by Rodney Gedda

What are you worth? CIOs should get $150K: Hudson

Feb 02, 2010

If you’re not earning more than $150,000 per year then you’re underpaid for a CIO, according to Hudson’s ICT Salary Survey for 2010.

What’s more, the salary range varies from each state, with a CIO in South Australia starting at $150,000 and an equivalent role in NSW worth $180,000.

At the higher end of the scale, experienced (or high-value industry) CIOs should be raking in more than $300,000 in South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT; $350,000-plus in Victoria and above $400,000 in Sydney.

The report says the first half of 2009 saw a dramatic slow down in hiring in the ICT market across most industries, however over the past six months the level of market activity is “slowly” beginning to ramp up due to improving confidence in financial markets.

“Across industries, ICT projects which were put on hold during 2009 will be revisited,” according to the report. “This will drive an increase in the demand for skilled candidates and place an upward pressure on salaries in 2010.”

Former CIO Mark Hetherington says the minimum salary of $150,000 might be “at the very low end”, but if the organisation employs more than 30 people, or the IT budget is greater than $3 million, then “this isn’t enough”.

Hetherington was CIO at Mooter Media before moving to the same role at TileFile, a startup that was acquired by Motorola. He now runs an independent software consulting business, Software Productivity.

Is there likely to be a skills shortage this year as the economy recovers from the GFC? Hetherington thinks so, especially if “things pick up as quickly as now expected”.

“In difficult times people seek and find alternatives which they then may quite enjoy, often because of the change in lifestyle, or they may have made commitments which might prevent them from returning,” he said.

In early 2009 some permanent salaries in NSW experienced slight growth of between 5 to 10 per cent, particularly for roles involving SharePoint, BI, ERP and CRM.

Contracting, on the other hand, saw the largest recorded drops in NSW, with decreases in some areas ranging from 10 to 30 per cent.

Hetherington agrees with this finding, saying he doesn’t don’t think contracting is a preferred method of employment and if people are keen to work at their best level, permanent roles will be preferred.

Regarding the employment outlook for senior IT people, Hetherington says it will be better than 2009 “without a doubt”, but whether it will return to early 2008 levels remains to be seen.

“I think it will take [until] 2011 to catch up with early 2008,” he said.

In the report Employment Expectations Hudson data indicates a rise in ICT hiring intentions for the first quarter of 2010 and a rise in salaries to go with the jobs.

Some 44 per cent of employers surveyed said they expected IT salaries to increase this year.

“We anticipate this market confidence to result in a higher number of senior roles becoming available.”

Notably, salaries in Queensland experienced little change in both permanent and contracting rates, but did there was a slight reduction in salaries offered for senior roles, “which candidates were willing to accept”.

Continued skills shortage haunts hiring intentions

The same survey showed that 57 per cent of companies feel it will be difficult to find the right talent in 2010 as skills shortages resurface.

“In recent months, demand for ICT professionals across industries has been heavily project driven [and] the professional services industry is expected to benefit from this,” according to Hudson.

Government investment will continue to fuel demand for IT services, particularly in the education and telecommunications sectors and any skills shortage is expected to take hold in the second-half of the year.