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Australia – ICT recruitment cautious but defensive

23 May 2013

Australia has seen a downturn in the overall employment of ICT professionals in recent months, but despite the wind-backs ICT hiring managers and larger ICT recruiters are showing continuing confidence. This is coupled with positive intention to hire by employers, according to ITCRA, the association for ICT contract and recruitment.

But Julie Mills, ITCRA CEO indicated that the range of confusing messages suggests “the longer term outlook does not present confidence in the factors that should be contributing to growth. “

Peter Carr, Managing Director of analyst firm Longhaus believes that “the imperative to correct the deficits in public service budgets must consider labour growth for these sectors if we are to demonstrate progress towards Budget surplus.”

He further states that the “cloud now” policy of a number of State Governments will continue to see the move to outsourcing with a direct impact on ICT employment.”

Ms Mills agreed, saying that the total Australian workforce has continued to weaken. “But there is a sense that the majority of cuts are now behind us. The new financial year is always a time for new budget priorities and a ramping up of demand.”

“However, with the long drawn out lead in to the Federal election and so many unanswered economic questions (most of which have not been alleviated by the Budget announcements) I would suggest there will still be caution where new projects are concerned.”

Ms Mills also said that there seems to be a “treading water” approach with respect to hiring and new developments across all employment sectors. This message applies particularly to ICT workers in Australia. If confidence continues to deteriorate, then employers will continue to cut.

But she said “it is important to remember that ICT is essential to the infrastructure of business and the economy. Even in a weakening labour market, skilled ICT professionals are highly valued by employers and if they are no longer needed in an employer’s business model, will soon be engaged elsewhere, including overseas.”

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