It’s a boom time for jobs if you’re an IT worker.
As technology is one of the few industries continuing to grow in the midst of a global recession, not many technology workers have had to put up with wage freezes or wage cuts. In fact, during 2009 and 2010 they have enjoyed competitive salary rates and bonuses. We track the salary trends of 2010 and what workers can expect in 2011.
Almost a decade ago the record growth pace of the technology industry was temporarily halted when a bubble in internet stocks burst. For a country that wasn’t too badly exposed to the dotcom crash, Ireland’s response was disproportionate and a lot of students and their parents spurned technology courses in universities and colleges in the years that followed.
Many are ruing this decision, as the graduates of technology courses, especially of the last five years, are in hot demand.
IT workers in Ireland are confident their salaries will rise 10pc this year, and some observers believe IT contractors can expect a 20pc higher rate of pay.
This demand for software workers who can build products in JAVA, .NET, SEAM, Ruby and PHP, as well as having virtualisation skills, means IT is one of the few areas being hit by the recession.
According to Sonya Curley, managing director of Harvey Nash, there are great opportunities in web development skills and students with degrees in software engineering, communications and engineering are in demand.
“The large gap that emerged since the dotcom crash in 2000 has meant that there’s demand for skilled and experienced IT workers. We would strongly encourage college-goers to take up ICT qualifications. There are lots of opportunities in the area and this gets more exciting when you think about areas like smartphones, which are tipped to overtake PCs in 2014 as the No 1 internet access point.”
While the majority of managers across finance, technical, office support and IT functions in Ireland expect basic salaries to remain flat in 2011, a quarter believe salaries will rise. Just 10pc of IT workers fear their salaries will fall this year.
“The IT sector is particularly buoyant and should be the ‘sector to watch’ in 2011,” said Karen O’Flaherty, chief operations officer of Premier Group Ireland.
In a change of tone for the Irish economy, the Morgan McKinley Employment Monitor found that almost 43pc of respondents expect their organisations to hire new staff over the next 12 months.
The majority of the 723 senior-level operational and HR managers predict staff in their organisations will increase by up to 5pc of the current headcount.
The volume of professional job vacancies in Ireland decreased by 12pc from November to December 2010. However, there was a 14pc increase when compared to job opportunities in December 2009.
The number of professionals beginning their job search in Ireland dropped dramatically in December 2010, with a 51pc decrease from November 2010 and a 29pc decrease year-on-year from December.
“During the downturn, a number of companies froze some or all elements of their compensation packages in order to manage costs in the short term,” O’Flaherty explained. “As the market recovers, more businesses are seeking advice on their remuneration structures, indicating a renewed focus on pay and rewards.
“In a more positive indicator for the Irish jobs market, 42.8pc of managers said that their organisations plan to recruit new staff in 2011. It is expected that multinational companies will be the main drivers of this hiring activity, as many continue to restructure and rebuild their teams after significant job cuts in 2008–2009.
“Demand for temporary, interim and contract professionals is set to remain strong across all industries, as fiscal pressures force hiring managers to seek more flexible and cost-effective recruitment solutions.”
Curley points out that many people don’t realise they can work in the technology industry even though they may not have technological qualifications. “We are generating applications from people who genuinely didn’t realise they would get a pay rise in any industry.”
Curley said the larger salaries will be commanded, however, by graduates with software skills, especially .NET and Java. “Many of the international finance companies based in Dublin are software-focused and we’re seeing considerable demand in Dublin by players like Citi.
“A lot of the new roles in organisations will be focused on new richer content interfaces for Web .2.0, smartphones and would feed into social networking and social media,” Curley said.
“Technology is where it’s at.”