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Talent Shortage Forces Telstra, Optus To Pay Workers More

Optus and Telstra’s full-year financials show that both telcos are cutting employee numbers, yet being forced to pay more in employee costs.

This is due to the massive skilled worker-shortage in Australia, which is driving up demand — and therefore wages — in the tech sector.

The shortage has been caused by a perfect storm of closed borders, numerous companies investing in digital transformation, and record low unemployment figures.

“There’s going to be upward pressure, I think, on salaries and remuneration,” Telstra CEO Andy Penn said.

Andy Penn, Telstra.

Telstra’s financials showed salaries and ‘associated costs’ rose by $108 million during the FY20 financial year, yet full-time equivalent workers fell by 6.7 per cent.

Likewise, Optus cut its workforce by 4.3 per cent in the year to September 30, but employee wages rose by 10 per cent.

“We are a tech company,” Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin told AFR, “and you would be well aware that over the last two years, there are shortages of great tech talent.

“With the lack of immigration and movement of people, you have to pay a lot more for tech talent, data analysts, behavioural economics analysts et cetera.”


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