The top 10 tech roles set for the biggest salary gains in 2017

April 5, 2017

The 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide has identified the key technology roles that can expect the highest pay gains in terms of starting salaries in 2017. 

War for IT talent continues to push salaries higher

  • Starting salaries for technology professionals are expected to rise by an average of 2.7%.
  • Cyber-security specialists, software developers and business intelligence professionals are set for the highest pay increases in terms of starting salaries. 

Starting salaries for many technology professionals are expected to grow due to the industry growing faster than the IT candidate pool. According to the 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide, starting salaries for technology professionals in Australia are expected to increase by an average of 2.7% and top candidates in several IT functional areas will be able to negotiate above-market salary increases for the year ahead. 

According to Robert Half analysis, wage growth for IT workers is optimistic at 2.7%, which is above the overall national average wage growth of 1.9%[1] between December 2015 to December 2016, as stated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The most competitive salary increases are being offered in Melbourne, with an average year-on-year increase of 4.1%. This is followed by Brisbane at 3.2%, Sydney at 2.2% and Perth at 1.1%. 

David Jones, Senior Managing Director at Robert Half Asia Pacific said: “The technology market continues to thrive. As the industry becomes more customer-centric, and concern over persistent cyber-security threats increases, demand for specialist IT skillsets is rising. Because of demand consistently outweighing supply, top IT talent in many functional areas are able to negotiate higher salaries, and sometimes even above-market averages.”  

“Confidence is returning to the Brisbane region after the resources downturn, which is placing upwards momentum on starting salaries for IT professionals. Demand is also growing for IT professionals in Melbourne and Sydney as companies take a more innovative approach to growth and expansion, placing IT candidates in a good position for salary negotiation.”

“In Perth, demand for technology professionals remains strong as a consequence of nationwide IT projects and recovery within the mining sector impacting the local economy. Salary growth is moving from a stabilisation into a recovery phase and there is reason to be optimistic as businesses are forecasting growth again in 2017,” David Jones added. 

What are the top 10 golden jobs in IT?
Even though starting salaries will remain stable for many IT roles, there are several highly specialised IT roles that can expect an increase in starting salaries in 2017. Salary increases are well above the regional average for many IT professionals, particularly in the areas of software development and cyber-security. 

David Jones said: “As Big Data/machine learning, customer-centric technology, and cyber-security dominate the IT landscape, top IT candidates – especially those in the development and cyber-security/IT security space – will typically receive multiple job offers, leaving them well-placed to drive their salary negotiations. Employers will be faced with IT specialists leaving the organisation when they are offered a better remuneration package.”

1.    Cyber-security Specialist 

2017 min [2] 2017 max YoY growth [3]
$118,000  $160,000 + 6.2% 

Source: 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide

The escalating cost and frequency of cyber-attacks has resulted in organisations increasingly relying on cyber-security experts, thereby allowing the enterprise to take a pre-emptive approach to discovering and tracking security issues. This has resulted in rising salary growth for top cyber-security specialists as companies vie for the best talent. 

2.    Senior Developer (Front-end Development)

2017 min 2017 max YoY growth 
$117,000 $149,000 + 5.1%

Source: 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide

As companies are increasingly focused on customer-centric technology, software developers are in high demand, resulting in an increase in starting salaries for those who not only have a solid knowledge of producing HTML, CSS and JavaScript for a website or Web Application, but who can also demonstrate effective project management, analytical and leadership skills.

3.    Developer (Front-end Development)

2017 min 2017 max YoY growth
$87,000  $125,000  + 4.9%

Source: 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide

Developers will be in hot demand as many companies move to a web-based platform, with the development and enhancement of company software continuing to drive demand as well as an increase in starting salaries for highly qualified and experienced development candidates across all senior ranks. 

4.    IT Security Specialist

2017 min  2017 max YoY growth
$121,000 $161,000  + 4.8% 

Source: 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide

Because companies are confronted with additional security concerns, including mobile, application, and Big Data analytics security, several areas are experiencing higher demand for specialised skills, yet companies recognise they are competing for a limited pool of IT candidates, which is placing IT security specialists in a favourable position for higher salary gains. The most sought-after candidates, who are able to negotiate above-market salary increases,  are those who are familiar with new security software and hardware, have an understanding of emerging systems and are able to confidently use devices and related applications.

5.    Senior Developer (Full-stack Development)

2017 min 2017 max YoY growth
$113,000 $148,000 + 4.5%

Source: 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide

Developing innovative and market-leading software tailored for companies is a highly specialised area, one that calls for IT professionals with a unique blend of specialist technical skills, creative thinking, and business acumen. These professionals need to be comfortable working across both back-end and front-end technologies – making their area of specialisation highly desirable and placing upwards pressure on starting salaries. 

6.    Junior Developer (Back-end Development) 

2017 min 2017 max YoY growth
$68,000  $93,000 + 4.4%

Source: 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide

As companies endeavour to make their websites more sophisticated and customer-focused, demand for junior developers who have well-developed programming skills, who are database-savvy, and who have a thorough knowledge of web services is high which will continue to have a positive effect on starting salaries for these IT professionals. 

7.    Business Intelligence Analyst

2017 min 2017 max  YoY growth
$89,000 $120,000 + 4.0%

Source: 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide

Big Data offers big potential. With companies realising the power of Big Data and the impact of using data to make informed, strategic decisions that benefit operations in all departments and impact a company’s bottom line, business intelligence analysts are finding themselves in high demand. Experienced BI analysts with an excellent understanding of statistics, well-developed communication and analytical skills are in a good position to negotiate starting salary.

8.    Junior Developer (Front-end Development) 

2017 min 2017 max YoY growth
$71,000 $95,000 + 3.9%

Source: 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide

Junior developers who specialise in front-end development will continue to be in demand as businesses increase their focus on customer interaction through an impressive company website – a sought-after area of specialisation that will see starting salaries increase. 

9.    Business Intelligence Manager 

2017 min  2017 max YoY growth
$121,000 $175,000 + 3.6%

Source: 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide

Big Data is here to stay. Business intelligence managers, among many other duties, plan and design enterprise-level Business Intelligence (BI) solutions, which add significant value to a company’s bottom line. With companies experiencing challenges to source highly skilled BI analysts, these professionals are able to negotiate a highly competitive starting salary.

10.    Database Administrator 

2017 min 2017 max YoY growth
$83,000 $133,000  + 3.6%

Source: 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide

In an increasingly data-driven market, professionals who can properly utilise Big Data are able to make informed and strategic decisions for their organisation. Because of this, Database Administrators will find themselves in increased demand – resulting in increased starting salaries for top database administrators who display the required skills and experience. 

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[1] Wage price Index, December 2016, Australian Bureau of Statistics 6345.0 

[2] Salaries refers to starting salaries. Salary figures provided vary according to level of experience, size of the company, sector, employee skills and the organisation itself. The salaries and percentage increases are based on calculating the national average across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. The salaries are rounded to a multitude of $1,000.

[3] Salary difference between 2016 and 2017.

About the Robert Half Salary Guide
The 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide is the most comprehensive and authoritative resource on starting salaries and recruitment trends in finance and accounting, financial services, information technology and administration.

It offers a comprehensive overview of the current salary ranges, industry trends and specific job trends for finance and accounting professionals, finance professionals in the financial services sector, technology professionals and administrative professionals. The results and insights of the 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide are based on comprehensive analyses, local job placements, local expertise and independent research of executives and office workers. For the first time we have also aggregated our data with Broadbean job posting data (a digital tool that captures job advertisement analytics and talent acquisition behaviour).

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