ICT job market shaky but hopeful: ITCRA

ICT job market shaky but hopeful: ITCRA

ICT recruitment market shaky, but opportunities still exist for those that can meet demand

The ICT job market will slow down in the next 12 months, according to the Information Technology Contract and Recruitment Association’s (ITCRA) SkillsMatch data for 2011 and industry data from Longhaus and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

ITCRA chief executive, Julie Mills, said that although stagnation often occurs towards the end of each year, the entire ICT market looked uneasy.

“The Vacancy Report from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations showed vacancies for ICT professionals dropped 20.1 per cent in the past year,” Mills said in a statement.

“The Longhaus Australian Tech Index, which measures the health of the Australian ICT industry, decreased 2.9 per cent by 31 December 2011 — the most significant decline since the second quarter of 2009. This drop was put down to a less demanding labour market in the last three months.”

In addition, ITCRA’s SkillsMatch data revealed the average number of days to fill a job position increased in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, with an average of 26.4 days to fill a role in the third quarter to 41.4 days in the fourth.

“Data from ITCRA’s SkillsMatch showed that in the last quarter of 2011 it took recruiters and employers in most states much longer to find and hire candidates,” Mills said.

Mills suggested recruiters to focus on building and maintaining relationships with a strong candidate database and source job hunters with the skills most desired by employers.

However, it’s not a one-way street, with those looking for work advised to concentrate on understanding the location and skill sets where demand exists to help their chances of securing a role.

SkillsMatch also found gaps between the top 10 skills offered by candidates and those required by employers. “Five of the top 10 skills requested by employers — systems administration, telecommunications, testing, Java and SQL — don’t appear in the top 10 skills offered by candidates,” Mills said.

“For example, our data shows that 35.66 per cent of hirers looking to fill project management roles in 2011 were successful in finding someone with that skill.

“The majority (59.7 per cent) of those looking for employees with C# experience were able to fulfil that need, while only 3.16 per cent of those needing workers with telecommunications experience were able to meet that demand.”

However, the situation isn’t entirely bleak, with Mills saying that there will always be a need for a skilled and mobile IT workforce despite the economic outlook.

ITCRA back in May 2011 reported that the average ICT employee recruitment timeframe had risen by six days in the past year, while the number of candidates has declined.

The results showed an average of 26.3 days to hire a new ICT employee, while candidate numbers for each ICT role shrunk from 7.7 to just 6.8, raising the alarm of a ICT skills shortage.

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