The IT job market continued its horror slide in April with Internet ads falling 7.44 per cent to reach a 12 month crash of 56.05 per cent.
The April results of the Olivier Job Index also show job ads across the economy fell 7.43 per cent for a 12 month drop of 49.84 per cent.
Olivier Group director, Robert Olivier, said that while the rate of decline had fallen – in March the IT job market fell 15 per cent – there was no reason to expect an improvement in the short term.
“The interesting thing is of that 56 per cent, 44.46 was in the last six months,” Olivier said. “So while it has slowed up a little bit in April there is no cause for celebration.”
The latest results reflect ABS jobless figures announced in March, which rose 0.4 per cent from 4.8 to 5.2 per cent.
The Peoplebank Quarterly IT&T Salary Index, also released in March told a similar story, and found salaries had also fallen. The report covers more than 50 ICT skill categories based on permanent and contractor employees across Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra.
“The other thing that is ringing alarm bells for me is what the banks and consultancies are telling us is that we have had the big front page administrations of ABC Learning and Babcock and Brown,” Olivier said. “Where the pain is yet to come through is in the SME space. Where the hurt will come for the IT sector is people who are contracting for the small family businesses and things like that.”
However, Olivier highlighted healthcare, education and Government as safer sectors of the economy for IT professionals.
“We are not sure what is going to happen with the budget, but certainly IT professional skills are transferable so if you want to know where to look and where the safest place to be is, this is a good start,” he said.
“Our stats are also showing that the ACT is still the safest. The other thing is the rate of decline in Western Australia means it is nearly as poorly performing as NSW, which has been slipping for nearly a year and half now as it is affected by the banks.”
IT firms, including HP, Dell, Sun Microsystems and IBM, have made a string of job cut announcements over the last 9 months, with services firm CSC the latest to slash employees.
In April, Qantas also announced it would shed some 500 management positions as part of plans to drop the equivalent of 1250 full time staff to help it stay afloat.