30 Jul Tech Market Overview: Brisbane Insights
Coming almost 18 months since we opened our shiny gold-plated doors in the CBD of Brisbane, here is Emanate Technology’s first six-month market review (for the last two quarters of FY 2018/19), as well as our predictions for the trends that are likely to impact Queensland’s tech market over the next 12 months. Before we get started, there are a few considerations to take into account. The first is that we only work with commercial and NFP organisations, not Government or Councils, so if you’re potentially sitting at 1 William Street reading this, thinking this guy has no idea, then you’ve probably got a valid reason to think that.
Also, in recent months, we marked our first full calendar year in operation. Whilst we can easily say the first six months of 2019 have been flat chat, this could be attributable to the work Emanate has been doing with businesses leading up to this point. While not all are specifically market conditions, based on what I am hearing and seeing, here are some of the factors contributing to why I believe this market is pretty hot right now.
What’s Been Happening in the Queensland Market?
We believe that there will to be a continuation of significant IT projects and programs around town, for at least the remainder or this year and into the first quarter of 2020. This will continue to give IT contractors, specifically, in the project services space, a big advantage in where they choose to work and the rates on offer. Companies that have persisted or looked to go down the fixed-term salary path, are either finding it hard to attract and retain quality employees, especially when it comes to project-related staff. Another sign that this area of the market is proving quite lucrative, has been the emergence of a number of new tech services/consulting companies providing project teams onsite on a staff augmentation basis. This rarely occurs when the tech market isn’t firing on all cylinders.
Financial Services Royal Commission – The banking, finance and superannuation sectors in Queensland, like the rest of the country, have had to bring on new staff for critical projects to deal with the aftermath of the Financial Services Royal Commission. This has proven to remove a lot of industry-aligned contractors from the market, and hourly/daily rates have been rising with this demand. As much as things like compliance, regulatory and process aren’t in the dreams of most project staff, the money on offer to come over to these projects can be quite enticing.
Large-Scale Business and Technology Transformations/Project Services – Significant programs requiring multiple project teams e.g. large-scale technology integrations (such as the big M&A taking place). On top of that, the replacement of legacy systems across multiple enterprise businesses, is having an effect on the quality of resources available for these organisations.
It’s a Candidate-Driven Market – There are distinguishable signs through our interactions with both clients and candidates as to who has more choice in a job market at any one time. With a client-driven market, organisations generally have the luxury of more time to select the right person, more choice, as well as the ability to be a lot more selective in the skills candidates are required to have. The current (and continuing) reality is that it is the candidates who are driving the market.
This is noticeable through the increase in candidates having multiple interviews and offers on the table at once. In addition, the salaries and contract rates demanded from candidates have continued to increase. The other noticeable aspect, has been the prevalence of counter offers that organisations have been making to keep resigning employees on board (and the utter joy we have felt when a candidate says they are taking it!).
One other contributing factor we have noticed, is the increase in career permanent employees enquiring about the state of the contract market and are willing to give it a go, because a.) the contracts are longer and b.) the hourly/daily rates prove lucrative enough to potentially work two thirds of the year and still earn more than a salary in a permanent role. Businesses need to understand that the onus is on them to provide an outstanding candidate experience (be it contract or permanent roles), as well as moving quickly to get these candidates.
A Sizzling Start-Up Scene – With the number of new technology businesses opening their doors in Queensland, we are continuing to hear more and more candidates, specifically with digital and development skills, interviewing with relatively new organisations that are being well funded by investors as confidence in this State continues to grow. An example of this growth was an article Emanate Technology shared recently, confirming that the latest data from Start-up Muster showing Queensland overtaking Victoria in terms of the percentage of new tech start-ups. Now sitting second after New South Wales, this growth in the start-up scene has proven fortunate for retail outlets selling black t-shirts, protein products and for tattoo artists, but for those in the shaving and razor industry the same can’t be said (and I won’t mention any specific marketing campaigns).
Data and Analytics – This is an area near and dear to my heart since filling my first Data Warehouse Consultant role before the Sydney Olympics. Local businesses are starting to come around to the obvious point that if you can effectively extract your oodles of information sufficiently (no mean feat in itself), that you can get definite advantages over your competitors and understand what your customers are really doing.
Going back only a couple of years ago, when the price of a barrel of oil was equivalent to a pint of double IPA in a pop up craft beer bar in the Valley, the mining and oil and gas industry now has a little more money and the spend on resources in Queensland’s data and analytics space has been significant. One business in particular has continued to grow its Data Scientist team, which has effectively driven contract and permanent salaries up. On top of that, businesses have restructured their data and analytics teams to be more centrally structured rather than spreading them throughout a number of areas such as finance, marketing and IT. This has continued to be a trend over the last half of this year.
In our experience, Microsoft has continued to stamp their authority on the market of late with a number of our larger clients adopting technologies around MS Dynamics, Azure and continued growth in the data world with Power BI.