productivity, the report states.
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