Kiwi software, cloud architects see biggest pay jump

Tech salary guide shows New Zealand IT professionals are making more money due to border closures and skills shortage.

New Zealand currency focusing on the 10 dollar note [NZ, money, currency]
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Solution architects focussed on software, applications, and cloud solutions have seen biggest jump in pay rates in New Zealand since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from recruitment firm Talent's latest Tech Salary Guide.

Full stack developers and business analysts in particular are also now commanding higher pay rates than before, Talent Wellington managing director Bianca Jones told Computerworld New Zealand.

"Pre-pandemic, permanent intermediate architects were earning between $127,000 and $132,000 a year. Now, they can ask for up to $157,000. Senior architects, who previously earned $150,000 to $160,000 a year, are now asking for up to $180,000," Jones said.

Pre-COVID, full stack developer contractors could earn between $100 and $110 an hour. Now they are commanding up to $127, while salaries for permanent staff have increased from up to $150,000 to $170,000 a year.

Business analysts (BA) who were earning contract rates of around $110 before, are now asking for up to $130 an hour. Salaries for permanent BAs are now reaching $130,000, up from $110,000.

"The demand for BAs is insane—we can't keep up with the demand," said Jones.

The reasons for the sharp salary increases are varied and include the closing of international borders and the general skills shortage. Inflation is also playing a role.

"People are bolder in asking for more money. The cost of living is up; inflation is up, so they ask for more money. People are also talking to each other about what they're earning and comparing salaries. They certainly know what they're worth in this market," said Jones.

Open borders can be both helpful and detrimental to New Zealand IT

The reopening of the borders is unlikely to bring much relief, as it will enable more New Zealanders to seek greener pastures elsewhere. Jones said that whereas previously organisations were able to attract and bring talent to New Zealand, now locals are talking about moving offshore as they are struggling with the cost of living.

The trend towards flexible and remote working is also enabling offshore companies to snap up local talent.

"People are now working from home in New Zealand for overseas companies, and large global firms are advertising fully remote roles here," said Jones.

To compete for candidates, organisations need to offer competitive packages beyond just higher pay. People are still looking at the overall package including bonuses, insurance, extra paid holidays like 'duvet days' and unique initiatives, according to Jones.

But the "brutal" tech recruitment market is not changing soon, said Jones.

"The demand for could, data and analytics, and developer skills is not going to slow down any time soon. Organisations use data to help with their challenges and to create better end-user experiences. There are thousands of tech vacancies across the country. I have been in recruitment for over 18 years, and this is the busiest I have ever seen it. It's brutal," said Jones.

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