Ambition – Australia Market Trends 1H 2014 


Introduction 4 
Key Survey Findings 6 
Market Analysis 7 
Finance 10 
Technology 22 
Human Resources 30 
About Ambition 36 
Contacts & Support 39 


Welcome to our summer 2014 1H 
Market Trends Report 

Throughout the mid-year period of 2013, the business community was carefully 

watching the results of the federal election; optimistic that greater confidence 

would translate to increased hiring activity. In the latter part of the year, we 

certainly witnessed an improvement in sentiment towards hiring in 2014 and 
almost half of our clients from a recent survey are predicting headcount increases rather 
than just replacement hires. This is a welcome boost after 12 – 18 months of difficult 
recruitment market conditions. 

Apart from the cyclical challenges, our clients are increasingly placing different expectations 
on recruitment companies. With the advances in online technology, an acceptance has 
been needed from our industry that what clients look for in recruiters is different to 5 – 10 
years ago. Accessing active candidate communities is easier than ever and the economic 
downturn has unquestionably compounded this. However, it is our strongly held belief 
that the most in-demand, passive talent still sits beneath the surface and can be accessed 

– most cost and time-effectively – by specialist recruiters. There are also, usually smaller, 
organisations that have chosen to outsource virtually all recruitment to external agencies 
due to the fixed-cost investment required to build in-house capabilities. Add to this the fact 

that recruitment is still very much a person-to-person business and it is clear that talk of the 
demise of the recruitment sector is very over-stated. But companies like Ambition do have 
to evolve and adapt. 

Our response has been to focus in the main on the top 10% of the candidate community – 
the more in-demand talent. This allows us to turn around shortlisting processes quicker than 

ever. We have also started to offer organisations a more flexible range of services, tailored 
to their specific needs and factoring in the sophistication of their in-house recruitment 


As far as job market trends are concerned, the first half of 2013 saw employers principally 

hiring only when replacing headcount and this has broadly continued into the second half. 
Many bigger companies persevered with cost cutting and streamlining initiatives but the 
positive news is that this has increased the demand for change management and other 

project based roles, especially in technology, finance and HR systems related initiatives. 
Temporary appointments have satisfied some of this demand but the supply of contracting 

talent currently still far outstrips demand. 

Although an over-supply of candidates in the market points to vacant positions being easier 

to fill, this hasn’t always been the case, as organisations have sought a very high degree of 
job fit, including often seeking relevant industry experience. At the senior level where there 

are fewer opportunities and a healthy supply of talent, competition on short-lists has been 

fierce and candidates have been willing to compromise on salary expectations – including, 

on occasions taking a reduction. Otherwise at lower levels, salary increases for job movers 
have been in the 3-5% range. 

Whilst the general mood on the candidate side is to err on the side of caution and stay put, 
outstanding career opportunities still exist and demand for niche skills remains. If some 
renewed optimism at the end of 2013 does lead to an increase of job opportunities, this will 
have the knock-on effect of kick starting the recruitment market and creating a much more 
positive environment. 

Every organisation is slightly different hence why we advocate a tailored and more 
consultative approach to advising on remuneration. The salary tables that follow in this 
report do offer something of a guideline but we would encourage you to speak to us 
in person. 

We trust that the commentary in our Market Trends Report is helpful and we would be 

pleased to assist you with any specific queries you may have. My email address is and I would be happy to respond to you personally. 

Guy Day 

Chief Executive 



During November 2013, Ambition invited participants, including employees and 
employers across a variety of organisations to complete the 1H 2014 Ambition Salary and 
Employment Survey. The in-depth survey covered six core areas including: 

• Salary & Remuneration • Career 
• Benefits • Business Performance and Outlook 
• Workplace Conditions • Technology & Social Media 

The 1H Ambition Salary and Employment Survey was completed by 1,519 respondents 
nationally across Australia including 817 employees and 702 employers across Finance, 
Technology and Human Resources during November 2013. 

Level of Employment 


Job Function 




Part Time 

Less than 3 months 
3 - 6 months 
6 - 12 months 
1 - 2 years 
2 - 4 years 
Over 5 years 



of employees have not of employees have 
received a bonus in the not received a salary 
last 12 months increase in 2013 

According to employees, the 
top factors that affect bonus 
gures are: 

Company performance 
Current economic climate 
Individual performance 

Relationship with manager 

1 in 5 

Companies offer 
gym membership 

1 in 2 

Companies offer 
membership fees 
and study allowance 

2 in 5 

Companies offer 
the ability to buy 
additional leave 

of employers believe their 60% company remuneration is in line 
with the market rate. 

How does 
your company 
How does 
your company 

of employees believe 
they can progress to the 
next level in their 


of employers believe their 
employees can progress to 
the next level in their 


of respondents would 
move location to 
further their career 

3 in 5 

employees believe 
their company does 
not invest enough 
in training and 


of employees 
indicated that 
‘Leadership’ training 
and development is 
most lacking in their 
current company 

2 in 5 

employees believe 
their company does 
not have a clear 
strategy focusing on 
the future workforce 


of employees 
indicated they would 
be open to working a 
contract or 
temporary role 

of employees indicated 
of employees 72% 
of respondents indicated that 
staffing numbers in their area had 
been reduced in the last 12 months 
of employees have 
worried about 
losing their job 
of respondents believe it 
would be competitive to 
find a new job in the 
current market 
of employees indicated 
of employees 72% 
of respondents indicated that 
staffing numbers in their area had 
been reduced in the last 12 months 
of employees have 
worried about 
losing their job 
of respondents believe it 
would be competitive to 
find a new job in the 
current market 
they work 40 – 50 

indicated they 
hours per week of employees 

have felt 


indicated their

pressure to

of employees company offers 

work more 

work over opportunities 


50 hours for flexible hours 


of employers indicated 
their company has 

guidelines and rules on 
social media behaviour 


of employers view 

social media profiles 

of potential employees 
and recruits 


of employees indicated 
they have used social 
media as part of their 
job search strategy 


of employees 
are conscious of 
their social 

media profiles 

10 10 
Ambition – Australia Market Trends 1H 2014 – Finance 


Market Overview 
Supply & Demand 
Trends & Predictions 


Ambition – Australia Market Trends 1H 2014 – Finance 


After speculating on an upturn in the recruitment market for a couple of years, we may 

finally have seen the commencement. Post-election, we have seen a continual increase in 

sentiment coming out of most businesses and there is no doubt that December has seen 
a noticeable increase in hiring activity. 

