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Canberra beckons as cash cow for Australia’s IT contractors

Canberra beckons as cash cow for Australia’s IT contractors

How the Federal Government’s big budget IT projects are making Canberra a cash cow for Australia’s IT contractors

Canberra is emerging as a major drawcard for Australia’s IT contractors, as the Federal Government pumps ever-increasing budgets into big IT projects.

New research from recruitment agency, Hays, shows that the country’s capital sees IT contractors demand some of the highest pay rates in the country, with program managers working in Canberra able to make up to $1,800 per day – the highest rate in Hays’ findings.

By contrast, contract program managers working in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane generally charge rates of up to $1,700 per day, while those in Adelaide, Perth and Darwin top out at around $1,400-$1,500.

The same trend can be seen across the spectrum of specialties within the IT contractor landscape, with Canberra consistently seeing higher rates of pay than other capital cities, according to Hays’ IT Contractors A Driving Force in the Digital Economy: 2017 IT Contracting Recruitment & Rates Guide.

While Hays surveyed a relatively small sample of 240 IT contractors to inform the report, the results clearly point to Canberra topping the nation in terms of demand and pay.

“In the Australian Capital Territory [ACT], the recruitment market is linked to the federal government contracting cycle and the financial year,” Hays said in the report. “A key driver for the Canberra market is the federal government’s drive to improve services by decreasing complexity and increasing online accessibility.

“Led by the Digital Transformation Agency [DTA], many departments are initiating significant change and much of their operational budget is being directed to achieve set goals,” it said.

Indeed, the Federal Government’s latest annual Budget, handed down on 9 May, revealed hundreds of millions of dollars that have been allocated to long-term, far-reaching IT projects.

The Government announced it would provide $374.2 million over two years from 2017-18, including $94 million in capital, to continue its My Health Record system, while also forking out $67.3 million in 2017-18 for the overhaul of its health and aged care payments IT system.

Likewise, the Government said it would dish out an undisclosed sum to improve the security and resilience of the Bureau of Meteorology’s IT systems and business processes, and $313.5 million funding over four years from 2016-17 for its Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation (WPIT) program.

According to Hays, there will be a big rush for resources to meet project delivery milestones at the end of the financial year. This is expected to be followed by a giant spike as the market adjusts to budget allocations and project confirmation at the start of the new financial year.

In the private sector, hays said that it’s also seeing increased contract demand thanks to IT budgets expanding to match project scopes.

In terms of skills in demand, Dynamics CRM Developers, .Net Web Developers, Solutions and Technical Architects top hiring managers’ lists.

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