Canva, Amazon, Google, Atlassian paying graduates salaries up to $350,000

It’s never been a better time to be a job hunter with record levels of available roles. And there’s one industry that’s offering eye-watering salaries.

Aussie graduates are scoring starting salaries of up to $350,000 as a skills shortage plagues this lucrative sector.

Tech companies – including the likes of Amazon, Google, Atlassian and Canva – are paying between $147,000 and $350,000 for graduates, with some salaries including stock options and end-of-year bonuses, according to data obtained by The Australian.

Some of the eye-watering salaries – which would normally only be paid to chief executives – are seen at trading firms seeking software engineers, with Jane Street paying $350,000, IMC shelling out $260,000 and Amsterdam-based trading platform Optiver offering $250,000.

Yet, the median salary of an Australian worker sits at just $62,400, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Interns at Optiver, which has 400 staff in Australia, also score an annual equivalent salary of $75,000 for their 12-week program.

Full-time roles at Optiver include a gym membership, the ability to get breakfast, lunch and coffee from the in-house barista, a work from home allowance, an annual trip and the use of in-house chair massages.

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Design company Canva is offering a $173,000 pay packet for software engineers and revealed it had received more than 260,000 applications for roles over the past year, while Aussie tech giant Atlassian is paying $200,000 to graduates.

Big hitters like Google are seeking software engineers for $200,000 and Microsoft wants product managers, paying them $187,000.

Amazon’s starting salary is $153,000 for software engineers.

John Rogan, Optiver’s head of recruitment, said the company’s “attractive” salaries allowed them to encourage Australian science, technology, engineering and maths professionals to stay in the country, rather than heading overseas for work.

“We’re not just competing with tech and finance companies within the country, we’re also competing for the same talent internationally, as overseas firms are offering similar remuneration packages with additional benefits such as lower tax margins,” he told the newspaper.

The Tech Council of Australia has predicted the sector could reach 1.2 million jobs in Australia by 2030.

But it’s not the only industry crying out for staff, with the Australian hospitality industry warning of a “recruitment crisis” last year and staff commanding up to $50 an hour.

Job vacancies jumped 8 per cent in April – the biggest monthly increase in six months – to a record high of 311,110 total job advertisements, found the National Skills Commission’s preliminary internet Vacancy Index.

That was an increase of 33 per cent or 77,500 ads compared to a year ago and was 85 per cent higher than pre-Covid levels.

Salaries are soaring in some pockets, with pay packets growing between 20 and 50 per cent in technology and by 15 to 20 per cent in financial services as a war for talent breaks out, according to HR executive Kris Grant, CEO of management consultancy ASPL Group.

The financial services sector started a big employment drive last year adding upward pressure on salaries, according to Ms Grant.

“The big four banks, for example, went on a recruitment drive last year and hired across the board to increase their capacity in the middle of the pandemic, pre-empting the Great Resignation,” she said.

“That has put pressure on other employers in financial services to also raise salaries.”

The story is similar in the technology sector where salaries have jumped by up to 50 per cent, she said.

“However, the opening of Australia’s borders to migration will ease some of that pressure in the second half of this year, though salaries in the IT sector will keep climbing, but perhaps by not as much,” she said.

“More generally, as inflation rises more quickly than wage costs, we can expect employees across industries to lift wage demands on employers given the significant and growing skills shortage. And employers who don’t meet employee demands, at least in part, could lose their most valuable resource – their people.

“Employees who aren’t happy will quickly move to other employers that value them more. That will put pressure on wages costs, which we can expect to see to climb towards 5 per cent by the year’s end.”


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