Employment round-up: IT staff shortage, unstable market, salary rise tipped

Employment round-up: IT staff shortage, unstable market, salary rise tipped

The latest reports from Hays, Kelly Services and Candle

Despite a softening of the economy, there remains a shortage of more than 5500 ICT professionals, according to IT recruitment firm, Candle.

The statistics were identified in the latest Clarius Skills Index, which showed a considerable difference when measured against the September Clarius Skills Index.

The September Clarius Skills index reported a shortfall of 9200 ICT professionals, during a period where there was more activity in the economy.

The Clarius Skills Index is a measure of supply and demand of skilled labour in Australia based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations) data.

Candle executive general manager, Linda Trevor, said the imbalance was an example of the patchwork economy reflected by demand that is currently 18 per cent lower than it was this time last year.

"ACT has recently been facing shortages in software configuration, software integration, SAP and Siebel development, Release MGT, network specialists, system specialists, virtualisation specialist and mainframe development.

“There have also been shortages in the infrastructure space; these include network/systems/server engineers and administrators," she said.

The study showed that the NSW IT market remains soft as business spend in IT is still lacking and a number of larger IT projects are on hold.

"There is a mix of hiring decisions and outcomes at the moment in the NSW IT market. Shortages exist in niche skills sets such as business intelligence, mobile development, SAP, IT security,” Trevor said.

It was also reported that there is still a demand for technical type resources, such as .net and java developers, SAP consultants and BI Data Warehousing resources, as well as a demand for testers with automation and manual and XML skills.

Australian employers reluctant to roll out long-term hiring strategies in unstable market

Employers in Australia are hesitant to deploy long-term hiring strategies as a result of an unstable market, evolving workforce demographics and changing leadership and the introduction of employment strategies, recruitment firm, Kelly Services, said.

The finding was reported in the recently released Kelly Services 2012 Salary Guide to help employers and jobseekers manage their way through the challenges of the recruitment process.

Kelly Services Australia managing director, Karen Colfer, said the instability of the global economy has led to a slower than expected return to confidence for the employment market, which has led to employers remaining reluctant to roll out long-term hiring strategies.

“Employers need to be expert at managing downsizing projects, retaining productivity with fewer heads or managing a workforce with an increased number of contract and part-time employees,” she said.

However, Kelly Services predicts that the challenges encountered across the business community are expected to ease during the latter half of 2012, as stability is restored to global financial markets and that flows into the Australian market.

“While the workforce of tomorrow might be vastly different to the workforce that organisations employed a few years ago in terms of demographic, location and flexibility, for the first time in a long time employers will be able to take a long-term view of their workforce strategy,” Colfer said.

Other findings from the study include:

  • The issue of employee benefits remains one of the leading challenges for employers
  • The emphasis in ACT is on smart hires and finding staff whose values align with a commercial organisation
  • The NSW employment market is no longer the powerhouse it once was in the Australian business landscape
  • Many large corporations are shedding jobs in the IT and finance departments as they continue to look for opportunities to consolidate or outsource back-office operations
  • NSW is seeing a significant show of stability and strength in local manufacturing, especially in the mid–size manufacturing businesses, on the back of solid manufacturing results at a national level
  • The natural disasters that wreaked havoc across Queensland in 2011 continue to impact the State’s economy
  • In SA employers remained cautious during 2011, a trend that Kelly expects to continue throughout 2012
  • The Victorian manufacturing sector remains under tremendous pressure as the strong Australian dollar is making it difficult to compete overseas
  • The mining boom in WA continues to generate many new jobs and position WA as the standout state when it comes to employer sentiment

Hays salary guide points to moderate salary increases for IT professionals

IT & telecommunications professionals can expect a moderate salary increase this year as current market conditions remain, according to the 2012 Hays salary guide.

The 2012 Hays salary guide is based on a survey of more than 1500 employers as well as placements made by Hays Information Technology.

It found that 45 per cent of IT & telecommunications employers increased salaries last year between three and six per cent and 50 per cent of the employers intend to increase salaries between three and six per cent during the next review.

However, the statistics are not reflective of the current economic situation, Hays IT regional director, Peter Noblet, said.

“There is no silver bullet over the horizon to wait for. Current conditions are here to stay for some time, so the sooner we can adapt business practices to meet the requirements of this, the more effective we’ll all be.

“That’s why forward-thinking employers and candidates are going ahead with their hiring or career plans. It’s also why employers are increasing salaries, albeit moderately,” he said.

He also said that the booming resources states of Queensland and WA did see salary increases, particularly for mid-level MS.Net developers and Java candidates at both developer and team lead levels.

Another trend that Noblet noticed is mobility.

“While employers in Australia are not as comfortable sourcing candidates with the required skills from overseas as employers are in the rest of Asia Pacific, they are slowly becoming more open to this attraction strategy,” he said.

Over the coming year, the hiring sentiment within IT will remain positive, especially with the increasing use of social networking and mobile apps, Noblet said

“Sustainability and green issues will influence the IT space as Cloud computing continues to take off. Skilled development and networking professionals will be in high demand in order to seize opportunities in this space. Overall, the year looks promising,” he said.

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