Salaries Rise and Opportunities Grow: Pandemic-Resilient Tech Sector Report Shows


Continued wage rises in the tech sector appear untroubled from the turbulence caused by COVID-19, according to the latest tech salary and staff attrition report from Australia’s peak industry representative body for innovation technology, the Australian Information Industry Association ( AIIA ).

In partnership with Aon, the bi-annual report, the ‘ AIIA Remuneration Report for the Information, Technology and Telecommunications Industries’ included participation from 567 organisations covering 99,025 individual employees.

The AIIA CEO, Ron Gauci, said: “The latest results from the AIIA Remuneration Report highlight just how crucial the tech sector is in terms of rebuilding the Australian economy – evident through increased nominal base salaries in the current economic climate.

“The tech sector continues to show unrivalled resilience to the global pandemic and the AIIA will continue to fully support and advocate for the growth of the industry. In amongst a yearly average salary increase for tech workers, the Report also shows that 85 per cent of tech companies have not reduced their headcount – a remarkable feat given the impact of COVID-19.

“The industry is demanding greater technology and digital skill sets in order to thrive. This Report continues to show the appetite and desire for the industry to come out on top – all businesses and tech employees should take great confidence in the findings,” Mr Gauci said.

In addition to the Remuneration Report, the AIIA also recently shared a Whitepaper titled ‘ Building Australia’s Digital Future in a Post-COVID World ’. This set out a series of practical recommendations to state and federal government, designed to help guide policy development and focus areas for now and the next decade including digital investment priorities, skills and jobs of the future.

Salaries in tech sector continue to grow

The AIIA Remuneration Report reveals that the nominal base salary has increased by 1.7% across the past 12 months with the average yearly tech nominal base salary of $121,825. Risk & Fraud, Research & Development and Product are the three job families that have experienced the highest nominal base salary percentage increase.

The COVID-19 pandemic has unsettled working Australians and disturbed working conditions around the globe. In the Australian tech sector, between a third and a half of companies have either cancelled, reduced budgets or deferred salary reviews.

“Although we are seeing the lowest increase in five years of the nominal base salary, it shows how resilient and important the tech sector is for future growth,” explains AIIA CEO, Ron Gauci.

“We are living in a COVID world and with that comes many challenges – however this Report shows just how important the tech sector is in getting Australia back on track, reflective of base salary increases.”

Workplace wellbeing a top priority, but more needs to be done for tech graduates

COVID-19 has disrupted the Australian workforce physically, mentally and financially. Encouragingly, however, the AIIA Remuneration Report highlights minimal staff reduction in the tech field and a considerable increase of focus on workplace wellbeing.

Eighty-five per cent of respondents said they have not had to stand down any of their workforce due to COVID-19 with 48 per cent stating that they have introduced new benefits as a result of the current environment. These benefits are predominantly focused on working from home and employee wellbeing – specifically through initiatives such as mental health apps and Home Wellness Programs. Fifteen per cent of respondents also got extra leave.

For companies who have not already conducted a salary review in 2020, thirty-eight per cent of respondents will also continue with planned annual fixed salary reviews this year with the rest either postponed, cancelled or undecided.

Mr Gauci said: “The recent experience of COVID-19 has motivated organisations to fully embed wellbeing into every aspect of the design and delivery of work – and this is fantastic to witness. Credit should be given to those organisations that have found a balance between work outputs, employee wellbeing and mental health.”

The Report also highlighted that graduates only attributed 0.8 per cent of the findings. Mr Gauci commented: “The low number of graduates employed requires attention and the AIIA wants to drive interest and learning into the tech field.

“Long-term success in developing the required skills begins in the primary and secondary education systems. We need Australian school leavers to be more interested in STEM, in particular computer science and technology.

“In our Whitepaper we encourage the Federal, State and Territory Governments to commission an audit of the National STEM School Education Strategy to 2026 to consider what changes are required to elevate the importance of technology and digital skills in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. An important aspect of this audit will be the supply of qualified teachers – some 30 per cent of STEM teachers in years 7-10 do not have a qualification in the subject,” Mr Gauci said.

Jairus Ashworth, Partner, Rewards Solutions at Aon, said: “The economic fallout of COVID-19 is impacting remuneration and retention all across Australia, so it is heartening to see the tech sector demonstrate such resilience. The learnings from 2020 we have seen is that there is clearly no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to managing the impacts of the pandemic on business and remuneration. As we look to 2021 it will be companies who take action in incorporating the views of all stakeholders (employee, investors and the broader community) who will earn the trust needed to deliver long-term success.”

The AIIA is a not-for-profit organisation aimed at fuelling Australia’s future social and economic prosperity through technology innovation.