Whilst we often see a December rush, with clients looking to firm up their teams leading 

into the New Year, this rush feels a little different. We are hearing clients talk very 
positively about their plans to aggressively take on the market and target top and bottom 

line growth. Nearly one in two (49%) finance professionals indicated that they expect 

growth in their business in 2014. 

We are also seeing an increased pipeline of IPOs and likely corporate activity unfolding 

– again signs that there is confidence gathering and that we have maybe passed the 
toughest times. If this sentiment holds over until the New Year and the bumper retail 
spend that has been predicted eventuates, we expect that hiring activity will start the 
year far more buoyantly than it has in previous years. 

New South Wales 

2013 saw many companies effectively in a holding pattern, with limited movement 

and growth meaning a reduction in recruitment. A lack of confidence in the economy 

combined with the federal election being called so far in advance, only served to render 

the finance recruitment market even more sluggish. 

Post-election, we have seen a significant improvement in sentiment, with a large 

percentage of our clients indicating that they anticipate an increase in permanent hiring 
in the New Year. In addition to this, there are a growing number of businesses that, whilst 

currently not confident enough to increase permanent headcount, are planning to hire 

contractors either for strategic projects or to alleviate the pressure on already stretched 

finance and accounting teams. 

Across a number of sectors there is a sense of optimism with the general consensus 

being that 2014 will be a more positive year than 2013. Indeed, 47% of those finance 

professionals surveyed expect headcount growth in 2014. 


Finance has always been a prudent function within companies – they very rarely run with 
excess “fat” and indeed over the last few years have been forced to run extremely lean 
in many cases. This leanness has in turn put pressure on businesses to redesign processes 

to create more streamlined and efficient activities, thus allowing the lower headcount to 


remain sustainable. But, for all their efforts, not many businesses have managed to 
achieve this without having pushed staff to the limit. 

Contractors have been only sparsely used to alleviate the pressure on staff – 
hence most employees have just had to put their heads down and work harder 
and longer than before. This takes a toll and we believe that there are plenty of 
loyal employees who are a little jaded and looking forward to the employment 
market loosening up a little so that they can assess whether the grass might be 
greener elsewhere. 

In addition to this, leaner functions often mean more simplified structures, which 

in turn can create less visible career opportunities for staff. 

The positives of the last few years of tough times for finance staff are that the 

functions in most businesses have moved from a support function to being a 
commercially valuable business partner. The processes that ensure timely and 

high integrity reporting are well-honed – now it’s all about how finance can help 

the business improve its performance. What was once a function that lurked 
in the backgrounds of a company is fast coming into the limelight. This has 

shown through in the profiles of recruits that our clients are looking to hire. We 

also believe that with some renewed optimism from businesses regarding the 

prospects of revenue and profit growth that demand will only increase in 2014. 


We have seen improved confidence across Queensland with 6,000 additional 

jobs created nationally in the last 12 months. A combination of improving 
global economic conditions, a low dollar and the newly-elected Federal 
Government have all led to improved business sentiment, which we expect will 
continue into 2014. 

This renewed optimism is having a knock-on effect to other industries as 
companies start to lift headcount restrictions and start planning for projects 
that have been delayed for some time. Most companies have used a wait-andsee 
approach to hiring while others have used this lull in the market to get their 

organisations “fit for business” to capitalise on any uptick in economic conditions 

in 2014. This has meant large scale CAPEX investment has been quite restricted 
over 2013 but we have seen a number of companies focus on “getting their house 
in order” leading to mostly business improvement projects being approved. 

A large percentage of organisations have focused on trimming their headcount, 
reengineering business processes and quite often renegotiating supply contracts 
to help achieve better company results. 


Ambition – Australia Market Trends 1H 2014 – Finance 

Western Australia 

It was a challenging year for the Western Australia economy with a sudden stall in early 2013. The 
market saw a slight improvement in August, primarily due to increased steel production in China. 

The increased production has driven the iron ore prices which led to a boost in confidence, and 

workload, so positively affected recruitment, however sporadically through 2013. 

The growing population continues to support the building and construction industry. House 
prices have also continued to grow strongly, up 11% in the year to June. 

We have seen 4,000 jobs in the last quarter and the Fairfax Employment Forecast expects a 
further 1,333,000 jobs by May 2014. 


There is no disputing that the supply-demand balance in the market has been heavily skewed 
toward supply for at least two years now. But the common misconception is that this makes it 
easy to recruit for talent. Whilst redundancies have been common in the market, it has been 
rare that a company has shut down an entire division. 

Typically, companies have selectively cut into teams to trim – meaning the cream of the crop 
remains in the company. The effect is that candidate pools have increased, but the quantity of 

the best hasn’t. This makes it even harder to find top talent. 

