Technology Jobs pay more in BC

Students and career advisers might want to heed the message in HR Tech Group’s new salary survey: Get yourself into technology. According to BC-based HR Tech Group’s annual survey, average salary increases in the BC technology sector are currently the highest in North America.

Companies surveyed showed an average technology wage increase in 2008 of 4.5 percent, which led the Canadian average by almost a full percentage point. It is also higher than the US technology sector’s average salary increase of 3.7 percent.

The statistics come from the HR Tech Group’s annual survey of wage increases awarded to workers by its member companies – 82 technology companies in BC. The jobs involved range from traditional technology jobs, such as software engineering, to new forms of technology jobs such as animation in new media and games development.

“Overall, the trend has been quite clear for some time in the BC technology sector — salaries are going up,” said Allison Rutherford, Executive Director of the HR Tech Group. “The message is there to parents guiding their children, and anyone else looking for a career: BC’s tech sector is a good career choice with above average salaries, bonuses, rewarding work and a career path.” The salary survey reflects a talent availability survey conducted earlier this year by the BC Technology Industry Association, which showed there was a growing shortage of talent required to fill technology jobs being created as companies expanded. That survey indicated that if expansion plans come to fruition, some 10,000 more jobs would be available this year.

Another interesting trend is the increasing use of short-term bonuses as part of wage packages. Some 89 percent of firms surveyed use a bonus system where even entry level technology jobs today often feature annual, and sometimes more frequent, bonuses as well as base salaries.

For example, salaries for intermediate level manufacturing engineers increased 8.3 percent from 2007 to 2008 to an average of $72,000. Similarly, a starting video game animator with an undergrad degree or diploma in fine-arts or animation can expect to start at $51,400. Intermediate to senior animators can expect to earn between $60,200 and $75,200. More traditionally, entry level software engineers in 2008 averaged $50,800 plus $2800 bonus, while senior lead engineers averaged $86,700 plus $8800 bonus.