The number of suitable candidates per ICT role remained at a low in the second quarter of 2011 in comparison with 2010, according to the Information Technology Contract and Recruitment Association (ITCRA).
The finding comes from SkillsMatch ICT Skills Dashboard, ITCRA’s latest report on the state of ICT employment, which has also found that it currently takes an average of 25.7 working days for employers to fill a vacancy, an increase of five working days since the third quarter of 2010.
“There are quite a number of people available with ICT skills, but they haven’t looked at what they need to do match the skills that are in demand,” ITCRA CEO Julie Mills, said.
“So we have a lot of skilled people working at their full capacity, but there are still a lot of people who are not kept up to speed or informed of what their competencies are.”
The report identified project management skills around ICT projects as being high in demand, as well as knowledgeable and responsive help desk skills.
With increasing opportunities now available to job seekers, ICT employers are also finding it harder to keep their employees in their current position.
“One of the things I don’t think this country does well in work force planning and education is actually looking forward,” Mills said.
“NBN is a good example of this, as they haven’t looked forward and asked themselves what skills and talent they are going to need, and where they are going to source it from.”
Mills emphasises that NBN is not able to offer excessively large salaries to get people across to it, as it’s on a tight budget that has to be well managed, so it would benefit from long term staff planning.
“There’s a whole range of things that need to be looked at instead of just throwing your hands in the air and wondering where to source 15,000 people for the NBN project,” Mills said.
“That question should have been asked two years ago.”
Looking towards the future and the battle for talent, Mills only expects a gradual improvement as people become more aware of what’s needed and an understanding of what people are fully capable of.
“I don’t see an end to it, as Australia does not have the population to deliver on all the projects that want to be carried out. But if we go out and actually look for people, maybe one step below the obvious choices, who could deliver on our needs with a bit of additional skilling.”