Whilst there are always specific technical skills that are in high demand/short supply at any 

point of time, perhaps more pertinent is the layer of “non-technical” skills that now governs 
most recruitment decisions. These include strong stakeholder management skills, excellent 
business partnering, strong leadership skills, business acumen, as well as the capacity to cope 

with significant pressure and the capability to engage others. From a technical perspective, we 

have seen increased governance demands being placed onto many companies that as a result 
become more scrutinised by investors and regulators. This has led to an increase in demand 
for these skillsets and, as such, a shortage in the market for the talent. 

CA qualified first-time movers from a Big 4 background remain in high demand across the 
board. Outside of this, we continue to see a steady demand for industry-specific experience 

across sectors such as Oil & Gas, Construction, Property, Media and FMCG. Those companies 

who have been able to relax this requirement have filled their vacant roles more quickly 

and often in doing so have brought in a diversity of thought and experience which will add 

significant value to their businesses. 


Management Accountants and Business Analysts have been in higher demand than 
Technical Financial Accountants during the last year, due in part to the value they 
provide the business through better management information. 

At the senior end of the market we are seeing a large over-supply of people in the 
$150k+ salary range, leading to intense competition for senior roles with very high job 

application volumes and some very talented senior people struggling to find work. 
In our recent survey, only 29% of finance employees believe they can progress to the 

next level, which is due to a lack of movement at the top end of organisations. 


There are some emerging trends in the finance market in 2014, with a record 75% of 
clients surveyed telling us their companies support and encourage flexible working 
arrangements. This is a marked increase on previous figures as companies have 
had to find alternative ways to attract and retain staff in an environment where 
significant pay rises are unlikely. 

Employees are also increasingly open to relocating in order to secure their dream 
role, particularly at the senior end of the market, with interstate moves becoming a 
more regular occurrence. 

The permanent recruitment market shows signs of picking up as we move into 

2014, although the speed of process from start to finish is still not as fast as it could 

be. Some companies are missing out on the cream of the crop because of lengthy 
interview processes. 

One area we do expect to see significant growth in during 2014 is the contracting 
market, with 63% of finance clients telling us they plan to make temporary hires 

next year and 68% of employees indicating they are open to the opportunities that 
contracting work has to offer. Gone are the days of temporary or interim work being 

seen as a “fill-in” between permanent roles. Instead we are seeing a move towards 

employees approaching contracting work as a means of developing and growing 
their portfolio of skills in a variety of environments. 

There is little doubt that 2014 will see a more fluid recruitment market. The first 

stage of improvement is sentiment increasing and we have seen this. If an increased 

job flow results, we will start to see some churn come into the market, bearing 
in mind one role can potentially create multiple hires once the chain of backfills 
unfolds. We believe there is a significant pool of candidates awaiting this churn to 
give them their chance to find new roles; hence we may see a fairly rapid increase in 

the pace of the market movement. 


Candidates who can bring more than just their technical skills will continue to be most 

popular. Strong technical accounting/finance skills are a must in most roles – but candidates 

with broader skills and competencies have important roles to play in businesses as they 
chase better times in the years ahead. 

With an expected increase in corporate activity, we would expect to see a corresponding 
increase in resourcing both within the transactions teams of investment banks and also 

within the services industry that support these institutions, for example, law firms 

and consultancies. 


Salaries haven’t changed considerably over the last 12 months, particularly for CFO level 
roles. There is however still significant competition for talent at the first mover level and 

indeed even within middle management – those businesses paying a premium will secure 

the top talent. 87% of our finance clients surveyed have awarded salary increases in the last 

12 months, although the majority of these have been in the 3-5% range. 

Bonus payments were also in short supply in 2013 but there is some confidence that 

this may increase in 2014. With a number of candidates remaining in roles for longer 
than originally planned over the last 2 – 3 years and often on the same salary due to the 
economic climate, we anticipate movement in 2014 as these candidates seek that next 

step up both in level of role but also in level of salary. Indeed, over 25% of those finance 

employees surveyed believe they are being paid below market rate in their current role. 
65% of professionals believe that changing jobs is the best way to attain a pay rise. 

We believe that even with an expected improvement in market conditions, strong fiscal 

management and, in particular, cost control will remain in place. This makes it unlikely 
that we will see a spiralling of salaries upward in the way it has during past market upticks. 

Bonuses may again become attractive if profits increase, becoming a larger part of a 
company’s attempts to lure talent. While there has been a reduced expectation of receiving 

bonuses, this will change if the employment market does become more competitive. 

In order of importance to Finance professionals: 

28% 27% 21% 11% 8% 2% 2% 1% 

Salary Company Career Flexible Location L & D Bonus Corporate 
culture progression working responsibility 

Hours worked by Finance Professionals: 

Less than 40 Hours 
40 to 50 hours 
50 to 60 hours 

Over 60 hours 

Ambition – Australia Market Trends 1H 2014 – Finance 












Banking & Financial Services Salaries 

Job Title Experience Annual Salary Range (AU$) 
Operations Management 
Head of Operations 10+ years $160K-200K 
Manager 7 - 10 years $110K-150K 
Team Leader 4 - 6 years $80K-110K 
Analyst 2 - 4 years $50K-80K 
Performance Analytics 
Manager of Performance 10+ years $110K-150K 
Team Leader 7 - 10 years $90K-110K 
Senior Analyst 4 - 6 years $80K-95K 
Analyst 2 - 4 years $60K-80K 
Relationship Management 
Head of Sales 10+ years $200K+ 
Relationship Manager / BDM 7 - 10 years $140K-180K 
Assistant Relationship Manager 4 - 6 years $90K-130K 
Head of Research 10+ years $250K+ 
Manager 7 - 10 years $140K-200K 
Senior Analyst 4 - 6 years $100K-140K 
Analyst 2 - 4 years $80K-100K 
Corporate Finance 
Director/Head of Corporate Finance 10+ years $300K+ 
Associate Director 7 - 10 years $160K-200K 
Senior Analyst 4 - 6 years $110K-150K 
Analyst 2 - 4 years $80K-100K 
Associate Analyst 1 - 2 years $60K-80K 


Banking & Financial Services Salaries 

Job Title Experience Annual Salary Range (AU$) 
Corporate Actions 
Head of Corporate Actions 10+ years 130K-160K 
Manager 7 - 10 years 90K-120K 
Team Leader 4 - 6 years 80K-100K 
Analyst 2 - 4 years 60K-85K 
Portfolio Administration 
Head of Administration 10+ years $110K-130K 
Manager 7 - 10 years $90K-110K 
Team Leader 4 - 6 years $70K-90K 
Officer 2 - 4 years $50K-70K 
Treasury Operations 
Head of Operations 10+ years $150K-200K 
Manager - Derivatives 7 - 10 years $100K-130K 
Manager - Fixed Interest 7 - 10 years $100K-130K 
Manager - FX/MM 7 -10 years $100K-130K 
Team Leader - Derivatives 4 - 6 years $75K-95K 
Team Leader - Fixed Interest 4 - 6 years $75K-95K 
Team Leader - FX/MM 4 - 6 years $75K-95K 
Officer / Treasury 2 - 4 years $50K-75K 
Equity Operations 
Manager 10+ years $100K-135K 
Team Leader 7 - 10 years $70K-110K 
Settlements 2 - 5 years $55K-80K 
Sponsorship / Bookings 2 - 5 years $55K-80K 
Head of Compliance 10+ years $250K-300K+ 
Compliance Manager 7 - 10 years $130K-200K 
Senior Compliance Analyst 4 - 6 years $80K-120K 
Compliance Officer 2 - 4 years $60K-80K 
Risk, Audit & Compliance 
Chief Risk Officer 13+ years $350K-500K 
Credit Risk 
Head of Credit Risk 10+ years $250K-300K+ 
Manager 7 - 10 years $120K-180K 
Senior Analyst 4 - 6 years $80K-120K 
Analyst 2 - 4 years $50K-80K 
Operational Risk 
Head of Risk 10+ years $250K-300K+ 
Manager 7 - 10 years $130K-220K 
Senior Analyst 4 - 6 years $100K-140K 
Analyst 2 - 4 years $50K-80K 
Market Risk 
Head of Risk 10+ years $250K+ 
Manager 7 - 10 years $150K-200K 
Senior Analyst 4 - 6 years $100K-150K 
Analyst 2 - 4 years $70K-100K 
Head of Internal Audit 10+ years $220K-280K 
Audit Manager 7 - 10 years $130K-200K 
Senior Internal Auditor 4 - 6 years $90K-130K 
Internal Auditor 2 - 4 years $60K-90K 


Accounting & Finance Salaries 

Job Title Experience Annual Salary Range (AU$) 
CFO/Divisional Finance Director 15+ years $300K+ 

Head of Tax 10+ years $250K+ 
Tax Manager 7 - 10 years $150K-190K 
Senior Tax Accountant 4 - 6 years $90K-140K 
Tax Accountant 2 - 4 years $70K-90K 

Financial Reporting 
Senior Finance Manager 10+ years $170K-220K 
Finance Manager 7 - 10 years $120K-160K 
Senior Accountant 4 - 6 years $100K-120K 
Accountant 2 - 4 years $70K-100K 

Management Reporting 
Divisional Controller 10+ years $200K+ 
Planning & Analysis Manager 7 - 10 years $150K-200K 
Senior Financial Analyst 4 - 6 years $110K-140K 
Financial Analyst 2 - 4 years $80K-110K 

Product Control 
Head of Product Control 10+ years $180K-240K 
Manager Product Control 7 - 10 years $140K-170K 
Senior Product Control 4 - 6 years $110K-130K 
Product Control 2 - 4 years $80K-100K 

Fund Accounting 
Head of Fund Accounting 10+ years $170K+ 
Senior Fund Accounting Manager 8 - 10 years $130K-170K 
Fund Accounting Manager 6 - 8 years $110K-130K 
Senior Fund Accountant 4 - 6 years $85K-110K 
Fund Accountant 2 - 4 years $65K-85K 

Industry & Commerce Salaries 

Job Title Experience Annual Salary Range (AU$) 
CFO / Divisional Finance Director 15+ years $270K+ 

Head of Tax 10+ years $180K-250K 
Tax Manager 7 - 10 years $140K-180K 
Tax Accountant 4 - 7 years $90K-130K 

Head of Treasury 10+ years $180K-250K 
Treasury Manager 7 - 10 years $140K-180K 
Treasury Accountant 4 - 7 years $90K-130K 

Head of Internal Audit 10+ years $180K-250K 
Internal Audit Manager 7 - 10 years $150K-180K 
Senior Internal Auditor 4 - 7 years $110K-150K 
Internal Auditor 2 - 4 years $80K-110K 

Financial Reporting 
Group Financial Controller 10+ years $180K-250K 
Finance Manager 8 - 10 years $150K-180K 
Senior Financial Accountant 5 - 8 years $120K-140K 
Financial Accountant 3 - 5 years $80K-110K 

Commercial / Management Accounting 
Commercial Manager / Director 10+ years $180K-250K 
Senior Management Accountant / Manager 8 - 10 years $150K-180K 
Management Accountant 5 - 8 years $90K-140K 
Cost Accountant 4 - 7 years $70K-120K 

Strategy & Planning 
Head of M&A 10+ years $220K-260K 
Financial Planning & Analysis Manager 8 - 10 years $160K-210K 
Senior Financial Analyst 5 - 8 years $120K-150K 
Financial Analyst 2 - 5 years $80K-120K 

22 22 
Ambition – Australia Market Trends 1H 2014 – Technology 


Market Overview 
Supply & Demand 
Trends & Predictions 


Ambition – Australia Market Trends 1H 2014 – Technology 


If we revisit the state of the market when our last trends report was published, we were all 
waiting patiently for the Federal Election panacea to kick start the employment market. 
Unfortunately that anticipation was at best misguided and more likely, simply well-wishing 

optimism, that we needed something to bolster consumer and business confidence and 

drive demand for hiring initiatives. 

Quarter three and four of 2013 have not however been lost causes and the ICT sector 

in Australia has continued its bumpy but progressive climb back to positive growth 
territory. Estimates of job growth over the past twelve months range between 3% and 
4% with almost all states experiencing positive demand growth. Driven by a moderate 

uptick in business confidence there are a number of upgrade initiatives taking place across 

Corporate Australia in various sectors and this is driving demand for more ICT resources. 

The lynch pin in the success story of the ICT sector is the recognition that once a luxury, 
ICT is now a necessity to compete or even participate within global and local economies. 
Industry analysts such as Gartner and IDG predict spending on ICT in Australia to have 
increased in 2013 over 2012 by somewhere around 3% to 3.25% clearly showing once 
again that the sector is indeed a positive news story. 

New South Wales 

According to New South Wales Government research, the state lays claim to roughly 

“37 per cent of Australia’s ICT employment and 51 per cent of Australia’s exports of 

telecommunication, computer and information services”. 

As the year has progressed, hiring activity has increased both for replacement hires and 
new team growth based hiring. Financial Services and Banking have once again been the 
major state based instigators of this re-growth though in a much more tempered manner 
than perhaps of previous years. 

Wages and salaries have remained static with only marginal growth experienced in harder 

to fill skill-sets or where critical resources were required. 


The Victorian ICT market, centred on Melbourne, nips closely at the heels of NSW, owning 
roughly 31% of all national ICT jobs available. 

More naturally associated with research and development, Melbourne has a strong link to 
start-up ventures and younger ICT corporate ventures. This is supported by six research-
based universities that operate in and around Melbourne and who are contributing to the 
development of new technologies. 


Hiring activity in the second half of 2013 has mirrored national trends with a 
moderate improvement in business sentiment driving a corresponding pick-up in 
hiring activity, once again tempered with marginal salary and rate increases. 


In the past twelve to eighteen months the market has been somewhat depressed 

for ICT workers in Queensland, though it now appears that better days are 

around the corner. 

New and significant projects in the Mining sector offer promise, as does the 
Queensland Government’s plans to release some of their $815 million dollar 

investment to critical projects next year. Health, Transport and Emergency 

Services are tipped to be the beneficiaries of this focused spend and ICT workers 

are well advised to pay close attention to job opportunities in these areas. 

From a remuneration perspective the jobs market may have been slow but our 

survey findings point to 79% of ICT employees receiving between 1% and 5% 

salary increase during 2013. 



The application market as a whole is in a positive state, with a noticeable uptick in 
the second half. The increase of mobile applications and responsive design across 
multiple platforms has seen development needs increase especially in start-up 

companies. And there is no shortage of optimism that this position won’t continue 
into 2014, as a battle to stay ahead of the competition intensifies focus towards 
increase revenue programs or operational efficiency initiatives. 

With an increase in hiring we have seen the return of salary increases which has 
caught a few employers off guard, losing potential employees to competitors by 
offering sub-market remuneration. Job seekers in the top 10% to 15% are holding 
multiple offers and moving between roles with surprising ease and speed. Also 
of interest is an increase in the average duration of contract assignments with 
employers more willing to commit to longer assignment periods than in the 
recent past. 


Ambition – Australia Market Trends 1H 2014 – Technology 

To compound the changes in demand for resources at present, there is a distinct lack of 

talent across the digital space, mobile UX/UI and front end development. While there are 

candidates available, the quality and depth on offer means employers have to consider 
hiring from overseas to meet their demand requirements. With the tougher new 457 rules 
it is yet to be seen what impact this will have if any, on this market for job seekers. 

In the more established Microsoft and Java development spaces we have seen a 
reasonable level of Job seeker availability, but that the quality varies drastically. With the 
use of targeted technical tests we have implemented this year, we have been able to cut 
through the process of assessing good from not-so-good skills and get to the top 25% 
who really understand their development space. 

Business Engagement 

The hot spot of the Business Engagement space this year remains within the Change and 
Transformation disciplines. Reshaping business models and redesigning product or service 
offerings all bring with the promise of bigger, better, faster, more risk, risk, risk. From what 
we have learnt in recent years the requirement to pro-actively manage change as an 
intrinsic lever for success or failure has never been more important. 

Roles in demand are now more diverse than simply a Change Manager and range from 
Process Improvement Analysts to Business Re-design, Organisational Change and 
Communications specialists. 

Similar to the evolution in role titles we expect to come out of the term ‘Big Data’ over 

time, Change and Transformation is now an established and sought after career path and 
of course vehicle for businesses driving success. 

Project approvals are consistent and there is a steady, if not exciting pipeline of activities 
taking place that demand resources in the project management and business analysis 
space. Rates and salaries have held pace with other sectors of the ICT marketplace and 
offer a continued employment stream for those skilled in these areas. 

The other area of significant focus is the Big Data space, which still requires further 

shaping in terms of employment nomenclature, yet offers an exciting and diverse range 
of opportunities. Roles in this area are forming a split between analytics and business 
intelligence and the newer true style Big Data which embodies the manipulation of large, 

complex unstructured data-sets. As a result of the relative ‘newness’ of this area, the 

majority of roles particularly in the Big Data space, are contract positions as organisations 
come to terms with understanding what they can achieve from the function. We expect 

competition in 2014 for resources and rates to increase significantly. 



Restrictive and frustrated are two words that often describe the sentiments of job 
seekers and hiring managers alike in the Infrastructure space in the second half of 
this year. There is certainly positive sentiment and a strong intent to hire though 
the reality is somewhat mismatched to those levels of intent. The infrastructure 
space has seen a predominant hunger for permanent employees this year with 
the exception over the past few months for increased contract cover to deal with 
employee leave or redundancies. 

There’s been very little movement and even less uplift in salaries and contract 

rates over the last twelve months in the Infrastructure space. One consistent 
though non-too-novel theme in both permanent and contract recruitment is that 
hiring managers continue to ask for more out of their employees for the same 
remuneration or less. 

Specific trends in the Infrastructure space have unsurprisingly seen numerous 

upgrades taking place this year including System Centre (2012), Active 
Directory, Windows 8 and Messaging (Lync to Lync). Mid-level job seekers with 

4 to 7 years’ experience are currently the most sought after bracket with those 

at the two extremes of experience struggling the most to gain traction in the 
employment market. 

As part of the ongoing culture of creating T-shaped employees (now a slightly 
dated yet still relevant reference), roles and teams are being amalgamated to 
create multi-specialised individuals. 

Infrastructure teams are currently employing contractors as their preferred 

employment structure, opposed to using consultancies. It’s not only a cheaper 

option but also allows the Organisation or team to retain a larger proportion of 
the Intellectual Property. 2014 looks exciting for the Infrastructure space with 

significant challenges likely to be presented to the IT team of most businesses. 

Read any analyst forecast report on trends for 2014 and there is a wealth of ‘things 

to do’ to thrive in the digital economy. The question of course is one of balance, 

can you afford the investment…or if you look at it another way, can you afford not 
to invest? 


Ambition – Australia Market Trends 1H 2014 – Technology 


The crystal ball gazing of forecasts and trends is perhaps never more challenging than 
when applied to the ICT Industry. A year of development in the ICT sector in 2013 is 

arguably worth a decade in the 80’s or even the 90’s. We are travelling at such a pace that 
it’s forcing us to question not only the application of our products and services but the very 

frameworks and business models with which we have become familiar and comfortable 
with over many years and often our whole lives. 

Beta products are now so much more than test beds for a future polished product. They are 
or can be your critical market advantage. At a recent trendy un-conference, a participant 

announced, if it’s not Beta I don’t want it, finished products are already old by the time they 

get to me and they are no good for staying ahead of the market. 

Moving with this theme of speed and development I believe we will continue to experience 
growing demand for ICT resources in the following area; Digital and Mobile Apps 
Development, Change and Transformation, Big Data and Security Storage. 

Digital and Mobile Applications Development 

Having a product or a service that appeals to consumers now and in the future, will 

require those consumer to have experiences, tailored to their specific and unique needs. 

A transaction or interaction between two parties, will need to win the hearts and minds of 
the consumer to achieve a sale or engagement not least to build any brand loyalty. 
And to do this there must be the capacity to engage in a multi-channel, tailored experience 

way. Digital development and mobile application development will allow this and it’s 

continued growth will create opportunities for developers, designers and marketers alike. 

Change and Transformation 

In a world full of change the only thing you can be assured of is more change! That’s 
certainly the picture that’s been painted in the Australian economy over the past few years 

but every cloud has a silver lining and for those employed in the Change Management area 
there has been and likely will continue to be a strong demand for professionals who can 
steer the masses through large or small, simple or complex 
change and transformation programs. And the message of course is that out of change 
come opportunities. 

Big Data 

The world of Big Data is something of an enigma for many. Developed conceptually at 

least for many, simply as marketing rhetoric, it is now starting to show real world benefits. 

The challenge is to create valuable insights from small pieces of data, often hidden with 

large fields of unstructured data. Markets will be made by those who have at the front of 

mind data acquisition and exploitation. Indeed the area itself is starting to split intelligently 


between true big data, analytics and business intelligence. Considered a cross over 

discipline between pure technology, business and finance the opportunities are 
significant and growing for those of the right persuasion and skill-set. 

Security and Storage 

The obvious challenges that stems from the simply massive volumes of data that are 
being created, shared and saved are how do we store it all and how do we keep it 
safe? There will continue to be those who try to exploit unsafe digital data and with 

significant risk potential. Considering this, the role of the data security police will 
grow significantly as corporates and individuals alike strive to stay one step ahead of 

the criminals and would-be-wrongdoers. Multi-platform devices and the new ways 
we are consuming information and engaging in the digital world, ensure security 

must actively take the fight to the attackers. 

In order of importance to IT professionals: 

35% 21% 16.5% 8% 6% 6% 6% 1.5% 
Salary Company Flexible Career L & D Bonus Location Corporate 
culture working progression responsibility 

Hours worked by Technology Professionals: 

Less than 40 Hours 

40 to 50 hours 
50 to 60 hours 
Over 60 hours 


30 30 
Ambition – Australia Market Trends 1H 2014 – Human Resources 


Market Overview 
Supply & Demand 
Trends & Predictions 


Ambition – Australia Market Trends 1H 2014 – Human Resources 


This year the Human Resources sector has reaffirmed that it is very responsive to the state of 
business confidence. As confidence stalled through mid-2012 and up to the election in 2013, 
the sector suffered. In the first half of the year, jobs fell by 10.2%, a decline nearly as severe as 

experienced at the start of the GFC. (Fairfax Employment Forecast, November 2013) 

The main decline in jobs has been amongst training and learning professionals as 
organisations have cut back on their L & D budgets. Positions for HR generalists at the 
manager and senior manager level have also decreased but not nearly as much. However, 
the appetite for hiring high potential HR assistants and advisors was far greater as 
businesses sought out the next generation of talented professionals. 

