The 2021 Salary Guide from ICT industry recruiter Robert Half reveals that 69% of the CIOs say they are also willing to increase their initial salary offering to secure tech talent.
And the survey also reveals that growing demand for technology skills is driving companies to increase their remuneration offerings well beyond that of other sectors in a bid to attract and retain top tech candidates.
According to Robert Half across most industries, the pandemic sparked the rapid roll out of extensive digital transformation agendas as well as the initiation of new strategic projects to meet the changing needs and expectations of clients and consumers.
“As a result, there is strong growth in the technology sector which is defying stagnant growth trends in other industries with total jobs in the information and technology sector growing by 7.3% in the last quarter compared to a national growth of 2.2%,” Robert Half says.
“As new business opportunities emerge while the entry of international talent slows, the study of 100 CIOs found that over four-in-five (82%) are concerned about losing their top tech talent due to the impact of COVID-19.”
In response, nearly three-quarters (73%) of businesses plan to extend salary increases to their existing tech employees with four-in-ten (39%) of them saying they will extend salary increases to all tech employees and 34% saying only top performers would receive increases.
And while national wage growth is forecast at a stagnant 1.5% for the year ahead, salaries in the tech sector are well-positioned to achieve above-market growth, with Robert Half research revealing that the average increase for those expecting a salary increase is well above national wage growth levels at 6.8% - more than 5% above the forecast national wage growth.
Robert Half says salary trends in 2021 are driven for new employees, with Australian companies also concerned about finding the right IT talent with over half (53%) of CIOs saying it is more challenging to find qualified IT employees compared to before the pandemic, “emphasising the dual challenges of attraction and retention in the technology sector.
In the race to attract skilled tech talent as the market becomes more competitive and with employees less willing to change jobs, the survey reveaals that 69% of respondents say they are willing to increase their initial salary offering to secure in-demand IT professionals.
And more than four in 10 (43%) CIOs say they will increase salaries to secure top talent only, while 26% state they will increase pay offers to get all IT staff to accept their job offer.
According to Robert Half, COVID-19 has accelerated change and transformation, but the long-term benefits of investing in technology have also become apparent to many business leaders.
In 2021, the study found that industries such as healthcare and not-for-profit are significantly increasing their hiring activity for IT staff.
According to the study, while tech roles that immediately support new digital capabilities are paramount, such as leveraging data for efficiency and planning purposes, longer-term strategies for investing in tech are creating strong demand for specialist skills such as IT security, IT management, and business transformation.
Robert Half says that the specialist skills within technology that are proving to be the most difficult to find amongst job candidates include IT security (36%), IT management (33%), business transformation (30%), development or design (28%), and business intelligence (27%).
And with limited supply and high demand in the market, these skill sets are well positioned to command above-market salary offers from employers eager to secure their talent.
“Wage growth in the tech sector is being driven by a demand-supply imbalance. There is increased demand for tech talent as companies expand their IT teams and enhance their digital capabilities because of the pandemic. But as the tech sector remains buoyant compared to many others, elevated demand for tech skills is coinciding with a tightening supply of skilled talent, which is becoming increasingly insufficient to meet demand,” says David Jones, Senior Managing Director Asia Pacific.
“Remuneration has always been a key driver to attract and retain IT professionals. However, while there is a willingness to offer salary increases – particularly to top performers – not every company is positioned to engage in a bidding war as they recover from months of uncertainty.
“Companies should therefore complement remuneration with alternative employee benefits to help differentiate themselves from their competitors. Non-financial benefits such as supporting work-life balance, working flexibility, including a mix of remote and in-office hours, and career development are just some of the non-financial benefits likely to add value to employees in 2021,” Jones concludes.