News Corp Australia’s chief executive has revealed a new opportunity in technology, offering to hire an engineer from Australia and a British software developer for the company’s software engineering team.
Mark Bartlett said the offer to hire two Australians from Melbourne and a UK software developer would be part of a new engineering and product strategy for News Corp, which is expanding its UK operations.
“It’s an opportunity to get a developer who’s really experienced in software engineering and who has the experience of managing teams, of having a strong culture and of being able to deliver quality and value to the company,” Mr Bartlett told reporters on the company building a new headquarters in Melbourne.
“If you’re looking for a developer, it’s an excellent position to be in.”
The announcement came after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warned News Corp in January that it was breaching Australian consumer law by paying its Australian engineers more than the median wage for Australian workers.
“A number of other major Australian employers have also reported a range of breaches of Australian competition law, including the Australian Fair Trading Commission and the Australian Tax Office,” the ACCC said in a statement in November.
“We’re calling on the Australian Government to ensure that there are safeguards to prevent this type of abuse of Australian workers.”
News Corp has already faced questions about its pay policy.
A year after it was bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for $US10 billion, News Corp announced it would cut more than $US100 million ($129 million) in pay to staff after the media giant was hit with $US1.5 billion in US sanctions.
But Mr Bartlet defended the pay cuts and the cuts announced this week, saying the company had been working hard to raise wages and to increase the number of jobs in the region.
“Our company has been making a lot of progress in the last two years, and that’s what we’re really focussed on,” he said.
“So I think the pay cut, the pay hike, is really a reflection of our continued effort to raise salaries, to be more competitive in terms of pay and to continue to grow our workforce.”
That’s really what’s driven us to continue this process, to continue the increase in our workforce, and to keep it going.
“News Corporation Australia has been struggling to maintain its financial strength amid a drop in its share price.
The ABC understands the company is exploring an offer to buy back shares from its Australian shareholders, which could raise around $US150 million.
News Corp Australia is one of several media companies that have been targeted by the US Justice Department for violating anti-trust laws.
A US Justice department complaint alleges that News Corp’s Australian operations are controlled by its US owner, MediaCom, which operates in Australia through its parent company, MediaWorks.
The complaint says the Justice Department has alleged that the company “knowingly conspired to commit anticompetitive acts”.