ICT jobs have rebounded and Australia is nearing a skills shortage, according to the latest Candle ICT skills survey.
Candle ICT CEO, David Stewart, said most of the rise responsible for taking Australia’s ICT jobs market out of negative territory came in the last few weeks. The company’s Clarius Skills Index December 2009 reading sits at 99.8, which represents a surplus of 500 extra ICT workers.
While the rating hasn’t reached peak employment conditions recorded in March 2008, when the index sat at a “high” rating of 104.2 for ICT positions, it is an improvement on the market low 99.3 recorded in September 2009.
“We never really went into a real surplus of labour. There had been some quite severe skills shortages and as we went through the economic slowdown, it became more of a balanced picture,” Stewart said. “Now there’s been a steady pickup in workers, particularly through December and January, and as the demand has picked up, the number of people in the workforce has gone down.”
The analysis is in line with the latest Hudson Report, which found employer confidence at a record high thanks to the National Broadband Network (NBN) and increased spending on IT projects. The latest December Olivier Report also said IT jobs would grow faster than the national average.
Stewart said the market’s improvement boosted business confidence and helped get projects off the ground with the relevant staff on the payroll.
“When demand was dropping off, the first people being laid off were the program managers,” he said. “The demand for program managers in particular is now picking back again.”
But Stewart cautioned against excessive optimism and said the market would not fully recover until later this year.
“We were certainly expecting a slow, gradual increase throughout 2010, but the first couple of months have beaten expectations,” he said. “It remains to be seen whether it will be maintained or if it’s just a releasing of penthouse demand.
“I would anticipate that we’ll be back to normal hiring levels by the middle of the year.”