IT Brief Australia - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
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Tech Job Market in Australia Scaling Up Despite Mass Layoff
Wed, 21st Jun 2023

In February 2023, the mainstream media and industry websites were awash with news of huge job losses across the Australian tech sector, predominantly in US-owned enterprises. 

However, despite the shock imparted by so many largely unexpected sackings, the sector has nevertheless shown extraordinary resilience in terms of job opportunities. Despite the initial gloom, it seems that many of those who found themselves out of work at the beginning of the year are already in new jobs, with the tech industry as a whole in the midst of a job boom.

It would appear that optimism is permeating the sector at all levels, with recruiters reporting new opportunities and roles opening up all the time; in fact, the overall impression is that Australia is suffering from a technology skills shortage, given that the country has only hit 78% of its 2030 tech job target of 1.2 million, according to a report released by the Tech Council of Australia.

And with some of the biggest names in tech running operations in Australia, including Google, Netflix, Twitter, Atlassian, Stripe, Microsoft and many more, anyone with experience and expertise in virtually any part of the sector will find plenty of job options open to them. 

This is also in large part due to the fact that there are new jobs being created in non-traditional tech industries, meaning that a wide range of less specialised digital and IT skills are increasingly in demand across the country.

The tech sector in Sydney

Sydney, the capital city of New South Wales, is the most populous city in the country and is widely regarded as Australia’s principal tech hub, which is why it is the most likely destination for tech professionals looking to develop their careers in Australia.

However, conditions in the tech sector across the country are such that the workplace environment is generally going to be positive, well compensated, and promote a healthy life/work balance wherever in Australia you’re based.

Generally, the Australian working week is 39 hours, from Monday to Friday (although each state has its own laws in some areas, employment law is made federally and can be found in the Fair Work Act, 2009), with overtime being paid when an employee works beyond their normal daily or weekly hours of work, and/or outside the ordinary spread of their working hours. 

Full-time employees receive four weeks’ annual paid leave, the exception being shift workers, who receive five weeks. In addition, employees receive ten days’ paid leave each year, which can be used either during illness or to provide care for a member of the family. 

New mothers in Australia are entitled to 12 months of unpaid maternity leave after a year of working for the same company (some businesses will offer paid maternity leave as well).

How to find tech jobs in Australia

For anyone looking for tech jobs in Australia, there are a variety of online job boards and sites that list opportunities in cities across the country.

Seek is one of the biggest and most popular Australian job sites, along with Indeed and Hays. Commonwealth and state governments also list job vacancies on their own websites, as well as advertising on job boards (cyber security is a field in which there is a multitude of government IT jobs advertised regularly).

There are also a number of specialist tech recruiters in Australia. Some will just be Sydney-focused, but most have a national reach and fill positions in all capital cities. Some offer a broad range of jobs in all sectors of the tech industry, while others are a little more specialised. 

Talent Locker is a particularly well-known tech recruiter, as are PRA and ScaleUp Recruitment. Luvo Talent is also worth checking out, as are Thornhill and Datasource Services. 

The tech scene in Canberra

As mentioned above, there are numerous tech openings working for the Australian government, most of which will be located in Canberra, the nation’s capital, although the federal government has a large presence in Sydney and in most capital cities.

Being a government-centric work environment, jobs in the tech sector tend to pay well in Canberra. The average wage in the ACT is around AUD$80,000 a year, but people working in IT can generally expect to earn significantly more.

For instance, a software engineer can expect to earn in excess of AUD$90,000, a project engager will earn AUD$125,000, while a senior project manager in the IT sector can usually earn more than AUD$142,000 a year.

In Canberra, as elsewhere in Australia, significant numbers of people (particularly those in certain areas of tech) are afforded the opportunity to work remotely at least part of the time (although there are growing demands from employers for workers to get back to the office).

At the same time, remote work, while based overseas, is also becoming more commonplace in the ACT, Sydney and elsewhere in Australia. The latest data reveals that a total of 29% of Australian adults worked remotely in 2022, while 14% are now planning to work remotely from overseas in 2023. 

Investment in training and education

As a consequence of the widespread skills shortage in tech across Australia, driven in part by the fact that hitherto non-tech jobs and roles nevertheless require digital and IT skills to some extent, Australia is trying to grow the number and variety of training opportunities that are available, both for those already working in tech and those who are looking to join the industry. 

Both the federal government and key players in the Australian tech sector are increasingly working together to encourage people of all ages across the country to upskill so that they are better equipped to meet the country’s growing needs, not to mention the nationwide 1.2 million tech job target that the government wants to reach by 2030. 

What next for the tech sector in Australia?

Ultimately, the outlook is fairly positive if you are looking for work in the tech sector in Australia, as significant numbers of jobs continue to be available (it is estimated that 70,000 new jobs in the sector have been created in the last twelve months). 

However, as stated above, there is a need for people with digital skills in all areas of Australian enterprise — not just the specialist tech sector — and so there are new types of roles opening up all the time, particularly for those with transferable skills. 

It is also a relatively good environment for employers at the moment in that although there is something of a skills shortage, a large number of vacancies does mean that skilled and qualified tech workers are not as hesitant as they once might have been to move jobs. So it is possible to attract the best tech talent with the right compensation package.

This does, of course, put upward pressure on wages, but this is inevitable in an environment where those with the right experience, expertise and know-how are consistently in demand.