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Global recruitment company Robert Walters has published the Australian portion of its annual survey of the recruitment scene. Scrutinising what it says about IT job prospects in Australia's major capitals, it seems like Brisbane might be the best bet.
That's simply because, in Robert Walters' opinion, prospects there are largely dependent on local factors around which there is more certainty than the global issues on which prospects in other cities, particularly Perth and Sydney, are dependent.
For Brisbane, Robert Walters says: "We expect 2013 to be a year of change and opportunity. With several years of under investment in technology due to economic and environmental volatility the government should prioritise key technology investments, which will lead to greater hiring activity. Organisations across all sectors will also have to improve business processes by utilising the latest technology and this will lead to an increase in job opportunities for IT professionals."
In Perth, Robert Walters expects job opportunities to increase throughout 2013 but with the caveat that "this optimism is dependent on overseas demand for natural resources, the price of commodities and financial stability in the Eurozone." (And things are not looking at all good for the Eurozone).
The good news for Perth's IT professionals is that "IT spend is … expected to increase across the oil and gas sector and subsequent supporting industries as network implementation projects and major system development projects commence." This is tempered by the prediction that "salary increases are only likely to be in line with inflation due to challenging trading conditions."
However, "Professionals with in demand skills (including business analysts, network engineers, security specialists, developers and systems administrators) are likely to command a premium."
Robert Walters' prognosis for Melbourne is a subdued market in the first quarter of 2013, apart from those sectors that performed well at the end of 2012 - primarily e-commerce, digital media, insurance, superannuation and parts of the telecommunications industry. "We expect that the majority of organisations will continue to streamline processes, restructure and transform as they seek to operate more efficiently," it says.
"IT recruitment levels throughout the remainder of the year will depend on the stability and performance of the economy. If confidence increases - as we expect it to - we anticipate growth across the IT market and a return to a candidate short market due to a lack of specialist skills in the local Australian market."
Sydney gets separate assessments for the prospects of IT professionals in the Banking & Financial Services and in the Commerce & Industry sectors. Robert Walters isn't really keento take a punt on the former, saying that economic and political uncertainty in the European and American markets makes the outlook for 2013 difficult to predict. However it does offer a few bright spots. "Due to regulatory reforms across banking and financial services, such as FOFA, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, Dodd-Frank and Basel III, we envisage a continued requirement for business analysts and project managers with specialist experience in these areas.
"Developers with trading system experience are also likely to be in demand due to ongoing high profile transformation projects, as well as consultants with online and mobile expertise as banks and financial institutions move their services in this direction as they seek to gain customers."
For IT jobs in commerce and industry the prospects are largely dependent on outside forces, with any changes dependent on the economic climate locally and overseas. Nevertheless Robert Walters expects demand for candidates with niche skills who are business-facing to continue regardless of how the market develops. "Skills in demand are expected to remain similar, with a particular focus on cloud, mobile applications and e-commerce as business performance becomes more and more dependent on the Internet."