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The war for IT talent leads to big paydays

Canadian IT workers earn a 4.5 per cent increase in pay from last year

There’s a war for IT talent being waged in Canada today says Lara Dado, the regional vice-president for Robert Half International.

The executive outlined the new compensation figures from the latest report on IT hiring in Canada by Robert Half Technology, a recruiting company for IT professionals. It’s a case of good news and bad news, depending on your perspective.

The good news if you’re an IT professional is that you’ll be getting an average raise of 4.5 per cent compared to last year’s levels.

The bad news, if you are a solution provider or vendor looking to hire some of these people, is that they’ll be hard to find and cost you a lot of money.

The Robert Half report found that the expected salaries for in-demand positions are as follows:

*Mobile application developers salaries are between $79,000 to $112,000;

*Business intelligence analysts salaries are between $76,000 to $105,750;

*Network engineer salaries are between $79,500 and $104,250;

*Software developers get between $63,250 to $105,500;

*Systems security administrators will earn between $77,250 to $107,750;

*Data warehouse analysts salaries are between $86,000 to $117,000.

You can compare this year’s salaries to last year’s pay rates by clicking on this story: Salary survey shows what you’re worth

According to Dodo, IT talent in Canada is rare. Statistics Canada shows that while the overall unemployment rate in Canada is 7.3 per cent, the IT unemployment rate is at 2.8 per cent and it’s 1.4 per cent in the IT management space.

“In 2013 the demand for IT workers will grow. If you turn the clock back to 2009 most organizations contracted budgets and downsized in areas such as finance and operations, while IT ran lean. Today, most organizations of all sizes recognize the need for more quality IT for its projects, rollouts and upgrades,” Dodo said.

The crisis in IT talent in Canada stems from the 1980s when IT enrollment was down significantly. “Top talent is light and it has created a perfect storm,” she added.

The report also found that employers are paying a premium for the right kind of IT talent. For example, if you’re a Sharepoint developer expect to get 13 per cent more dollars than the average salary for your position. Those with virtualization skills are getting a 10 per cent pay hike.

People with these skills will net an eight per cent bonus: C++ development skills, Cisco network administration skills, Microsoft SQL server database skills, .Net development skills, and SAP development skills.

Dodo also said that CIOs are spending more time in search of candidates, which is impacting business and the CIOs’ overall effectiveness.

For example, CIOs spend 54 minutes per week conducting phone interviews for an open technology position. The report also found that CIOs spend roughly 106 minutes per week holding in-person interviews. And CIOs pay $1,300 on average on advertising for open technology positions.

What do they get for that investment? Well, not much. The average number of resumes obtained by CIOs for an open technology position is 39, which Dodo said is small except if you’re looking for Sharepoint developers.

“It’s a candidate’s market so stop posting these impossible job descriptions because it’s putting people off,” Dodo said.

Craig Duncan, an executive at Dell Canada, said he has seen resumes drop significantly from 100 per job posting years ago to just five per job posting this year.


Another factor in the war for IT talent is the bring your own device (BYOD) trend, Dodo added.

The report found that BYOD is challenging technology departments. Approximately one-third of CIOs allowed BYOD and out of those, only 28 per cent allowed full tech support. More than 66 per cent of CIOs allowed some form of limited IT support on BYOD, but 100 per cent of CIOs acknowledge that support would be required eventually.

“BYOD brings issues of cost and security and challenges the folks in-house who can support it. This is a very complex issue if you look at areas such as what data can be acceptable by the device,” Dodo said.

Cisco recently polled college students, Dodo said, and these future IT candidates expect to use their own device as a minimum expectation for employment. “When we get to areas such as compensation, small items such as BYOD are no longer small and could be the difference in attracting the right candidate,” she said.