Recruiters are finding it difficult to snag IT workers for contract roles as the number of days it takes to fill these positions continues to rise across the country.
In the first calendar quarter of this year, there was a continued demand for contractors with permanent hires representing just nine per cent of all recent ICT hires, according to a report by the Information Technology Contract & Recruitment Association (ITCRA).
New South Wales and Victoria saw the biggest jumps in contracting. The average days required to fill a contract role over the past three months in NSW jumped from 17 to 45, while Victoria jumped from 16 to 42.
“The growth in contracting is seen in the ratio of contractor to permanent roles, which has moved from an 80/20 ratio to an 87/13 ratio in December 2014 to a 91/9 ratio in March 2015. In NSW, only 7 per cent of advertised roles were permanent,” said ITCRA CEO, Julie Mills.
Despite the demand, hourly rates for contractors have also taken a dive across the nation, the association said.
In Victoria, contracting hourly rates dropped from $162.80 in December to $112.10 in March. Rates in WA plummeted from $121.24 to $78.50 over the same period, the ITCRA said. Meanwhile, hourly rates in Queensland rose from $82.11 to $89.00.
Other downward employment indicators in the report included the BurningGlass ICT Job Ads Index, which tracks the number of ICT jobs advertised. This index has continued to fall over the last two quarters, the ITCRA said.
“The anomaly in the market indicators could be for any number of reasons, including increased competition for specific skills such as in big data and digital, recruiters searching for candidates without using traditional advertising, or employers hiring permanent roles in-house and outsourcing contractor recruitment," said Mills.
Mills added that this was a mediocre start to the year for ICT, but the shift in employer needs demonstrated that ICT is becoming an optimiser of business and coordinator of enterprise technical strategy.
"This would imply that opportunities abound for ICT professionals who are set to meet the challenges presented by this greater focus on strategic ICT. Furthermore, it appears that the market is becoming less bountiful for ICT workers who have a limited focus on administrative, maintenance, or computer-based responsibilities," Mills said.
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