Australia’s CIOs wait out job slowdown

Headhunting in Australia’s senior IT professional ranks is little seen compared to the raging 90s with chief information officers (CIOs) and IT execs ‘staying put’ in their current positions. Job openings in these fields are now extremely rare, according to a new survey.

The Robert Walters salary survey found that CIO and chief technology officer (CTO) salaries range from A$170,000 (US$111,000) to A$300,000 a year, while an IT manager can generally expect to be paid from A$85,000 to A$140,000.

While confidence within Australia’s IT industry is beginning to pick up it is still a flat job market that is rich in candidates.

Liz Duncan, IT director in Robert Walters Melbourne office, said salaries vary depending on the type of employing organization and its industry, but generally headcount freezes are lifting.

She said clients are moving out of “cost reduction” mode into a more focused model of technology investments based on a substantial return on investments.

Salaries for IT professionals also appear to be on the rise compared to last year, but employers are opting to hire candidates willing to take lower salaries, Duncan said.

“The changing economic environment means that IT skilled candidates now have to demonstrate even more flexibility and the ability to contribute to business value,” she said.

“Candidates that are attractive to employers are those who have a strong commercial sense coupled with solid experience, knowledge of a variety of technology platforms and proven ability to deliver measurable business results.”

Duncan said there just aren’t enough attractive roles for the likes of CIOs and CTOs to move to, with some companies absorbing the CIO function under the chief financial officer (CFO) or general management structure.

“As an example, there are cases in Melbourne of CIOs being demoted; the CIO’s role is being absorbed by the CFO. So it doesn’t have the stature at the executive level as (CIOs) would want or have once had,” Duncan said, adding that any CIO positions that do become available are hotly contested by numerous great candidates.