Permanent IT employee numbers set to rise

Over 40 per cent of employers are likely to increase their number of permanent IT employees during the second quarter of 2010, according to the latest Hudson report.

The show of confidence is the highest in the last two years and continues the run of four quarters of improvement in sentiment.

In a statement, recruitment specialist Hudson ICT national practice director, Martin Retschko, said system upgrades and replacements were behind the result.

“IT employers are without doubt hiring again, whether to rebuild their teams to previous capability levels, take on additional headcount to cater to growth opportunities or cover attrition occurring within businesses as the labour market improves,” he said. “We expect hiring intentions to remain strong, driven by efficiency initiatives reliant on ICT investment in many sectors including banking and finance, utilities and manufacturing.”

Retschko also pointed to recruitment drives being undertaken as a result of the National Broadband Network (NBN) plans and smart grid initiatives.

Of the states, Victoria recorded the highest levels of confidence as organisations rebound from the economic downturn and associated layoffs.

“It’s important to note that this trend has been in play for four consecutive quarters and clearly demonstrates that IT employers’ wait-and-see approach is now coming to a close,” said Retschko. “Our results not only underwrite the positive surge in labour demand nationally in January but also point to the increasing issue of looming skills shortages.”

The Hudson report comes on the same day the ANZ Job Advertisements Series showed an increase in job ads across metropolitan newspapers and the Internet of 1.8 per cent in March.

In March, a report from employment agency Advantage also revealed IT job advertisements are on the rise.

According to the report, job advertisements in the IT sector saw the third largest rise, with an 8.11 per cent increase in February over January. The number of job advertisements in the IT sector has seen an 11.1 per cent decrease, however, since February 2009.

Prior to the Advantage report, IT help desk support was the most sought after job across Australia in January, according to the February SEEK Employment Index.

The index also reported that job ads rose 7.1 percent across all industries in January, continuing the upward trend – 31.8 per cent since June 2009 - in the market. IT help desk support edged out administration receptionists and retail sales assistants to become the most competitive occupation – or the category with the most candidates.

IT architects also placed fifth in January’s most sought after employees, beaten by university lecturers, property managers, construction estimators and nurses and midwives.

Another recruitment firm, Candle ICT said in February, that the Australian ICT industry is on the brink of slipping back into a chronic skills shortage, just as the jobs market begins its road to recovery.

Candle ICT CEO, David Stewart, said as more projects get underway and the demand for positions rises, the skills shortage will get progressively worse and potentially back to a pre-economic downturn situation.

“In 2010 we can expect to see some pretty chronic shortages develop in the ICT area and that’s going to constrain our ability as a nation to be able to grow because it’s going to be hard to deliver on some of these infrastructure and telecommunications projects due to a lack of people,” Stewart said.

The Clarius Skills Index for the December quarter recorded a slight labour surplus of 500 workers across the ICT industry, with a reading of 99.8. (An Index score of 100 indicates equal division between job supply and demand).

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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