Australian CIOs are seeking specialist capabilities across security, systems administration, networking and database management, opening the door for technology providers across the channel.
According to Robert Half findings, 92 per cent of local CIOs will increase temporary IT headcount internally by an average of 21 per cent over the next 12 months, as departments battle to keep the lights on, while pursuing new strategies of innovation.
The main drivers behind hiring temporary professionals are a lack of financial resources to hire permanent employees (44 per cent), cost efficiency (43 per cent), faster hiring process (42 per cent) skills shortage and flexibility (39 per cent).
From a technology perspective, demand for contract IT workers is strongest within IT security (34 per cent), systems administration (34 per cent), networking (29 per cent) and database management (28 per cent).
Such sentiment across the boardrooms of Australia creates opportunity for the channel, with partners well positioned to offer advice, guidance and crucially capabilities, to stretched customers across all sectors and verticals.
“As Australia is facing a growing IT skills shortage,” Robert Half Australia director Andrew Morris observed. “The Australian technology sector risks being left behind in global rankings if they cannot find skilled IT professionals to support customer-centric technology, tackle new IT initiatives and address cyber-security concerns.”
According to Morris, there’s a change taking place in the way businesses staff IT departments with industry growth and the workplace driving employers to adopt a combination of permanent and temporary IT staff.
“They want the right mix of skillsets for strategic and operations requirements, making contract workers an intrinsic part of the IT department in Australian companies,” Morris added.
Size wise, CIOs within large companies are leading the way with plans in place to increase temporary IT headcount by an average of 25 per cent, followed by medium-sized (23 per cent) and smaller organisations (17 per cent).
“Guaranteeing business continuity, managing IT projects and hiring external expertise for as long as companies need are all reasons why companies in today’s market revert to contract workers – across all seniority levels, thereby also giving businesses access to a much larger talent pool of IT candidates,” Morris added.
“As companies understand the role temporary workers can play in filling the skills gap, up-skilling existing staff and optimising cost efficiencies in relation to staffing, IT employers are increasingly rebalancing their workforce in steady and challenging times.”
For Morris, many are discovering that a year-round mix of core in-house employees and temporary workers represents an “efficient and flexible way” to meet business demands, while remaining competitive.
“Temporary employment can help IT employees at all experience levels with various career goals,” Morris added.
“IT professionals will have the potential to gain experience within many different types of organisations and the chance to up-skill by exposing themselves to multiple areas of new skillsets.
“The flexibility and variety offered by contract work also makes for a more substantial CV, highlighting the career potential offered by temporary work in both the short and the long run.”
Specific to the individual, while some professionals consciously choose to be a contract worker, there are other IT professionals who might be used to being employed on a permanent basis and are perhaps wary of temporary work because of uncertainties in relation to job security.
“It is certainly not uncommon however that working as a temporary worker can lead to a permanent job,” Morris added.
“If organisations wish to convert a temporary worker to permanent, they have the advantage of already knowing the person’s strengths first hand, highlighting the potential of temporary work turning into permanent work.”