February is looking like a month of positive IT job growth with employers being warned to speed up hiring, according to IT job experts.
Although the number of IT jobs advertised dropped in January by 0.82 per cent against previous predictions made last month, Olivier Group director, Robert Olivier, said the December/January period was always the most volatile and difficult to predict.
“The seasonal adjustment figures are so high you shouldn’t read so much into it,” he said. “I was hoping IT would perform a bit better. We had a phenomenal November but December was pretty flat so it’s pretty peculiar.”
But the director was adamant the growing confidence in Australia’s economy would lead to stronger hiring. Recent unemployment figures from the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed a surprise 0.2 point drop in the unemployment rate to 5.3 per cent.
“This is just going to fuel people’s confidence and that leads through to IT,” Olivier said. “Confidence is up and hiring intentions are up, so should we be so surprised just because there are wobbies happening elsewhere in the world?
“Unless something drastic happens, my statistics will be in positive territory next month.”
Hays Information Technology regional director, Peter Noblet, said despite an early 2009 flood of strong IT job candidates, employers could expect a limited skills shortage soon.
“I think we’re seeing skills shortages in some areas already,” he said. “It’s just a continuation of what we’ve got now anyway.
“Those shortages will be in functional business analysts, properly educated and trained project and program managers, there are still shortages in certain areas in development, be it .NET or Java or a combination in both and we’re still seeing shortages in networking skills, particularly at the senior end of engineers.”
The predictions are in line with a number of recent reports predicting strong demand in the IT sector. Many foresee a skills shortage hitting Australia by mid-2010.
“To help secure high calibre candidates, employers can reduce the interview to offer timeframe, and if possible conduct comprehensive one-stage interviews,” Noblet said.
But he also warned applicants not to get complacent. Proven experience was seen as paramount for all positions.
“I think where people have jumped around and don’t have a solid career history or don’t have a really technical background, they will struggle,” Noblet said. “I think an overall shortage will be a little while away because we’re at that point where there’s a good number of job seekers and a good number of roles.”