DevConnect 2020 Australian
Developer Survey

Key COVID-19 Stats

1 %
1 %
DEVELOPERS had hours/pay cut
1 %
DEVELOPERS are happy to work remote full time post COVID-19

We recently had the opportunity to survey a few thousand developers and got just under 500 responses from developers across the east coast of Australia to gather a snapshot of the state of the Australian market for local tech talent in each major city: Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

Our main goal with this survey was to get a feel of how much of an impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on this subsect of the overall market, and our findings show that the pandemic has, indeed, greatly impacted almost a quarter of the developers surveyed. 24% of the developers from our sample have either had their hours or pay cut or been made redundant as a direct result of the crisis.

Continue reading to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on Australian developers, get the most recent numbers on the average developer salaries in these 3 major cities, and gain insights on post-COVID-19 work life. 


Employment Status?

What is your current job status?

To contextualize the results of this survey on the impact of COVID-19 on the local web developer market in Australia’s major cities, we included a breakdown of the employment status of our sample of participants.
This graph illustrates the current job status of the respondents divided into four categories:
  • unemployed/student/other,
  • part-time,
  • full-time, and
  • freelancer/business owner.
The majority of our sample, 71%, is employed full-time. In Sydney and Melbourne, the portions of full-timers are very close (72% and 71%), while in Brisbane they amount to 64%.
The second most thicked category is freelancers and entrepreneurs, comprising 18% of the entire sample of this survey. With 24%, Brisbane seems to have the highest concentration of freelancers, followed by Melbourne—17%, and Sydney with 16%.
Part-timers and students/unemployed/other constitute a small part of the total sample, only 5% and 6%, respectively, while the percentages don’t vary significantly across the three individual cities.



Has your work as a developer been affected by COVID-19?

Are you currently working longer hours during COVID-19?

Though COVID-19 has deeply affected the global economy and the labour market, it seems that the Australian web development field has managed to remain mostly on its feet, as 74% of the respondents reported that COVID-19 hasn’t affected their work as a developer. 
This portion remains more or less similar in the three cities (75% in Sydney, 77% in Melbourne, and 78% in Brisbane). 


However, not all of the professionals surveyed were equally lucky, as 16% of the participants had their hours or pay decreased. Some 8% of the participants reported that their wages or hours decreased by less than 20%, while the other 8% experienced cuts in wages/hours of over 20%.
There’s a relatively small portion of this subsect of the market that was greatly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, as 7% of respondents were made redundant at their workplace. Developers from Sydney were hit the hardest (11%), whilst developers in Melbourne and Brisbane fared better, with only 5% and 2% of respondents, respectively, reporting they were made redundant. 


Post COVID-19 work life?


Due to self-isolation measures during the pandemic, many developers were forced to put the benefits of working remotely to the test.

This kind of work has some advantages for working professionals, as it allows them to spend more time with family or save time on commuting. However, there are also significant downsides, such as more complicated or slower organisation, lack of social contact, and so on.

That being said, In terms of post-COVID-19 life, the majority of respondents seem to prefer the remote arrangement, as 37% have responded that they are happy to continue working from home permanently and 20% are excited about returning to the office. The rest fall between a balance of WFH/WFO days.

Brisbane seems to have the largest portion of developers who’d like to continue working remotely, as 46% said they are content with that arrangement, followed by Sydney—36%, and Melbourne’s 34%.

As this situation might impact work arrangements in this field in the future, we asked the participants to pick from several other work arrangement options, and we found that quite a number of respondents would prefer a balance of WFH and WFO days—18% would like to continue working remotely 3 days a week and 4% would extend this privilege to 4 days.

22% of the developers from Sydney who participated in this survey said they would like to work remotely less than 2 days a week and these figures are similar in the other two cities.

In Melbourne, 22% would prefer to work from home 3 days a week, while 15% in Sydney and 14% in Brisbane chose this option.

However, the percentage of participants who are looking forward to returning to the office is not insignificant—amounting to 21%.


How do you typically find new work opportunities?


To examine our respondents’ job-seeking preferences, we have divided the methods of seeking employment or freelance work into four categories:

  • Through their developer and business network,
  • Headhunting by recruiters,
  • Applying to job board ads,
  • Applying to companies they like.

Out of the total sample, 27% use their developer and business network to find new work opportunities, which makes this the most common option. This is the most popular practice in Brisbane, while in Sydney, the majority of respondents stated they prefer being headhunted and applying to job board ads.

The second most popular method for finding work among our survey respondents (26%) is applying directly to the companies they like, followed by headhunting (25%) and applying to job board ads (22%).

Applying directly to preferred companies seems to be equally popular in Brisbane and Melbourne, with 31% of the respondents from both cities choosing this as their #1 option.


Developer Salaries


For the purpose of this survey, we’ve divided salaries into seven categories ranging from less than $70k to more than $150k, annually.

According to the results, the lowest and the highest pay grade are equally represented in the total sample, amounting to 20% each.

The other salary grades are more or less equally distributed among our sample as visible from the graph.


Sydney Developers


Sydney developers seem to have higher pay grades, with 23% of respondents from Sydney receiving more than $150K. The respondents with a middle and lower-paying salary grade from this major city range from 8% to 15%.


Melbourne Developers


The situation in Melbourne is quite different, as most of the survey respondents from Melbourne are at the lowest pay grade—27% receive less than $70K on a yearly basis.

However, those earning above $150K are the second most represented group, while the wage grades in-between are more or less equally distributed.

In Brisbane, the highest and lowest pay grades are equally represented, with 16% of developers earning below $70K and another 16% earning more than $150K.


Brisbane Developers


Most of the sample is dispersed from mid to high salary grades with 18% of developers in each of the following clusters:

  • $130-150K
  • $100-115K
  • $85-100K

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