ACS: IT jobs steady, but ageism and racism on the rise

ACS: IT jobs steady, but ageism and racism on the rise

Industry group says gender, age and race-based discrimination still strong in Australian IT industry

The current IT jobs market remains strong, but the number of hours worked is dropping while ageism and racism are on the rise, according to the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

The results of the group’s annual ICT employment survey for 2009 found 24.7 per cent of respondents experienced unemployment in the past five years, down from 29 per cent in 2007.

“This improvement indicates the global financial slowdown has had little impact to date on the proportion of ICT professionals who are employed full-time,” an ACS statement said.

The results contradict job market data from several organisations that claim IT jobs have suffered from a major drop in openings and that the market is only recently beginning to recover in the last two months.

The ACS also found 65 per cent of ICT professionals worked more than 40 hours per week, the same as in 2007, while fewer employees are working for longer than 50 hours per week.

But the ACS’ main concern is what it sees as a growing level of age-based workplace discrimination. In its survey, 20 per cent of respondents reported ageism, compared to 19.2 per cent in 2007. In response, the organisation has announced the creation of an Age Discrimination Taskforce with the goal of retaining older IT professionals in the workforce.

“Ageism is a growing reality in Australia, but so is an increasing awareness that post-45 year old workers represent a skill resource and knowledge that we cannot afford to waste,” ACS chairman, Kumar Parakala, said in a statement.

Racism is also on the rise, with more than 12 per cent of respondents claiming they’d experienced racist discrimination in their workplaces. This was up from 9.6 per cent in 2006. In addition, 34 per cent of female ICT professionals experienced gender discrimination.

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Tags australian computer societyracismageismAge Discrimination TaskforceIT jobs market

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