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IT job ads down, with Queensland impacted the most: Advantage Job Index

IT job ads down, with Queensland impacted the most: Advantage Job Index

February will be the 'deciding month', and will determine the state of the job market in 2011

IT job advertisements have experienced another drop throughout the month of January, most significantly in flood ravaged Queensland, according to the latest Advantage Job Index.

The latest index for the month of January recorded a two per cent drop in IT job ads nationally month on month, while a 22.2 per cent increase was recorded over the last 12 months and outpaced the wider market which grew by 17.9 per cent.

Advantage Professional director, Bob Olivier, told Computerworld Australia the drop is the second consecutive negative month for the sector and is likely due to a culmination of factors including rising interest rates, the strong Aussie dollar and the floods.

“We had a strong year in 2010 but toward the latter part of the year the market did soften, interest rates rose and the dollar strengthened so it’s now a question of whether those influences and also the floods have been absorbed by the market or whether will they continue to undermine business confidence,” Olivier said.

According to Olivier, February will be the deciding month and will act as a clear indicator of where the job market will be headed in 2011.

State by state, Queensland job ads dropped 7.8 per cent, which Olivier says was to be expected. Western Australia recorded an increase of 5.67 per cent, Victoria was down just 0.83 per cent while New South Wales experienced a 3.35 per cent drop, which Olivier says was a surprise as there is “no excuse” for the drop.

“The initial impact [of the floods] is negative," he said. "If you’ve got people contracting with the floods in Queensland, you’re going to say don’t worry about showing up on Monday and if someone leaves, you’re not going to say well let’s find a replacement; you’re going to say let’s wait and see.

"So I think in the short term it’s a negative impact on the overall picture and in the longer term there may well be some people reviewing their IT infrastructure and an opportunity to renew so it might actually help in the long run."

Overall, online job advertisements in Queensland have fallen the most in nearly two years but rebuilding efforts in the state will create demand for skilled workers.

The index showed a 5.78 per cent drop in Queensland's online employment ads in January, the biggest decline in 20 months.

The state's transport, building and construction, and hospitality and tourism sectors led the downward trend, down 16.01 per cent, 10.77 per cent and 9.44 per cent, respectively.

In contrast, online jobs ads in Western Australia rose by 5.81 per cent, driven by increased demand for skilled labour in the healthcare and engineering sectors.

WA was the only state to record double digit growth in the retail sector at 12.14 per cent, while the legal sector was the only industry in the state to record a decline with a 4.65 per cent fall.

Bob Olivier, director of global market intelligence for Advantage Resourcing, said an urgent review of current on-hire arrangements would go a long way towards addressing short term skill shortages.

"Booming Western Australia and disaster ravaged Queensland need skilled labour now, yet changes in 2007 to business migration practices have made it virtually impossible for most recruitment firms to place with their clients the overseas professionals these states desperately need," Olivier said.

Nationally, a 0.36 per cent fall in online job advertisements in January was led by the transport, legal and tourism sectors, down 8.75 per cent, 8.06 per cent and 2.69 per cent, respectively.

Online job ad growth was reported for human resources (up 4.67 per cent), education (up 3.23 per cent) and sales and marketing (up 2.44 per cent).

Additional reporting by AAP

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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