Overall, last quarter saw a dramatic slowdown in the decline, indicating that the bottom 
has been reached and that 2014 will see a much brighter and more buoyant HR sector. 

An area of HR strategy that hasn’t changed is that companies are still looking at different 

areas of their business in which they need to invest: namely restructuring, change 
management, employee value proposition and attracting talent. 

Also, sentiment between junior and senior level candidates is mixed with the senior end 
suffering long-drawn out recruitment processes whilst the junior end experiences quick 
turn-around with competitive forces at play. 

Employers feel as though they are in control when it comes to attracting quality 
candidates with many quite comfortable with a direct go-to-market proposition. When 
roles become more complex however, or the sourcing strategy requires alternative 
options, recruitment agencies maintain their value for money. 

HR remuneration in the last half of the year continued to be flat with 51% of HR 
employees indicating they didn’t receive a salary increase and 80% indicating they didn’t 

receive a bonus. 70% of HR employees indicated they expect a bonus in 2014 and believe 

the biggest influence of bonus is company performance. Surprisingly 1 in 2 HR employees 

believe their remuneration is in line with the market. 

The most important factor for HR professionals is company culture with the majority 
(28%) indicating this as their number one priority. This was followed by salary at 22% and 

then flexible working at 19%. This varies across other disciplines with the majority (31%) of 

employees indicating salary as their priority. 

With flexibility being in the top three priorities, it is no surprise to see that 80% of HR 
respondents indicated their company offers flexible working hours and the same 80% 
indicated they work from home outside of contracted hours. These figures are slightly 
above the national average across all three disciplines (including finance and technology). 



The HR market remains very competitive for job seekers and this causes frustration 
that is hard to avoid except for those with niche, specialist skill-sets. Employees 
also indicated that they are frustrated with the lack of career progression, with 
39% of HR employees indicating they will not be able to progress to the next level 
in their current company, and 28% indicating they would resign due to lack of 
career progression. In contrast, only 10% of employers believe that HR employees 
will not be able to progress. 

Last quarter saw a greater demand for contract and interim candidates. This 

is due to the difficulty around signing off permanent positions and the lack of 

new headcount, especially with international businesses where local approval 
was required prior to commencement of the recruitment search. Also, contract 

candidates have been well utilised for specific HR projects whether around 

recruitment, talent, training or change management. 

Talented mid-level HR candidates are being snapped up due to gaps created by 
upward mobility (organisations promoting internally). This is a positive sign but 
it is offset by the general over-availability of senior level resources at present. As 
HR becomes more commercially articulate in what it can deliver to the business, 
candidates with clearly demonstrated business acumen are proving to be great 
assets. Exposure to M&A changes is a great example and will rank a candidate 
higher than a peer without such experience or exposure. 

Highly technical HR professionals and those with strong employee relations (ER) 
experience are in demand, especially for businesses with a blue collar workforce 
(property and construction). These individuals are generally considered to add 

an element of strategic thinking that businesses can benefit from, particularly in 

matters concerning employee law and health and safety legislation. 


A sign of more positive things to come is evident from growth in some sub-sectors. 
With more political certainty following the election, employers are putting new 
plans in place for their workforces, which includes cultural transformation and new 
operating models. As a result, in 2014 there will be more of a demand for human 
resources professionals with change management and restructuring experience. 

A majority (75%) of the HR employees surveyed think training and development in 
both leadership and management is lacking within their company. This is despite 53% 
believing their company invests enough in training and development as a whole. 
Meanwhile, 30% of HR employers surveyed believe their staff requires leadership 
training more than any other form of training and development. 


Ambition – Australia Market Trends 1H 2014 – Human Resources 

In 2014, the interim and contracting market will continue to grow as hiring managers 

realise the benefits of utilising a strong pool of immediately available human resources 

professionals. There will be an increase in permanently employed candidates moving for 

fixed or maximum term contracts as they see the benefit of taking on a significant HR 

project that will add depth to their experience. 

Next year, employers will start diversifying their talent mix, by thinking outside of the box 
and not sticking to the generally accepted hiring “status quo”. Simply put, the fact that a 

candidate does not fit a certain stereotype of existing staff profiles should not limit their 

potential to add valuable skills or experience to the team. 

HR leaders are still looking at opportunities in Hong Kong and Singapore as Asian HR hubs 
continue to grow successfully. These regions are particularly attractive to the senior level 
candidates who are more likely to pick up global or heads of region based positions. 

Approximately two in three HR employees (61%) and employers (72%) surveyed said they 

would move location to further their career. These figures are slightly above the national 
average across all three disciplines (including finance and technology). 

We can be optimistic regarding the outlook for human resources recruitment in 2014. 

With the economy picking up and business confidence improving, the jobs outlook is 

positive with growth forecast to increase to 1.1% by May 2014. This is reasonable growth 
but still below Pre GFC levels. (Fairfax Employment Forecast, November 2013) 

Finally, the majority of HR respondents believe the global economic conditions are impacting 
on business, though more than half (53%) of HR participants anticipate growth in 2014. 

