Gender debate continues as NZ ICT bonus pay blows up in female faces

Bonuses and benefits to attract and keep IT staff remain stable in New Zealand but the gender gap has blown out with men’s payments 50 per cent higher than their female colleagues.

Following a survey of 5,316 professionals by ICT recruitment specialists Candle reveals over the past year, 27 per cent of practitioners received an average bonus of $12,014, just three per cent up on the previous year (2012 – 2013).

The award of benefits however jumped with nearly 70 per cent of practitioners receiving one or more benefits such as overtime or healthcare subsidies, up from 58 per cent the previous year while only 42 per cent of Australian ICT professionals received some kind of benefit.

The data drawn from the Candle NZ MySalaryPortal revealed the average bonus received by males in the profession was $13,176 compared to a $8,624 for women – a $4,552 gap.

Similar research in Australia shows the gap was just under half that at $2,845.

Candle New Zealand Country Manager Troy Hammond says the discrepancy between the genders reflects the sheer numbers of men in IT which has been a traditional career path, although this is changing.

“The bulk of the IT workforce in New Zealand is male and that’s reflected in the bonus payments but looking at the market now, we’re seeing a lot more women going into IT, particularly in sales roles, and having a lot of success,” he says.

Housing affordability and accessibility – in business hubs such as Auckland and increasingly Christchurch – are pushing up salary demands and lifestyle related benefits, Hammond adds.

“In the bigger established players, people are tending to go for security with higher salaries than an ‘at risk component’,” he adds.

“Bonuses are still popular however in IT sales and in consulting where there’s a sales element to the role.

“At the other end of the scale, in the start up community, we’re seeing share options being offered rather than bonuses.”

One of the biggest bonuses, of $225,000, was paid to a Wellington Sales Account Manager working at a medium sized IT and Internet company and with no direct reports – according to Hammond he has a Postgraduate degree and between 11 and 15 years experience.

In terms of benefit trends, Hammond says company paid training was the big mover reflecting, and together with a sharp increase in overtime payments reflected ongoing innovation in the market but not enough people to handle the new opportunities being generated.

“Lifestyle is the biggest one that we see these days where people would rather a day from home or get flexi time rather than a bonus,” he adds.

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