There has been a spike in demand for digital skills across the banking, retail, utility and government sectors, according to IT recruitment firm Peoplebank.
The agency’s July-September job placement Index shows a growth in demand for digital know-how in the areas of web development, mobile apps, cloud and other disruptive technologies.
Peoplebank places 3,000 workers in jobs each year and its latest Index figures draw on placements made over a three month period.
While the demand for core IT skills remains stable, employers are looking more closely at hires with digital skills, said Peter Acheson, CEO of Peoplebank.
Acheson told CIO that the demand is shifting rapidly away from traditional IT roles towards digital, cloud and newly-emerging roles.
“New South Wales has had the strongest growth in this demand,” he said. “This encompasses the major banks, retail, utilities and more recently government agencies delivering their digital-first strategies.”
Online and mobile skills in demand
Under the digital banner, enterprises are automating business processes. The focus is on “self-service” enabling end-users to access products or services through fully-integrated online or mobile channels. “The IT investment lays the foundations to support self-service,” Acheson said.
“In retail, this is about buying goods and services online or through mobile devices. For banks, this is led by electronic payment systems or online banking. Governments are automating services as are utilities.”
Employers’ recruitment checklist focuses increasingly on digital project management, subject matter expertise, and a broader appreciation of the digital economy, Acheson noted.
“Big retailers are rolling out digital projects that leverage online and mobile shopping channels and building web-based platforms or integrating internet services with mobile apps are high-demand skills sets.”
Jobs in New South Wales
Peoplebank’s placements are largely in the banking, retail and utility sectors. The bulk of demand is led by New South Wales, more recently in the government space.
“Governments now recognise that there are benefits from automating processes and adopting digital services,” Acheson said. “The focus is to develop web-based apps and open up digital channels.”
More broadly, the IT sector is in flux. “Many organisations are re-structuring their IT departments,” Acheson said. “They’re making some roles redundant and creating new roles that leverage digital technologies and improve the customer experience."
Overall demand is also being driven by new projects in the banking sector. This is the traditional driver of ICT skills demand. Banks - especially in NSW – are hungriest for project managers and business analysts that come equipped with savvy across business, payments, infrastructure project management and the digital-mobile domain sectors.
Contract to permanent jobs
Among the states, Victoria and South Australia are starting to convert contract roles into permanent openings while recognising the importance of owning their technology IP. The demand for digital and core IT skills set is led by some business confidence in the economy, well into the New Year.
The emerging demand for digital skills means that higher education and vocational training need to review traditional curriculum and training programs, noted Acheson.
“There seems to be a decline in younger people enrolling for IT programs,” he said. “This is influenced by a perception that jobs may be sent off-shore in the long-term. Education needs to rethink ways to attract new students and tailor their message.”
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