Human Resources Salaries 

Job Title Experience Annual Salary Range (AU$) 
Head of HR 10+ years $200K-400K 
HR Manager 6 - 10 years $120K-150K 
HR Advisor 3 - 6 years $65K - 95K 
HR Officer 2 - 4 years $55K - 75K 
HR Coordinator 2 - 4 years $45K - 65K 
Head of Learning & Development 10+ years $150K - 250K 
Learning & Development Manager 6 - 10 years $120K - 180K 
Learning & Development Coordinator 2 - 4 years $55K - 70K 
Remuneration & Benefits Manager 6 - 10 years $110K - 170K 
Remuneration & Benefits Specialist 4 - 6 years $85K - 130K 
Recruitment Manager 6 - 10 years $110K - 160K 
Recruitment Specialist 3 - 6 years $65K - 95K 
Recruitment Coordinator 2 - 4 years $50K - 65K 
Head of OH&S 10+ years $150K - 250K 
OH&S Manager 6- 10 years $95K - 160K 
OH&S Consultant 4 - 6 years $75K - 120K 
OH&S Coordinator 2- 4 years $50K - 75K 


In order of importance to HR professionals: 

28% 22% 20% 14% 8% 6% 2% 0% 

Company Salary Flexible Career Location Bonus Corporate L & D 
culture working progression responsibility 

Hours worked by HR Professionals: 

Less than 40 Hours 
40 to 50 hours 
50 to 60 hours 

Over 60 hours 


Ambition – Australia Market Trends 1H 2014 


Ambition are a leading global boutique recruitment business operating in a select number 
of specialist areas across Sydney, Parramatta, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Singapore, Hong 

Kong, Malaysia, Tokyo and London. We access hard to find, high calibre professionals 

within Finance, Technology and Human Resources. 

We believe our size is a significant differentiator in the recruitment industry. We are big 

enough to undertake large scale projects for our clients yet retain the soul and personality 
of a smaller company. 

We are best known for our specialisation with in-depth knowledge and expertise, well 
established networks and deep relationships. 

We are committed to building better futures for our community of clients, candidates 
and employees. 

News and Research 

Ambition provide expert advice and knowledge across banking & financial services, 
finance & accounting, technology and human resources in relation to recruitment, market 

trends, salary and general business news. 

As specialists we undertake research projects to better understand our community 
of candidates and clients. This involves various qualitative and quantitative research 
activities throughout the year. This data plus our knowledge enables us to better 
understand and comment on trends within the market giving our community expert 
advice and opinions to make better decisions. 

Please visit our website and Ambition blog for the latest news and information. 


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Ambition host a series of client and candidate events globally each year. These range 
from Women with Ambition, Sporting Ambition and Market Knowledge breakfasts to 
intimate dinners with CFOs and CIOs from multi-national businesses. All of our events aim 
to educate, be thought provoking and entertaining as well as provide a great platform for 

We would love to have you at our next event, please visit our website for a list of 
upcoming events. 

We are passionate about building better futures for our community and have 

subsequently partnered with the Beacon Foundation, a non-profit organisation working 

in around 130 secondary schools across Australia. Beacon Foundation help inspire and 
motivate students to enable the successful transition to employment, further education 
or training. Visit their website: 

global Reach 


Andy Cross 

Managing Director, Technology & Human Resources 

D: 02 9248 6201 
Angela Goodall 

Director, Perth 

D: 08 6210 8200 
David Bamford 

Director, Melbourne 

D: 03 8629 1043 
Ian Palmer 

Head of Client Engagement 

D: 02 9249 5058 
Guy Day 

Chief Executive 

Matt Long 

Divisional Manager, Human Resources 

P: 02 9249 5007 
Paul Darby 

Managing Director, Finance, Sydney 

D: 02 8296 5311 
Rory Herity 

Director, Brisbane 

D: 07 3020 0315 
Ambition – Australia Market Trends 1H 2014 

Can we assist? 

We would be happy to discuss any further recruitment needs. Please contact us 
via the details above. 

Market Insights 

We invite you to visit our Ambition blog page for further information on market 
trends, business news and career advice. 


Ambition are pleased to be able to offer the use of IKM’s testing services to assist 
job seekers and employers. These online technical tests will ascertain a user’s skill 

level and then provide objective comparison against the results of a global testing 
pool. IKM provides knowledge measurement solutions and services including 

assessments, certifications, software applications and consulting services. 

The benefits of technical testing include; 

Reduce hiring time and costs 
Improve training ROI 
Maximise productivity of your project teams 
Improve skill-gap analysis workforce planning 
Optimise career development 
Reduce staff attrition 
Improve corporate standards 
get Social 

Ambition are committed to driving innovation and have a strong social media 
presence allowing us to interact and engage through videos, whitepapers, 
surveys, webinars, trends and blogs via LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and 
Google +. 


About AccountAbility 

AccountAbility are Ambition’s sister company who 

specialise in recruiting within the accounting support 
and business support sectors. They have established a 
network of thoroughly screened, skilled and experienced 

candidates that are immediately available to satisfy their 

client’s requirements. Quality aligned with speed of service 

is at the core of what AccountAbility can offer. 

What they do 

AccountAbility recruits in permanent, temporary and contract staff in Sydney, 
Parramatta, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth in the following functions: 

Accounting Business 
Support Support 

• Accounts Payable* 
• Accounts Receivable* 
• Credit* 
• Cash Collection* 
• Payroll* 
• Assistant Accountant 
• Bookkeeping 
• Accounts Clerk 
*Up to and including 
management level 
• Executive Assistant 
• Personal Assistant 
• Receptionist 
• Office Manager 
• Customer Service 
• Data Entry 
• Administration Assistant 
For more information on AccountAbility please visit their website 

To download the AccountAbility Market Trends report please visit 






Henry Ford 



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T: +61 2 9248 6200 
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