IT jobs growth picks up pace

By Jennifer Foreshew

A slow start to IT recruitment for the year is expected to turn around this month as demand heads towards the level before the global financial crisis, according to several studies.

Peoplebank Australia’s quarterly Salary Survey, released today, says hiring was slow early this year in NSW and Victoria, particularly in the banking and utilities sectors.

In Sydney, pay rises were less than 10 per cent for .NET and J2EE skills, business analysts, testing specialists, infrastructure architect contractors and security architect professionals. Demand for contract rather than permanent roles is strengthening in Melbourne.

There were pay rises in several areas, including for enterprise architects, applications architects, service-delivery managers and a range of support infrastructure administration positions.

Peoplebank chief executive Peter Acheson said there was stronger demand for contractors from medium and small enterprises in NSW and Victoria, but the traditional hiring peak would not emerge until this month or next. "It is back to pre-Christmas levels, but we are still not at 2007 and early 2008 job levels. We are on our way there," he said.

Demand in South Australia has remained steady and there have been pay rises in several areas such as the contract sector, for developers, senior SAP and Oracle professionals and applications development managers.

Mr Acheson said the ACT and Western Australia had bounced back stronger than they were before Christmas. Permanent salaries in

Canberra are stable, but there have been pay rises in the contract sector, including for developers with specialist skills.
In Perth, contract placements are up by about 20 per cent in the past quarter. Pay rises of up to 15 per cent have been evident for jobs such as business analysts, enterprise architects, solutions architects, program managers and help-desk managers and PC-desktop support professionals.

The Queensland floods in January temporarily shut down the state’s economy, but local businesses hired large numbers of contractors to restore operations in February.

The state’s resources sector remains buoyant but the government diverted IT investment into urgent infrastructure repairs. Pay rises went to workers in several areas, such as systems development, senior support and infrastructure administration.

"Certainly, by the middle of the year and towards the end and into 2012, knowing they are in demand and what they can get, we will start to see movement towards contracting," Mr Acheson said.

Pay rises of 4-5 per cent were expected, with 10 per cent or more for high-demand skills.

The turnaround in technology recruitment was confirmed by the Advantage Job Index, released yesterday, in which online IT vacancies jumped 9.41 per cent in February.

The national index rose 6.08 per cent, in the biggest pick-up since December 2007.

Advantage Resourcing global market intelligence director Robert Olivier said confidence in the economy was growing.

"It should go gangbusters for the next six weeks until Easter," he said. "This is the reversal we were hoping to see and it is bigger than we would have anticipated."

The data shows online IT vacancies leapt by 11.67 per cent in NSW and 4.79 per cent in Victoria last month. Meanwhile, online technology roles rose 17.15 per cent in Queensland, Western Australia was up 9.23 per cent and the ACT by 4.94 per cent last month.

March 8, 2011

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