The tech industry is booming. Not just in Silicon Valley, Hong Kong and Berlin, but also in the Southern Hemisphere.

Tech professionals are in high demand in Australia and New Zealand, creating a skills shortage and competition across all industries. This competition provides increased bargaining power for job seekers. It’s a candidate-driven market, and that means you have more control over what you’re worth.

The state of the market

As of 2017, 4.2 million people were working in technology occupations globally. This number is expected to grow significantly over the next five years.

Australia and New Zealand have experienced year-on-year increases in technology and digital roles. However, despite technology remaining one of the most heavily invested in areas for business growth and development, 76 per cent of CEOs still struggle to find skilled professionals. The shortage of tech professionals is forcing businesses to increase salaries in order to attract top talent.

As in 2017, tech professionals continue to preference contracting roles, motivated by higher salaries, flexible working conditions and more diverse projects.

Tech skills in high demand

The most in-demand tech skills for 2018 are data science, software development, cyber security and business change management. Mobile and web development professionals are also experiencing significant growth globally.

An increased focus on machine learning and business intelligence means data scientists are becoming increasingly integral to technology teams.

Similarly, software development and programming professionals are reaping the benefits of a candidate-driven market. However, the increasing demand for this skill set will create an acute skills shortage across Australia and New Zealand throughout 2018.

As more businesses embrace digital transformation, business change management is becoming a highly desired skill set. As is cyber security, as a result of numerous high profile cyber attacks in 2017.

This digital transformation means businesses are no longer only competing against their traditional rivals for top talent, but also against established digital and tech giants.

For example, when McDonald’s announced it’s self-serve kiosks and ordering app, the fast food giant required digital professionals to develop and roll out the technology. This meant competing with global tech giants, including Google, Amazon and eBay.

This competition further demonstrates the power skilled technology candidates have to negotiate better salaries and working conditions.

Upskilling to remain competitive

It is estimated that by 2020 over a third of core competencies required for most jobs will include skills that aren’t considered as critical today.[1]

As technology continues to augment business processes, it’s critical that businesses have access to professionals with relevant expertise. Similarly, to remain competitive, tech professionals must develop new competencies.

Danny King, CEO of Accredible, suggests that businesses and individuals invest in upskilling to close the growing skills gap.[2]

For individuals, upskilling increases employability. In fact, professionals with technical skills earn up to 30 per cent more a year.[3] Businesses that invest in their employees benefit from reduced recruitment costs, greater employee morale and improved market competitiveness.

Are your skills valuable?

The need for skilled professionals has not changed in Australia and New Zealand over the past year. However, increased workloads, change management projects and industry changes mean businesses are now looking for tech talent who can manage fluctuations in work patterns and have the ability to adapt to evolving job responsibilities.

If this is you, then your skills are highly valuable.

Perhaps its time to find another contract role or maybe you want to ask for a salary increase. Either way, the industry is in your favour and you should take advantage of it.

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