Recruiter predicts lift in ICT hires

Peoplebank chief executive expects a lift in ICT investment and employment due to pent up pre-election demand

Australia’s largest IT recruiter has predicted a spike in the ICT jobs market following the election of a “pro-business” Abbott government.

Peoplebank chief executive Peter Acheson said the new government was good news for ICT and expected a boost to hiring across the sector as a result of pent up demand, and firms generally waiting until after the election to invest in IT.

“Already, the change I am seeing is quite amazing,” he said. “In just a week we have seen a lift in consumer confidence and business confidence and those two things generally precede an increase in hiring.

“I don’t think we will see a boom, but I think we will see a pick-up in hiring in ICT.”

This follows August's unemployment rate reaching 5.8 per cent, up from 5.7 per cent a month earlier. This underscores prime minister-designate Tony Abbott’s challenge as the economy continues to cool.

Acheson said that hiring had been subdued across the board which had caused latent demand in investment and new hires.

“ICT has also been subdued and that’s linked to a lack of confidence in the previous government and that has caused a lot of companies to put hiring on hold until after the election and that’s been reflected in the employment results,” he said.

“The secondary effect is that, since the GFC, Australian corporations have not been investing in ICT for the last 18 months and hiring in ICT has been pretty flat. We will see a pick up in early November and steady improvement by February 2014 in the ICT sector.

“Part of the reason for that is that the Abbott government will be much more pro-business which will lead to an improvement in business confidence.

However Acheson expects hiring in the public sector to remain soft due to a series of federal government reviews to increase efficiencies.

“I think short term, most likely, the one sector in the economy in the next six months that will be soft will be federal government hiring of ICT," he said.

"They will undertake a series for reviews and they will look to implement short-term savings across the board in the public service.”

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