I'd like to think the answer is "ALOT". Here's proof - 18 of the 100 entries in BRW's 2006 Young Rich list coming from the tech sector!
But you need more proof than that to convince people. As such, I was skulking around the net looking for some stats to better understand whats on offer to grads for a presentation I'm delivering this weekend, and I came across the MyCareer Salary Centre. It contains stats on average salaries, broken down by industry.
Clicking on the graduate industry link, the minimum and maximum wages for I.T grads is $33k and $90k respectively. The interesting thing is, the average IT&T graduate wage is slightly below the national average for other grads. Graduate accountants earn more (GULP!) What's the story here? I know for a fact that Microsoft partners Australia wide are crying out for .NET grads. So why are the grad wages so low?
Taking a step back, I had a look at the non-grad job sector stats in the Salary Centre, and the average wages for non-graduate IT&T professionals is nearly $15K more than the national average. Orright!! Now we're talking. Whats more, the "IT&T" industry beat out the "Marketing", "Accounting", HR, PR and Sale professions by up to $20K. And if you ever read about APESMA's concerns about IT&T wages not being comparable to that of tradies, IT&T professional earn around $30K more than their tradesmen counterparts!
The lesson is this - there's a light at the end of the tunnel. It's just a slightly longer tunnel than in other industries. And to answer my original question in the subject line of this posting, it looks like I.T grads in Australia are like a fine wine - they gain value with age :)