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More IT & T workers demand flexible work options as salaries plateau
Posted on 10-Oct-2007 11:45 | Tags Filed under: News

More IT & T workers are demanding flexible hours and conditions, according to the 2007 Hudson IT & T Remuneration Guide launched today.

Increasing demands for more flexible working conditions come as salaries in the IT & T sector have slowed over the past year.

This year’s survey shows a strong new trend for permanent IT & T employees, particularly those over 40 years old, to want to work four days a week. Traditionally, this option has been mainly available to IT & T contract employees.

More permanent employees are also demanding to work remotely, either from home or away from their employers’ main offices, or are converting to career contracting, choosing short-term or project-oriented work offshore, the survey shows.

National IT & T practice leader at Hudson, Campbell Hepburn, says more contractors, are also working fewer hours – around 30 hours a week compared with 40 to 50 in the past.

The exception to the trend of salaries plateauing is with hard-to-find skill sets, says Mr Hepburn.

“Despite the skills shortage in the IT & T sector, the market cannot sustain rising salaries to meet demands. This latest survey shows salaries have levelled out compared with 2006 when they increased by two to five percent,” he said.

“This is partly because businesses now accept IT & T as part of their business and it is no longer perceived as a specialist or separate area.”

The exception to stagnant salary levels is in hard-to-find skill sets, generally at senior levels.

“That includes network architects who can command salaries of between $100,000 to $160,000, and in some cases up to $180,000 as the market gets ready for a surge in investment with the development of this sector.

“Other hard-to-find skill sets include senior business analysts, .Net developers, SQL developers and web business analysts with strong technical strengths who can command salaries between $85,000 to $100,000.

“Hourly rates for contract workers for these specialist roles have also increased.”

The survey showed an emerging trend for IT & T workers to move to smaller regions of New Zealand such as the Bay of Plenty, Hamilton, Nelson and Marlborough.

“Historically IT & T workers have tended to work in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, primarily because these have been the areas offering the best opportunities.

“But lifestyle factors are luring more IT & T workers, particularly those who are self-employed or in contracting roles, to smaller regions.”

Mr Hepburn says the number of IT & T jobs with small businesses in provincial areas is increasing, particularly in the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty. More workers are also opting to live in Nelson and Hamilton and commute to Wellington and Auckland respectively, he says.

“It’s becoming more about fitting the job to the lifestyle than fitting the lifestyle to the job.”

In the current skills short climate Mr Hepburn advises employers that hiring the right IT & T staff is a balance between process, efficiency and flexibility.

“Employers should hire new staff on their potential. Candidates rarely tick off all the boxes, but in IT & T in particular candidates can often learn and apply new skills in a short time.

“Ensure you have employed a robust recruitment process to come up with your shortlist, so you can make a timely appointment when you identify the right candidate.”

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