IT job market softens as shortage remains and Employers seek multi-skilled Staff

March 4, 2013

hile some sections of the IT jobs market have softened, there remained an overall shortage of more than 4,600 IT professionals during the December quarter, according to the latest Clarius Skills Index. Data warehousing, SAP and business intelligence specialists remain in demand while requirements for multi-skilling are fast becoming the order of the day for many employers looking for IT staff. Demand for .Net developers, however, has softened from six months ago.

The Index softened slightly from 102.7 to a ‘Very High’ skill shortage Index of 102.2 between September to December, with demand (employment plus vacancies) totalling 211,700 but supply (employment plus unemployment) of only 207, 100 available during the quarter.

Linda Trevor, Executive General Manager of Candle, Clarius’ IT recruitment brand, says the early announcement of the Federal Election date has already prompted delays and replanning of IT related projects. “It caught both private companies and government departments by surprise. But seven months out and it is already beginning to affect decision making on hiring for certain projects, particularly in government sectors”, Ms. Trevor said.

However the market differs in each state with an emerging trend for multi-skilled employees. Queensland has just undergone a major government shake out with plans to outsource billions of dollars of work to private companies and a change of minister as a result of the announcement.

Perth, where there has been demand and shortfalls, driven by the resources sector and knock-on demands in associated business areas, is not seeing any shortages at the moment.

“A number of Perth mining companies last year announced budget and project cuts so this resulted in candidates with limited IT job opportunities and a very competitive market for project based jobs”, Ms Trevor said. “But the forecast for market and project improvements slated for February have now been pushed to April due to the WA state election in March. Requirements for multi-skilled staff have also increased in WA with a preference for candidates to have more rounded skills such as hands-on technical project managers. It’s more cost effective and recent job descriptions are asking for more varied skills. For example, technical hands-on project managers, business analysts and consultants are in higher demand than just a project manager”, Ms. Trevor added.

“In Sydney there is mainly a shortage in the highly specialised areas such as business intelligence and data warehousing roles. There is also a definite trend for companies to require developers and testers to have the necessary technology skills as well as to interact and communicate with the business and clients, face-to-face. Essentially professionals need to be able to code and communicate.

In Melbourne there has been a lot of downsizing for IT employees in the banking industry – traditionally a large employer of this sector in the past. We’re expecting that market to pick up later in the year. In the private sector, SME’s in Victoria across different industries are also looking for multi-skilling. The skills sets required vary but many want the mix of infrastructure and development experience,” Ms. Trevor said.

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Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland