That prestigious honor goes to Canberra – where, the newly released Hays Technology Contractors Rates Guide 2022 found that contractors in most of the 65 IT specialties studied routinely charged more than their peers in Sydney, Melbourne or anywhere in Australia.
Network architectsfor example, charge an average of $1,200 per day in Canberra, compared to $1,060 in Sydney, $1,000 in Hobart and $900 in Perth.
Service delivery managers pay an average of $1,040 per day in Canberra versus $950 in Sydney, while ERP/CRM developers pay an average of $1,095 per day, compared to $980 in Sydney and $910 in Melbourne.
Unsurprisingly, given the ongoing discussions about the cybersecurity skills gap, cyber specialists were generally the highest-paid consultants.
Cyber Security Architects took the mantle as Australia’s highest-paid consultants — $1,600 a day in Canberra and $1,350 in Sydney and Melbourne — while charging cybersecurity engineers an average of $1,200 a day in Canberra, $1,000 a day in Sydney and Melbourne, and $840 a day. bring in Adelaide and Perth.
Even cheaper contractors charge significantly more in Canberra, with Level 2 desktop support consultants charging $410 per day in Canberra versus $350 per day in Sydney – a 17% surplus in the government-focused ACT market.
Crucial to support transformation
Despite the high prices, organizations focused on digital transformation have few resources but to pay.
For example, the South Australian government made a pre-pandemic commitment to overhaul South Australia’s data center architecture and faced challenges during the pandemic due to rising demand.
To ensure they could continue the transformation despite the disruption of the pandemic, IT strategists redoubled their use of contractors to access hard-to-find skills.
“There is a lot of work for my team and for the entire government, and we need more people with very specific technical expertise to help accelerate this step,” explains Eva Balan-Vnuk, Chief Information Officer of the SA government.
“Exacerbated by an extremely hot-tech contractor market and the current migration restrictions in Australia, these projects mean we are finding it difficult to source all the skills and talent we need.”
Other organizations turn to contractors to handle the natural ebb and flow of project work.
“The ICT sector in this country… is essentially a contractor-based industry,” David Fredericks, secretary of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), told a recent parliamentary committee on economic law. to belong“and in many ways our intersection with that industry forces us to rely on contractors in the ICT sector.”
Contractors are invaluable for delivering “peak capacity” [due to] managing many grants that tend to ebb and flow,” Fredericks said. “We often use contractors to handle the wave of work that comes through the grant process.”
Show me more than the money
But while money can get contractors in the door, experts warn that the contractor-employer relationship needs to be much more than money to work for everyone involved.
“All organizations have a limit on how high rates can go while still remaining viable and sustainable,” notes Robert Beckley, regional director of Hays Technology, “so they are exploring levers beyond dollars to attract skilled technology professionals. .”
For example, contractors are increasingly interested in the details of projects they work on — choosing their projects, at least in part, based on the skills they may be able to learn while working there.
Companies need to think about how to keep contractors engaged and interested in the projects they’re working on — “the broader value exchange on offer,” as Beckley puts it — so they don’t walk away when their six- or 12-month term ends.
It helps communicate the company’s purpose and employee value proposition throughout the hiring process, he adds, noting that “more and more contractors are just as interested in what they’ll be working on as who they’ll be working with.” to work.”
Ultimately, Beckley advises, contractors need to be careful to remember that they’re in it for the long haul — and to avoid cutting out clients or burning bridges.
How long can this take?
“While I make contingencies around seeking the very best (e.g. in leadership positions), in many cases I prefer speed and agility combined with the right attitude,” said Alberto Simognini, head of enterprise services at financial services firm Latitude Financial. services. , who notes that 70% of its 250-strong expanded workforce is made up of contractors.
Prolonged border closures have stifled a supply of foreign talent and “this has led to significant increases in salaries and daily rates,” Simognini said, warning that the money available “further leads to less loyalty and employment has become even more transactional.”
“It’s natural that some contractors try to take advantage of the scarcity market… but there is a threshold. At some point the market will slow down and possibly even reverse as this is not sustainable for businesses – and I wonder how sustainable it will be for the Australian economy.”