Top 3 IT roles with the greatest remote-work growth in Australia

Research finds high rates of increased remote work for help desk support staff, computer systems engineers, and database engineers.

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One change the coronavirus pandemic introduced to many workplaces was remote work. Although not all organisations will keep the remote option for the long term, quite a few have already made definitive changes to a hybrid or 100% remote-work model. And if an organisation cannot have all its employees working remotely due to the nature of the business, truth is many jobs within organisations can and will continue to be performed remotely.

Some data that backs this information is the recent Demand for Skilled Talent report by recruitment firm Robert Half, which observed more than 280% increase in remote-work job postings in Australia since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to the report, 72% of Australian organisations are open to hiring people from across Australia and having them work remotely. Technology, finance, and business support are the Top 3 sectors driving the increase in remote job postings between March 2020 and March 2021 compared to the pre-COVID period of June 2019-February 2020.

The technology job titles with the greatest remote-work growth are help desk support (up 471%), computer systems engineer (up 328%), and database engineer (up 317%).

Overall demand for certain IT professionals in Australia has been high, with particularly high demand for cloud engineers, security-awareness consultants, and full-stack developers. In cybersecurity, analysts and specialists are also in demand. Other IT jobs for which demand was on the rise earlier in 2021 include back-end developer, web developer, head of engineering, and data manager. Many of these jobs could be done remotely.

Variable approach to remote workers’ salaries in Australia

When shifting to a remote-work model, organisations may face new expenses as they save on other things. If the existing workforce uses desktop PCs, the employer may decide to buy laptops, which would increase the immediate expenses. (In fact, corporate laptop sales in Australia rose 11% in 2020, and consumer sales shot up by 29.3%, largely due to the pandemic-caused shift to working from home.) But organisations may save with office space and other services in the long term.

This shift could affect the salaries of new hires, based on their location, something already seen in the US. Because a specific location is no longer a requirement, organisations may choose to apply different rules when defining an employee’s salary based on that person’s place of residence.

The Robert Half research found that 38% of businesses are likely to remunerate according to the location the team is headquartered, while 34% would consider a hybrid of the two locations—office location and remote-worker location—to set the appropriate salary benchmark. One in four (25%) hiring managers say they would use the location of the remote worker when considering salary.

Both Robert Half’s and Hays 2021 salary surveys have shown a significant difference in salaries across technology roles based on state or territory. So a location-based wage policy could mean an IT professional based in Perth who is applying for a remote role with a company based in Sydney, where wages tend to be higher, may get lower wages than a colleague in Sydney.

Those more likely to pay a remote employee’s wages based on the organisation’s location, rather than on the employee’s location, are New South Wales (45%) and Victoria (47%), with Queensland (27%) and Western Australian (30%) showing a much lower rate. This could be because in Queensland and Western Australia organisations’ base salaries are lower than in the other states, so candidates in higher-cost areas would be less likely to consider working for Queensland or WA salaries. Robert Half’s data shows that businesses in New South Wales can pay up to 16% more for median experience levels in technology compared to their West Australian peers.

With remote work a more familiar concept today and with the continuation of the border closure, some analysts see an opportunity to expand remote hiring to other countries. Gartner analyst Aaron McEwan noted that a worker rarely needs to be in the same physical space as their colleagues to perform many IT functions. With the continual talk about a skills gap, one of the solutions may be to hire workers in other countries.

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Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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