As eastern Australia suffers through a long, dry summer, the job drought within the ICT (information and communication technology) sector looks set to face a wintery chill in 2002 as the number of "hot" skill sets reduces to a trickle.
According to the preliminary results of a Department of Workplace Relations study into skill shortages within the ICT industry, the ICT Vacancy Index has steadily declined during 2001 and is 78 per cent down on the Index peak recorded in September 2000. The number of specialist areas with severe shortages has also tumbled to 13 in October 2001, from 26 in December 2000-January 2001.
According to the report, skill sets in demand include DB2, Sybase SQL server, C++, Progress, firewall and Internet security, XML, Java security and electronic commerce, SAP, PeopleSoft, Siebel, Satellite design, e-commerce security (non-programming) and CISSP (certified information systems security professional).
The report states that these 13 specialisations, in demand across the nation, would be considered for inclusion on the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL).
According to Kev Jones, business manager and industry analyst at TMP Worldwide, skill sets out of favour include mainframe developers and support, graduates, business analysts, project managers and testers (except Web-based).
The study also revealed that while ICT employment had averaged 192,000 for the year 2000, and the average employment level for the three quarters to August 2001 had increased 15.4 per cent to 221,000, there was "strong evidence" that this rate of increase in employment was unlikely to continue into 2002.