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Slowing jobs market prompts IT&T industry concerns

Slowing jobs market prompts IT&T industry concerns

Olivier Job Index for March finds software programming is the hardest hit segment of the market

The number of IT&T jobs advertised over the last three months has significantly slowed, according to the latest Olivier Job Index.

According to the recruitment services company's director, Robert Olivier, domestic factors such as increased interest rates, global financial turmoil and the credit crunch, are having an affect on business confidence.

"What I suspect is there are two areas where the IT sector is getting hit: One is via the banks, where the international banks are looking very carefully at operations in Australia; the other is through hiring freezes and the fact that IT projects might be on hold," he said.

The IT&T sector flattened during March chalking up just 0.91 per cent growth. In the 12 months to March, the Olivier Job Index grew by 32.38 per cent, a far cry from more than 50 per cent growth reported during the previous year.

Olivier said the most disturbing figure during March was the six per cent drop in the number of software programming jobs.

"That concerns me more because that is the key to the IT industry. It is the biggest employment area - software development represents about 35 per cent of all jobs advertised, so if it's hit hard then the industry is hit hard overall," he said.

The report also found government sector recruitment had slowed.

"Within the overall IT area, the numbers of jobs in Canberra are probably the weakest of the lot. The government is not recruiting as much and our expectation is that with a tough budget coming along, IT may suffer further in terms of public expenditure," Olivier said.

Areas suffering from acute skills shortages and where employers are having to bring skills in from overseas include online and multimedia segments.

"There is a lot of online, Internet graphics and multimedia recruitment that's still going relatively strongly. Desktop support and helpdesk is also unscathed," Olivier said.

"Until we see some clarity or confidence returning to the financial market, and concerns over the credit crises coming off, I think there is a greater risk of a deteriorating market rather than improvement."


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