Advancements in technologies like cloud computing and the National Broadband Network (NBN) are driving demand for skilled ICT workers, according to a new report from Candle ICT.
Candle executive general manager, Linda Trevor, indicated the skills shortage was placing a greater strain on wage demands as employers seek to maintain talented staff.
“There have already been wage increases of between 5 and 10 per cent across the industry with evidence of 20 per cent hikes in Western Australia,” Trevor said.
The September Clarius Skills Index has identified there was now a skills shortage of more than 2800 computing professionals across Australia. It also confirms details of a report by the Australian Computer Society earlier this year, which stated that ageism had emerged as a significant factor where employers were reluctant to hire and in some cases retain older IT professionals.
“There is evidence of age discrimination in the ICT sector, with bias towards younger workers being more favourable in the eyes of some employers,” Trevor said. “This could largely be driven by the perception that younger workers have more current and advanced technical skills with the older work force skill set becoming dated.
“It seems evident that with the right approach, up-skilling and better planning, it’s possible to reverse the attitude towards mature aged workers in the IT sector and fill many of the gaps in the sector.”
Trevor said state-by-state snapshots reveal a varying range of demands and pressures.
“A tendency of employers converting contractors to permanent staff is consistent across all regions, particularly the larger cities as companies move to shore up talent long term and diminish the prospect of losing short term contractors,” she said.
“This trend towards organisations seeking to employ permanent staff in areas historically dominated by contract roles is strong.
“The combination of the shortage of some skills and budgetary restraints is seeing many organisations taking the opportunity to recruit less experienced IT professionals and developing their skills into the vacant roles.”
The index indicated candidates were reluctant to leave positions if there was a possibility of getting a renewal in their existing role. It noted there was increased demand for project managers, business analysts and a demand for developers was also emerging.
A smaller pool of resources and ageing population has resulted in a tighter labour market, but employers are willing to hold out to find the right person, according to the Index.
In NSW there is cautiousness about hiring, whilst critical projects are being staffed and critical hires to replace are being done, companies appear to be in “watch and wait” mode due to the recent election and the threat of a double dip recession in the US. There is also a sense of consolidation after the rampant hiring earlier in the year.
In Queensland, there is an increased need for SharePoint expertise as customers are starting to use SharePoint for more advanced reporting after the GFC, the report said.