Average Salary For An IT Contractor: $129,071

With an average annual salary for Australian IT contractors of $129,071 and an average hourly rate of $83.46, working in technology sure beats flipping burgers. However, as with most average figures, the devil is in the detail: some career paths and locations pay much better, and there's an apparent shift towards longer-term contracts.

Picture by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

That figure comes from an analysis of 1,112 placements made by members of the Information Technology Contract & Recruitment Association (ITCRA) between March and August this year. That's not an especially large number, and with good reason: the number of available roles overall dropped by 15.5 per cent over that time period.

"While contract lengths grew, the number of available contracts fell, which suggests the ICT industry is cautiously committing to longer-term projects," ITCRA CEO Julie Mills said in a statement.

Rates that are paid continue to vary significantly depending on industry sector, job location and technical specialisation. If you're looking to maximise your earning potential, a job as an analyst programmer in the financial services sector would be a good choice. Finance is the biggest paying sector overall (with an average annual salary of $160,706), while analyst programmer rates went up by 20 per cent (just ahead of architect pay rates which grew by 19 per cent).

Your level of skill and employment role will also have a heavy impact on your hourly rate. Technical specialists were paid as little as $22 an hour, while consultants could easily charge $155 an hour.

Some contract roles are also particularly poorly paid in individual states. This table highlights some of the differences:

NSW Technical support (55% above national average) Security consultants (49% below national average)
Victoria Systems analysts (132% above national average) Technical support (38% below national average)
Queensland Systems analysts (156% above national average) Communications specialists (39% below national average)
WA Analysts (34% above national average) Project coordinators (34% below national average)
SA Project managers (6% above national average) Account managers (71% below national average)

Contracting isn't for everyone, and inevitably brings a degree of uncertainty. That said, identifying fast-growing areas and honing your skills remains a good strategy whether you want a contract role or a permanent position.

Evolve is a weekly column at Lifehacker looking at trends and technologies IT workers need to know about to stay employed and improve their careers.


    I love that the territory's and Tasmania aren't in any of lifehackers office maps

      There may not have been enough information on those areas?

      Not Lifehackers fault no data is in from NSW and NT - there was none submitted by the Members - I'll ensure this is addressed next time - pleased to see the article promotes discussion! It's realtime data so is not advertising or promotion - is recorded as jobs are filled.

    I would like to say that these kind of articles really mean nothing. They really aren't looking at the complete picture. Just looking at the higher levels only and never all. Actually, most of it is a lie and false advertising.

    Damn. I'm technical support trainee in Victoria - 20k a year.

    I guess someone's having baked beans for dinner, eh Barry?

      This only looks at higher levels where the worker has been working for ten years plus (I guess). Which really doesn't give a true average. I've never accepted a job based on money and I've never had to resort to tin food for dinner. FYI - I've been in the IT game for over 15 years and I do alright but there are a lot of others through out Australia that aren't getting where near this level of pay and I've never have either but this is by choice for me.

    @Barry...higher levels?

    I can tell you this is quite accurate. I've been in IT for 8 years now.

      +1 No unheard of to pay a "specialised" contractor $1000 a day.

    Clearly no one at HP was in this. They pay peanuts (if you are lucky enough to keep your job).

    I'm starting an info systems degree next year which covers all of these areas. I should probably look carefully at which kind of career path to take after looking at this. Shame there's no Tassie data though!

      It is worth noting that ITCRA members are all agencies. I work as an IT contractor (SAP) after studying something unrelated - Journalism - at university. I try to avoid agencies, as do many people I work with. As such we get paid a bit more than the rates agencies pay. Also, I did a contract a few years ago in Tassie. The project was run out of Canberra, so rates were on a par with Sydney/Melbourne.

    I'm in IT and my salary is 35200 a year.

    struggling to make ends meet, yet a hungry jacks worker earns much more than i do for flipping burgers.

    When committing to a contract I have a rate card which plots out, billable days and length of contract. It means that if I have a two week contract they pay me at a premium. Get me in on a 6 month or longer contract and my rate will drop 20%, pay me on 15 day terms and the discount will be 30%

    I think you should clarify that the term Architect here is IT related, as it could be misconstrued - an average salary for an experienced professionally accredited 'Architect' is between 60k-100k depending on experience and the employer, which is around half of what the IT person would earn.

      I am guessing based on your ability to interpret written articles that you are really well paid....
      Why on earth would Angus be talking about a building architect? WTF

    A guy my company employs gets 2k a day, because he wrote some software they became reliant on and he's a one man band.

      Then I would assume your company gets a lot of value from his software - otherwise change.
      I was contracted to BT for a while, they employed a lot indians and paid them bugger all and received about the same.

    You have to be careful with contracting because they'll try and scam as much out of you as possible and pay you nothing for it. I've been in the IT prof for over 10 years and I still struggle to get 60k+.. you need to read the contract and find out what they are asking because if you have the knowledge of what it takes to get a task done your're well within your right to ask for a higher pay too. If you don't get the contract and they give it to someone else that doesn't quite have the knowledge its their business choice and they can suffer greatly for it. But its their choice to do that. Don't sell yourself short is all I'm saying. You have the option to ask for what pay you want when your contracting.. don't go stupid and ask for $100 an hour if you know you perform at that rate lol.

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